The sixty mile long canyon, stretching from the Continental Divide to the foothills of Fort Collins is an excellent example of the beauty of nature. Carved by the Poudre River, the granite cliffs coupled with the diverse scenery and wildlife provides outstanding panoramic opportunities. The 32 miles of Hiking Trails and Lakes that are found in the canyon offer an endless amount of picture taking moments from the abundance of wildlife, the crags, various streams and bridges to the daily business of nature. Examples of that beauty:
Wild Rivers are earth’s renegades, defying gravity, dancing to their own tunes, resisting theauthority of humans, always chipping away, and eventually always winning. The Cache la Poudre River is steeped in tradition. Being named Colorado’s first National Wild and Scenic River, the Poudre River has been an important travel route since prehistoric times. Evidence of Native American history can be found throughout the canyon, such as rock shelters, fire hearths, and even a burial site with artifacts. The river’s name means “Hiding Place of Powder” which was established by the French fur trappers in the 1820’s. According to legend, the trappers were caught by a tremendous snowstorm, and had to lighten their load, therefore, they buried huge amounts (cache) of gun powder (poudre) along the banks of the river.
There are photo opportunities day and night in the Poudre Canyon. We are located 33 miles up the Canyon from Ted’s Place. Just far enough to feel the trip back to nature and yet close enough to facilities with all the comforts of home.
Your imagination is the only limit to the sight just waiting for your angle to snap the shutter. Spring flowers blanket the mountains in May and June. Hummingbirds buzz by the dozens, and what color! The Old Man’s Face, now commonly called Profile Rock can give you a different expression for each angle of viewing.
The Poudre Falls are magnificent any time of year, but in the springtime when snowmelt reaches its peak really takes your breath away. You can photograph the Poudre River as it cascades down the falls, roars down the rapids or travel a little further and catch it as it meanders on like an old man on a Sunday Stroll.
This lake was formed over 900 hundreds years ago when a large earth tremor brought landslides down into a high mountain valley. The rocky debris backed up the streams in the area forming the Lake. In 1882, human ingenuity expanded the unnamed lake for the purpose of water conservation and recreational activities. The lake was later named Chamber’s Lake in 1858 to honor a French trapper who was killed by the Native Americans.
The Old Man’s Face, now commonly called Profile Rock can give you a different expression for each angle of viewing. Travelers in the early 1900’s referred to the formation as “Old Man” or “The Old Man’s Face”. It was used as a navigation point to ensure your location was on the “right” track. Over time, the Face became known as “Profile Rock”.
Sleeping Elephant Rock
The Sleeping Elephant Rock was a travelers landmark as well, keeping the stagecoach drives on the right track. The local Canyon residents could identify where they were by noting there proximity to “The Sleeping Elephant Rock”
The Kinikinik Store is located right on Highway 14, a short way up the Canyon from Archer’s Poudre River Resort. The lodge pole cabins and store were constructed from logs cut and sent down the mountain side. The gas pumps are long gone, but picture the Kinikinik Store and Post Office with the hustle and bustle of days gone by.
History in a Snapshot
Evidence of the canyon history can be found from the Cheyenne, Ute, and Arapaho Native American tribes and the early Spanish Explorers to the French Mountain Men, and the migration of United States residents during the Gold Rush days. Although time separates the different group, they all have all been captivated by the canyon’s beauty and called the canyon home.
The Historic Poudre Canyon Chapel, using native stone compliments the beautiful back drop of the Poudre Canyon. The beauty combined with the history of this chapel (i.e. there is a 1905 Oak baptismal font) create a unique and historical place. What started as a local community effort to build this chapel soon captured the interest and participation from visitors around the state. Men, woman and children working together toward the common goal of building their church was a gratifying experience for all.
The cross on the exterior Chapel end of the Church looks as if it is reaching to the heavens.
