Poudre River Canyon, Roosevelt National Forest, Colorado
From Tedís Place drive west on Hwy 14 for 28.5 miles. Trailhead is in an
open park on the south side.
3 miles one-way, moderate, 1300 ft elevation gain
NAD83 zone 13 454289e 4505398n Elev: 7040'
Trails Illustrated 1:40K: Cache La Poudre/Big Thompson #101; USGS 1:24K
voice-control, off-leash OK
8 miles south at Pingree
Park (spring-fall only)
and recent conditions Local
Gulch is a short, steep and rocky gulch rising south from the Poudre River
a few miles west of the Pingree Park Road junction. The trail begins at
Highway 14 and rises steadily along a seasonal stream that courses through
open stands of Ponderosa Pine and juniper. Shortly after its beginning,
the trail leaves the gulch, and continues up a gentler gulch to the east.
The trail seems to occasionally function as a stock trail, and cow pies
often litter the trail. The beginning of the trail, in fact, passes through
a small corall. In the spring (April-May), Pasque flower blooms in profusion
in canopy openings, along with wild strawberry, cinquefoil and the ubiquitous
dandelion. Some junipers are tangled with white clematis that blooms in
mid-summer. On the rocky slopes that line the gulch grow cactus, phlox
and hardy grasses. Most of the ground, however, is covered with lichen-covered
granite blocks, pine needles and duff, the result of the healthy stand
ends at the Dadd Gulch Road, which is accessed from the Crown Point Road.
Three miles up the Dadd Gulch Road begins Upper
Dadd Gulch Trail, which brushes up against the Comanche Peak Wilderness.
From Highway 14 to Dadd Gulch Road is about 3 miles by my reckoning (though
a guidebook I looked at said it was 5 miles). Sections of the trail stretch
through burned areas, where blackened tree trunks only sometimes indicate
a dead tree, as the flame retardant Ponderosa bark protects them from minor
blazes. Pockets of aspen add a touch of light green, and the occasional
water birch livens things up as well. The high, rapid trill of hummingbirds
is commonly heard in the wetter months. The open forest invites off-trail
exploration, and solitude is an easy thing to find just a hundred yards
off the trail. If you visit on a warm, sunny day, be sure to take in the
sweet vanilla scent of the Ponderosa bark...makes you want to eat it.
trails that rise to lofty vistas, and those that traverse gorgeous mountain
valleys. These trails attract untold numbers of people in the summer months.
The appeal of Dadd Gulch is that it is pretty, but not pretentious, and
not so striking in its scenery as to appeal to the wider masses. Thus it
is that even on a weekend, the trail is only lightly used, and it is not
uncommon to have the trail to oneself. On many occasions, this has been
the case for me. Nevertheless, the varied and diverse vegetation
along with the open canopy of the forest make it a pleasant hike from start
to finish, with multiple stream crossings to water the dogs along the way.
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Page created 5-14-06