Canyon Lakes Ranger District, west of Fort Collins


Landscape view of Neota Wilderness.

Canyon Lakes Ranger District is located in north-central Colorado and encompasses approximately 650,000 acres in the Roosevelt National Forest, mostly in Larimer County. The Canyon Lakes Ranger District offers visitors a variety of recreation opportunities throughout the year, and also provides for traditional uses, such as permits for firewood gathering and grazing. We are home to four Wilderness areas, three national recreation trails, two historic districts, and Colorado’s only Wild and Scenic River.

State Highways 34, 36 and 14 allow for easy access to one of our many hiking trails, campgrounds, four-wheel drive roads, and lakes and streams.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Canyon Lakes District Road Status
Operational Hours:
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Reservations: View Campgrounds At-A-Glance table to quickly view what sites are reserve-able. 
  • Campground reservations are made through the National Recreation Reservation Service at 1-877-444-6777 or online at www.recreation.gov.
Permit Info:
  • Firewood permits are sold seasonally for the Canyon Lakes Ranger District.  Permits are $20/cord and are valid through December 31, 2020.  Submit your request online. Please note it may take from several days to two weeks to obtain a permit.
  • A special use permit is required for all commercial activities and any event with 75 or more people.
Closest Towns: Fort Collins, CO; Loveland, CO; Wellington, CO; Laporte, CO; Estes Park, CO
Operated By: Forest Service

General Information

General Notes:

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities

Mountain Biking

Mountain biking is a popular activity on many of the trails within the Canyon Lakes Ranger District. There are a few trails which prohibit biking, for example the Greyrock Trail. Contact the Ranger District office details and remember biking is never allowed in Comanche Peaks, Rawah, Cache la Poudre or Neota Wilderness areas.

Areas for Mountain Biking at Canyon Lakes Ranger District, west of Fort Collins

Campground Camping

Twenty-one U.S. Forest Service campgrounds with Canyon Lakes Ranger District provide a wide range of camping experiences. Choose between a river or lakeside campsite, a tent site in a meadow, or a spots near a congressionally designated Wilderness Area. A few campgrounds are off the beaten path, but most fill quickly in the summertime. Check to see if the campground accepts reservations and reserve your spot between 180 and 4 days before your arrival.

Areas for Campground Camping at Canyon Lakes Ranger District, west of Fort Collins

RV Camping

All but one of the 21 campgrounds within Canyon Lakes Ranger District accept RVs. Grandview campground is a tents only area. Campsite parking lengths vary from 15 to 80 feet. A few campgrounds are off the beaten path, but most fill quickly in the summertime. Check to see if the campground accepts reservations and reserve your spot between 180 and 4 days before your arrival. For last minute campers, call the Ranger District office to learn campground availability.

Areas for RV Camping at Canyon Lakes Ranger District, west of Fort Collins

Group Camping

The Canyon Lakes Ranger District has two group campsites which may be reserved up to 360 days in advance.

Areas for Group Camping at Canyon Lakes Ranger District, west of Fort Collins

Dispersed Camping

With a few exceptions, you are allowed to camp along most Forest Service roads. In some areas restrictions exist to protect land and wildlife, minimize road damage, and reduce conflicts between landowners and visitors. Note many popular dispersed camping areas are closed due to the impacts of the Cameron Peak Fire.

General Info:

General Notes

Areas for Dispersed Camping at Canyon Lakes Ranger District, west of Fort Collins

Cabin Rentals

The Canyon Lakes Ranger District has one cabin available for rental between June and October.

Areas for Cabin Rentals at Canyon Lakes Ranger District, west of Fort Collins

Rock Climbing

Lake and Pond Fishing

Please check with the Colorado Parks and Wildlife for information about licenses and regulations: http://wildlife.state.co.us/Fishing/.

Areas for Lake and Pond Fishing at Canyon Lakes Ranger District, west of Fort Collins

River and Stream Fishing

Numerous rivers and streams provide fishing opportunities throughout the Canyon Lakes Ranger District. Please check with the Colorado Division of Wildlife for information about licenses and regulations: http://wildlife.state.co.us/Fishing/.

