One Way Length
Hikers – Easy to Moderate; Stock – Easy
#101 Cache La Poudre, Big Thompson
Poudre Canyon, 10.5 miles from Ted’s Place. Just past Poudre Park, on the right side of the road is a bridge spanning the Poudre River that leads to the Hewlett Gulch trailhead and a large, paved parking lot. Cross the bridge, and follow the road to the parking lot at the top of the hill. Facilities are available at the trailhead. Riders: The size and shape of the parking lot and the often heavy use it receives makes it difficult to accommodate more than one stock trailer.
“Loop trail” junction
End of official patrol
The trail heads north on an old roadbed heading up Gordon Creek. Note that there is considerable poison ivy along the lower trail and in the streambed. After hiking about 0.5 mile you will notice old building foundations scattered along the gulch. These are the remains of old Poudre Park. Most of these homesteads were erected between 1911 and 1925. Hewlett Gulch is named for one of the first settlers along the Poudre, Horace Huleatt. Horace made his home in a valley to the north of this area in the late 1870s. There are also mine tailings and some closed mine shafts in the gulch. As you hike on up, the trail cuts through a narrow canyon crossing the stream several times. You will come to a spot where the trail branches. The trail to the left is the returning end of the informal "loop trail" used by mountain bikers. Stay to the right. From here the trail will wind through a canyon, crossing the stream several more times. Eventually the trail will leave the stream and head uphill to your left (west).
When the trail starts to reach open range, you will notice a private property fence boundary and several buildings to your right (north). The trail is not maintained beyond this point. However, if you want to you can continue along this trail as it loops back on itself and returns to the junction mentioned above. This will add about 2.75 miles (for a total of 8.3 miles round trip). Note, however, that the final 0.5 mile of this “loop trail” as it descends down to the main trail is quite steep and rocky. Mountain bikers and horse riders make extensive use of this “loop trail”.
Some wading may be required if you are hiking Hewlett Gulch during the spring runoff. Mountain bikers and day hikers use this trail heavily, so you may encounter Diamond Peak bike patrols.