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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.

Hiked on 4/15. This was such a pleasant hike. I was looking for something easy but with a lot of distance so I decided to check out Mt. Margaret. The entire trail system is relatively flat, very little elevation gain which was great for a rest day or if you're looking to take the family/visitors out without being extreme I would recommend this trail. No snow on the trail either. There are not any outstanding views until you get to the end of Mt Margaret and it opens up a little with some great views. The detour to Dowdy Lake is worth the extra mile or so. However if you are taking the trail labeled as "Dowdy Lane" on here it goes through private property and it is clearly marked. I turned around once I reached the private property and found another way to the lake, I didn't want any conflicts with land owners. There were a LOT of hunters in the area, might be a good idea to wear brighter colors. Nice trail though, I will hike it again in late spring to check out the difference.

backpacking
7 days ago

Would rate it 3 but the view from Mount Margaret earns it a 4 in my estimation. Easy hike for the most part. Saw elk and mule deer on the way in to camp. Campsites are OK. Saw deer on our hike around the area on our way out.

hiking
2 months ago

This trail is the worst trail for hiking in January with Yak Trax. There were no markers and the signs are confusing we never found the loop and ended up hiking in moderate snow twice as far as we wanted to go!!

good trail. great hike, and mountain biking

hiking
4 months ago

This would be an absolute pleasure to hike when the leaves begin to change color in the fall. It's a pretty simple trail... only reason I am not giving a five star rating was confusion reading the trail names... coming back down from the peak, I chose to use what was labeled the "Frog Pond" trail instead of the main thinking it was one of the alternates back down. I didn't check my trail guide since I recognized the name (ended up being that in and out off of loop B on the AllTrails map here) and ended up going through a barb wire fence to end up at a campsite 1.5 miles of the main trail. Shame on me for not paying close enough attention, but, the trail markers indicating I was on a mountain bike trail were not dissuading enough to force me to turn back until I reached the campsite... 8 mile hike into 11, but, at least it was beautiful on this balmy December day!

hiking
4 months ago

Pretty good hike. Fairly easy. Ended up taking the fork to disappointment falls. The falls definitely live up to their name. My phone tracked it at 5.6 miles. Good views of the mountains. Pups had a blast. Would be a beautiful hike to do in the fall. Walked through quite a few aspen groves.

off road driving
4 months ago

This was a great ride on my ATV. Went in October saw a mountain lion crossing the trail at the top of Heart Attack Hill was pretty cool.

hiking
4 months ago

Was a very easy and pleasant trail, views were not anything special, but the leaves would have been gorgeous earlier in the fall. As mentioned in other posts it is in the middle of hunting territory, which made me a bit nervous. Would come back again and go to Dowdy Lake instead of the end of the trail, the "Mountain" is not necessarily worth seeing.

hiking
5 months ago

Decent hike. We went in November so understandably the trail was a mix of mud, ice and snow. It appears the trail was formerly a road. The views are nice, but compared to other hikes nearby, this isn’t spectacular. There are nice rock formations on either side of the trail. You hike down and then up, so be prepared for the trip back. We saw a variety of animal prints and scat, so chances of wildlife viewing must be high. We chose to veer off Lady Moon Trail to Disappointment Falls, and this side trip moved the rating up a couple notches. I thought the Falls were lovely. If you go in November wear orange, we saw quite a few hunters.

off road driving
5 months ago

good lil trail, lots of fun once the rain and snow fall

Pretty easy hike. Slight incline for majority of hike out.
Word of advice; wear safety orange during hunting season. This trail is in the middle of the national forest and gets a lot of pressure during hunting season.

Beautiful! Fairly low key, but beautiful views. Hiked to disappointment falls and glad we did!

off road driving
6 months ago

fun fun fun...

Early October 2017. Few patches of fall colours, mostly conifers, leaves already dropped at the summit elevation, not the best fall colours hike but still enjoyed the day. Plenty of downed trees in final mile to the summit, relied on GPS a bit to help figure out how to follow trail while looping off it to avoid crawling over/under the messes but could have done it without.

Parking is best done adjacent to the driveway at the ranger station and then walk a couple hundred feet down the road.

