Less than a half hour drive from downtown Fort Collins the Cache La Poudre River breaks free from the sloped canyon walls that cradle it's bounty of crystal clear, snow fed waters. Heading east on Highway 14, just a mile from Ted's Place at highway 287, the Poudre Canyon Highway begins it's 40 mile paralleled journey with the Poudre River. This marks the gateway to one of Colorado's most treasured natural areas. Activities abound: fishing, river rafting, kayaking, inner-tubing, hiking, mountain biking, camping, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and more. The eastern entrance to the canyon starts out at 5000 feet and gently climbs to over 10,000 feet at Cameron Pass on your way to the tiny community of Gould, CO. Along the way there is a world of trails and campgrounds.
This was not a spectacular hike but my husband and I were just looking to get out for a few hours and the uncrowded trail was certainly pleasant. We did about 8 miles in total, and sections of the trail were not very well marked in comparison to the map at the trail head, but we didn't get lost so it must not have been too awful! I wouldn't go out of my way to do this hike again but if you're in the area I think it's worth it.
Easy meadow hike, only went half way because we thought we heard elk grunting ahead o us and its rutting season, didn't want to get in the way. Several cows grazing very near or on the trail. Not worth driving up from Denver for this hike unless you're already panning to be in Fort Collins.
The forest service has this trail as being 3.7 miles one way, maybe it's a different route than this, but either way this was a longer but easy hike. It was fun to see cattle roaming around the trail, and we were part of a roundup on the way back out which slowed up down a bit, but we still made it in about 3.5 hours at a fairly leisurely pace. The trail ends at a fairly uneventful spot at the base of the "mountain" - but we climbed some rocks to get up a bit higher on what I'm assuming was Mount Margaret to get a better view of the surrounding area.
I second what someone else said, definitely take a picture of the map on your way in, as this trail does cross with a handful of others. There are at least 2 campsites I saw on the way, they are pretty close to the main trail but with how little traffic there was it might not be so bad! Not wet or marshy at all when we went in August.
Rob K. on Lady Moon Trail
this trail is closed to all motor vehicles. foot traffic and horses only.
Rob K. on West White Pine Mountain 4x4 Trail
great trail, lots of campsites along the trail. couple good climbs on it.
7/27/16 I was looking for an easy trail to overnight camp and this was recommended to me by a fellow at Sierra Trading Post in Ft Collins. It was perfect for me. Hiked East Dowdy trail and Mt Margaret trail checking out the backcountry campsites. Settled on number 3 and had a wonderful night under the stars. Being mid-week, i saw no one else out there in the 6.5 mi i hiked.
Highly recommend this trail to flat-landers like myself.