Don't let the name throw you off (it's pronounced poo-der, okay?!), this is a must see if you are traveling through Fort Collins! The Cache La Poudre is a gorgeous 126 mile-long river that starts in Rocky Mountain National Park and flows all the way down through the heart of Fort Collins. The name of the river means "hide the powder" in French and refers to an incident in the 1820s when French trappers, caught by a snowstorm, were forced to bury part of their gunpowder along the banks of the river.
Since then, the Poudre River has played an important role in forming the Fort Collins culture that we all love. The Poudre River is a place for everyone, no matter the season. In the winter, the riverbanks fill with snow and ice creating a magical place to go explore when you start to feel like you have been in the house for way too long and need to catch a breath of cold mountain air to refresh yourself. When spring arrives and the sun comes out, the piles of snow melt away and turn the Poudre into a rushing river that awakens the whole town. The animals begin to come out of their winter sleep and the leaves on the trees that line the banks turn bright green.
The summer season is by far the best time to see the Poudre River in all of its glory. The river comes alive during the summer with people who are looking to relax and escape the heat. The banks fill with families, children, and dogs that come to swim in the cooling waters. Many people come to stop by, drop in a line, and wait for a bite from huge Rainbows and Browns. If fishing isn't your thang, make sure to check out the beautiful bike path that lines itself perfectly against the banks of the river, making it a perfect place to go for a run or bike ride. If you follow it all the way into town, it will spit you out right in the backyard of 3 breweries - New Belgium, Fort Collins Brewery, and Odell’s where you can reward yourself with a delicious cold microbrew. But if you ask any of the locals, the best way to enjoy river is to take the day off for a rafting trip down the Poudre Canyon. There are many different rafting companies, like Mountain Whitewater Descents, that will bus you up the canyon and float you and all of your friends down the river in a wild ride that guarantees to leave you smiling from ear to ear. Even better, MWD is home to the Paddler’s Pub—the best spot to grab a beer, some food from a local truck, and see some live music with friends.
When falls begins to arrive around this time of year, the waters start to get cool again and the trees start to change colors. The Aspen trees put on their grand finale by turning incredible shades of gold to let us know that winter is around the corner. This does not stop the locals or tourists because no matter the season there is always something to do on the Poudre River. Whether you have the whole day off or just an hour or two, taking some time to stop by and see the beauty that we call the Poudre River will not leave one disappointed.