If only the trail to the summit was better maintained. The windfall made it nearly impossible to stay on the trail at all. In fact on my way down, I lost it entirely and had to bushwhack down with the aid of my map and compass to relocate the main trail. Otherwise it was a nice hike and the view from the top was beautiful.

hiking
6 months ago

Great hike! Started in the later afternoon. Reached the summit just in time for the sunset. Saw lots of wildlife. Very easy fun hike with extra trail options along the way. I would like to camp out here

Nice and easy hike. Very refreshing. Next time I would try the route to frog pond.

hiking
6 months ago

Hiked it in late September, pretty colors on Aspens. We hiked out to Disappointment Falls, great hike and nice scenery.

hiking
6 months ago

Re: David Fairbank's review below - we chose to do that loop per his review but found the Granite Trail portion closer to 2 miles, we were beginning to wonder if we had missed the turnoff. Very enjoyable hike!

Good drive but Im not sure I would say its "easy". The road conditions as of 9/10/17 were fairly bad. Went through in a 2017 Tacoma TRD Off Road in manual and it was a little hairy in spots. Used 4-Lo for the majority of it. Nice drive, good views though most of the forest has severe burn damage. If you go, 4x4 and decent clearance is a total must.

on Lady Moon Trail

7 months ago

If you're looking for solidarity this is the trail, otherwise nothing spectacular.

off road driving
7 months ago

on Mount Margaret Trail

hiking
7 months ago

Great trail for toddlers. Our little 18 month old loved the narrow bridge just beyond all of the aspen trees. I

hiking
7 months ago

Good hike, mostly shaded. The last mile to the summit has a lot of trees down blocking the trail that you need to climb over, and the trail isn't well marked either.

it was a fun hike. We saw some beautiful colored mushrooms & birds. Would definitely do again. Didn't make to top started raining & thundering.

LOVE THIS TRAIL!! Went up on a Thursday and we only came across a handful of people the entire time. Hiked to East Dowdy Lake and hung out for a bit. Really beautiful spot, super easy trail, and totally worth the trip. There were a lot of ticks there though!

off road driving
8 months ago

Fun for beginners, Sunday drive for my truck. There are places here for more experienced drivers to get some air underneath their tires. Just respect the residents, always and stay on the trail.

Great trail. We didn't see anyone beside a group camping at one of the road crossings. It does get a little tricky to keep the trail towards the top, right after you pass the "lookout mountain summit 1/2 mile" sign. There are lots of trees down blocking the trail. It's there though, and the view is worth it! Pack lots of water, especially for your dog, because once you leave the stream at 1.5 miles in there is no additional water for refills.

backpacking
9 months ago

Suimmary of tips that we found helpful:
- take a picture of trailhead map
- hike Dowdy lake .. it is pretty.
- easy to miss designated campsites, look for metal fire rings
- enjoy the beautiful walk, stop at the pretty spots because the end is anti climatic or take the trail to the scenic point instead of end of Margaret's

Our own tips:
- find a campsite before the gates (about two miles in). We are going to try to wonder around after the creek but before the gates in search of suitable sites. The cow patties have taken over all designated sites
- We found the cows quite aggressive and not scared of our scary German Shepard. We could only surmise they had been fed by humans before because they would not leave our campsite even with our dog making it clear they were not welcome. They even followed us for a while when we left the site. Spooky! (Never thought I would say that about a cow)
- take plenty of water.. too much cattle run off to trust water sources.. even with filter IMHO
- enjoy the solitude.. for a Saturday night in prime back packing season we didn't see too many hikers and only one family at one of the designated sites
- if you can spare the weight.. a hammock would be great, as the ants and ground crawlers were plentiful . We didn't experience a lot of flying nuisances
- there is a bathroom but no trash at trailhead, so get rid of trash in town if needed
- plenty of wood and rocks and open space for a small fire, but be ready with plenty of dirt because there is a lot of dry stud just ready to be lit up... keep the fire small or not at all
- place something colorful on a tree and observe the humming birds.

Overall great place for kids and dogs. Very easy hiking.

This was an interesting trail.
The "summit" of the Mountain was ~150 feet LOWER than the trailhead. Also There was a lot of horse droppings all over the trail.

We also took an little detour and stopped and took a walk around Dowdy Lake. Which was REALLY pretty!!

The end of the trail lead us to a rock hill which we climbed and were able look down into a valley. This part was fun.

TLDR: Not bad, pretty flat, anticlimactic.

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