Cache la Poudre River Paddling Overview
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Cache la Poudre River at a Glance
Price: $
River Rapid Class: III-IV
Trip in Miles: 15
Trip Duration: 1 Day
Season: May-July
Raft Types: Paddle Raft, Oar Raft
River Sections: Canyon
Nearby Towns: Fort Collins, CO
Gateway City: Fort Collins, CO
Driving Times: Denver, CO: 2 hours

"This river's name means ""Hiding Place of Powder."" According to legend, French fur trappers in the 1820s were caught by a tremendous snowstorm. To lighten their load, they buried large amounts of gunpowder (poudre) in a hiding place (cache) along the banks of the river. But forget the French lessons. The wild west way to pronounce Cache la Poudre is ""cash luh pew-der."" The ""cash"" part is appropriate: the river corridor is rich in paddling, hiking, and scenic driving opportunities.

The Cache La Poudre River begins high in the peaks of Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park along the Continental Divide. Flowing north and east through Roosevelt National Forest, it tumbles down the slopes of the Front Range and meanders through the city of Fort Collins. From its headwaters to the confluence with the South Platte River east of Greeley, the Cache La Poudre drops 7,000 feet. It's Colorado's first National Wild and Scenic River. Highway 14, which follows much of the river, is a scenic byway between the towns of Fort Collins and Walden.

Exciting whitewater activities occur on the Cache La Poudre from April through August. Convenient access, clear water, challenging rapids, and beautiful scenery make this a river-runner's paradise. Rafts, canoes, and kayaks are suitable on various stretches of the river. If you are boating without a professional guide, be sure that you or someone in your group is familiar with the stretch of river that you have chosen to navigate. For those seeking a professionally guided river experience, commercial outfitters provide raft and kayak trips under special use permits from the Forest Service. Remember the character and difficulty of the rapids change drastically depending on water levels. Many stretches of the river require high levels of skill and experience. Be aware of low bridges and dams on the river and please, never boat alone."

Published: 21 Apr 2011 | Last Updated: 25 Aug 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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