Big South Trail
Big South Trail travels from Highway 14 on the north along both sides of the
Poudre River for 10.7 miles to its intersection with the Corral Creek and
Poudre River trails. The northern section of the trail travels along the east
side of the Poudre River for about seven miles. It ends where a foot bridge
was washed out many years ago. The southern portion of the trail continues
on the opposite bank of the river. Those wishing to travel the entire trail
will have to wade the river (12 to 15 inches deep after runoff).
trail generally parallels the river and can be anywhere from right next to
it to 200 feet above it. Ninety-five percent of it travels through spruce,
lodgepole pine, and aspen stands. From the north the trail starts off making
a gentle climb to a point about 30 feet above the river. You get some spectacular
views of the rushing water from this section. You reach the Comanche Peak
Wilderness boundary in about .3 to .4 miles. Here you enter the Big South
Travel Zone where camping is restricted to designated campsites and no campfires
are allowed. There are 16 campsites with signs directing you to them from
the trail (a sign for #8 was not found).
one point the trail travels across some rock talus. It is very rough here
and it would be best for horsemen to lead their mounts. The views of the river
here are quite spectacular. From here the trail travels up and down the eastern
slope, getting far enough away from the river at times that you can no longer
hear it. The river is more shallow and placid the farther south that you go.
Here it is much easier to fish. As the trail nears the place where the bridge
washed out, it intersects the Flowers Trail. This trail climbs the steep slope
to the alpine tundra. The old bridge location is about 100 yards beyond the
south end of the trail begins at the end of the Corral Creek Trail. It begins
as a nice level walk through large meadows toward the Poudre River. It soon
travels through lodgepole pine and grassy areas along side the river. This
is a very scenic and beautiful hike. There are plenty of places to access
the river for fishing. After passing through a large meadow, the trail climbs
up and down the forest hillside away from the river. After about a mile it
again levels off along side the river in a park-like setting. As you get closer
to Peterson Lake the trail turns west and heads up the hill toward the lake.
You'll reach a junction where going left takes you to the lake and right takes
you back down to the river and the spot where the bridge washed out.
trail is generally easy to hike with a few moderate sections to negotiate.
The trailhead on the north has room for 15 to 20 vehicles. Horse trailers
can be accommodated but it may be difficult to turn around if crowded.
||10.7 miles (17.2 kilometers)
||8,485' - 9,707'
||June 1 - Sept 30
||Easy to Moderate
||Boston Peak, Comanche Peak, Chambers
||Pets must be on a leash, no open fires
in travel zones, camping in designated campsites only
|Suitable for mountain bikes:
||No (not permitted in wilderness)
|Suitable for horses:
Highway 287 north from Fort Collins to Laporte. Continue on Highway 287 to Highway
14. Travel west on 14 for 47.5 miles to the trailhead. The trailhead is on the
left side of the highway.
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