- The Canyon Lakes Ranger District includes the upper reaches of the Cache la Poudre, Laramie and Big Thompson River drainages. The landscape varies from spectacular river canyons to high mountain peaks. The vegetation ranges from foothills scrub to alpine tundra.
Copyright: USDA Forest Service
Upper Poudre Canyon
The district encompasses the Rawah, Comanche Peak, Neota and Cache la Poudre Wildernesses. The Cache la Poudre River, west of Poudre Park is designated a Wild and Scenic River because of the lack of a dam and its outstanding recreation and scenic features.
Recreation - In the summer months, the district provides opportunities for camping, backpacking, hiking, fishing, and sightseeing. Hunting is a popular activity in the autumn months. The winter brings plenty of snow to the highest elevations of the district and many opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling.
Climate - Elevations range from about 5,000 feet on the east end of the forest, to almost 13,000 feet on the highest peaks. With this enormous elevation difference, the climate varies greatly. The weather is generally much warmer and drier at the lower elevations.
For summer, expect warm days and cool to freezing nights, especially in the high country. Much of the highest elevations remain inaccessible until early or mid-July. Be prepared for both warm and chilly weather. The rainy season lasts from mid-July through August, when afternoon thunderstorms should be expected.
Although the skies are often sunny, winter temperatures can be very cold. Abundant snowfall is received in the higher elevations which supports the many winter activities. The lowest elevations normally hold only intermittent snow through the winter.
The Canyon Lakes Ranger District includes the northeast portion of the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests of north-central Colorado. It encompasses much of the foothills and mountains from Fort Collins and Loveland west to the Medicine Bow Mountains and Rocky Mountain National Park.