Historic Arrowhead Lodge
The Colorado State Land Board saw potential school income from the sale of cabin sites in Section 36 of Poudre Canyon, immediately west of Old Poudre City. The plat was registered in 1929 and went on the auction block. Carl Braffords purchased a portion of these lots, and it was here that the Braffords built their resort, Arrowhead Lodge. After the log Lodge was completed, the Braffords built five cabins in a semicircle behind the lodge and named them after Indian Tribes. The name plaques remain on the Cabins today. It is believed that the Braffords opened their business in 1936 with the Lodge, store and 5 cabins in place. In 1946, Stan and Lola Case purchased the “resort”. They added the 6th cabin, porches and dining room and modern kitchen. Special care was given to matching the logs and architecture of the original structures. They also built the large high peaked ice house where they stored 25 tons of ice, cut off the Poudre River, usually in December, to keep food supplies cool into the Summer.
Zimmerman’s Stamp MillJohn Zimmerman along with his brother started to prospect around Cameron Pass. However, John decided to take his German process of ore reducing skills that he learned when he worked in Austin City, Nevada and open his own Gold Reducing Stamp Mill in October of 1890. Just 4 days after opening his business and putting through 30,200 pounds of Ore, he stopped the mill so he could gather up the Amalgam and reduced the retorts to an estimated value between $ 1,000 and $2,500. The Larimer County paper concluded that “Larimer County is destined to be the richest mining county in the state” Unfortunately when the retorts were actually tested, it was determined that most of theprecious metal was copper, not gold. The next year, John sold his business, but remained in the area taking on other ventures. In 1891, John was working in the field when he heard a roar up the canyon, instinctively he knew what that sound was and immediately jumped on his horse and covered 3.5 miles to Poudre City to warn then of the approaching waters. All 13 people living at the Mill site and Poudre City were evacuated. The Mill was lifted off it’s foundation and the walls collapsed leaving only the stone chimney as witness to what had been.
Laramie – Poudre Tunnel
Water is arguably Colorado’s most precious resource. To harness its life giving power, farmers and developers built systems of ditches, canals, and tunnels through the Rockies. One of these tunnels was built from 1909 to 1911 to convey water from the Laramie River into the Poudre River for use along the Colorado Front Range. Cleverly named the Laramie-Poudre Tunnel, it conveyed irrigation water for 75 years. The “tunnel” is 2 miles long, 8 foot high and 10 foot wide and after renovation in 2000, to correct a collapse at both ends, it provides vital irrigation waters to the fertile farming areas east of Fort Collins. You can hike up the steep utility road to the opening through the mountain on the up side of Highway 14. When flow is heavy you will see the water cascading down the mountain side, flowing under Highway 14 and into the Poudre River on the opposite side. Great Photo ops any time of the spring, summer or fall.
The Baldwin Tunnel has been cut straight through the granite mountain to give Hwy 14 passage by the Cache La Poudre River. The rock formations as you come around the bend reflect differently from sun up to sun down.
This well known tunnel in the Little Narrows was completed in late June of 1916. It was named after road construction supervisor, Charles Baldwin. The tunnel was originally 14 feet wide and 12 feet tall. Quite an accomplishment by 1916 era convicts.
A Season of its Own
Whether you come in the Winter, Spring Summer, or Fall. Each Season offers a unique sense of Beauty from the cool green of the summer to the dazzling fall colors of the aspens as their vibrant colors announce the coming crisp winter white. You’ll have plenty of great photo opportunities.
Ah, so awesome. Come and spend a week with us at Archer’s Poudre River Resort and catch the colors as they change daily. Each season brings the Canyon to you with a different perspective.
Spring brings the awakening of the vegetation and new born wildlife.
Summer gives you warm (sometimes hot) days and cool crisp evenings. Catch a photo of the White Water Rafters or the dozens of kayakers as they float down the Poudre. Catch a photo as they roll over while thinking “I am glad that’s not me”.
Fall gives a chance to slow down and enjoy the changing of the season. Catch the right angle of the leaves in the Aspen groves in their bright oranges, gold, yellows and greens.
Winter turns the Canyon into a wonderland. Soft white mountain peaks. The animals coming down from the high country to feed in the lower canyon. Catch the herds of Big Horn Sheep, Elk, Deer, Moose. The Bears are sleeping! OR are they?