Special Designations Cache la Poudre Wild & Scenic River

Areas for River and Stream Fishing at Canyon Lakes Ranger District, west of Fort Collins

Ice Fishing

Areas for Ice Fishing at Canyon Lakes Ranger District, west of Fort Collins

Day Hiking

Canyon Lakes Ranger District offers hundreds of miles of trails for hiking. In non-wilderness areas you may be sharing the trail with mountain bikers or horseback riders. Trails in Wilderness Areas are restricted to non-mechanized modes of travel, such as hiking or horseback riding. Always carry a map and compass, let someone know where you are going, and when you plan to return, and follow leave no trace principals.

Areas for Day Hiking at Canyon Lakes Ranger District, west of Fort Collins

Backpacking

Canyon Lakes Ranger District offers hundreds of miles of trails for backpacking. In non-wilderness areas you may be sharing the trail with mountain bikers or horseback riders. Trails in Wilderness Areas are restricted to non-mechanized modes of travel, such as hiking or horseback riding. There are trails that offer out and back trips and there are trails that link up with other trails to offer loop trips. Always carry a map and compass, let someone know where you are going, and when you plan to return, and follow leave no trace principals.

Areas for Backpacking at Canyon Lakes Ranger District, west of Fort Collins

Horse Camping

The Canyon Lakes Ranger District has one developed campground that will accommodate horses.

Areas for Horse Camping at Canyon Lakes Ranger District, west of Fort Collins

Horse Riding

Canyon Lakes Ranger District offers hundreds of miles of trails for horseback riding. In non-wilderness areas you may be sharing the trail with mountain bikers or hikers. Always carry a map and compass, let someone know where you are going, and when you plan to return, and follow leave no trace principals.

Areas for Horse Riding at Canyon Lakes Ranger District, west of Fort Collins

Viewing Wildlife

Please help keep "wildlife" wild by no approaching or feeding them. If an animal approaches you, move away and maintain a safe distance.

Areas for Viewing Wildlife at Canyon Lakes Ranger District, west of Fort Collins

OHV Road Riding

Off-Highway vehicle (OHV) riding is increasing in popularity on the Canyon Lakes Ranger District. Request a free Motor Vehicle Use Map of roads which shows all roads open to non-licensed vehicles. Larimer County Roads are not open to OHVs.

The Road Status Table lists openings and closures for CLRD's most popular roads and is updated regularly.

Areas for OHV Road Riding at Canyon Lakes Ranger District, west of Fort Collins

OHV Trail Riding

Off-Highway vehicle riding is increasing in popularity on the Canyon Lakes Ranger District. Request a free Motor Vehicle Use Map of roads which shows all roads open to non-licensed vehicles.

Areas for OHV Trail Riding at Canyon Lakes Ranger District, west of Fort Collins

Interpretive Areas

Areas for Interpretive Areas at Canyon Lakes Ranger District, west of Fort Collins

Visitor Centers

Deadman Lookout Tower (west of Red Feather Lakes)

Areas for Visitor Centers at Canyon Lakes Ranger District, west of Fort Collins

Scenic Driving

Cache la Poudre Wild and Scenic River is located in Larimer County within the Canyon Lakes Ranger District. Legend has it that the river was named in 1836, when a party of wesward traveling fur trappers of the Hudson's Bay Company were forced to lighten their load near the banks of the river after being caught in a heavy snowfall. The order was given to "cache la poudre" or "hide the powder" so that it could be retrieved the following spring. Follow this scenic drive for 101 miles!

Areas for Scenic Driving at Canyon Lakes Ranger District, west of Fort Collins

XC Skiing/Snowshoeing

The skiing and snowshoeing season generally runs from December through early April, but can vary depending on the amount of snowfall and when it occurs. The Cameron Pass area of Roosevelt National Forest offers excellent cross-country skiing, from easy beginner trips to advanced trips. Please be considerate of the many other visitors who will be sharing the forest with you and follow the Leave No Trace principles. Avalanche conditions may exist, please be prepared. For avalanche forecasts and other resources contact the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. For recorded avalanche information call 970-482-0457.

Areas for XC Skiing/Snowshoeing at Canyon Lakes Ranger District, west of Fort Collins

Snowmobiling

Over-the-snow travel is allowed in various locations across the Canyon Lakes Ranger District. It is important to note that snowmobiles are not allowed in designated Wilderness areas. Please note that in areas where snowmobiling takes place, other winter recreation activities area also occurring. Please use caution. Snowmobiling is typically best with a minimum of 6" of snow cover. Many areas of the district have unreliable snow cover. Areas west of Red Feather Lakes are typically best following a snow storm. Avalanche conditions may exist, please be prepared. For avalanche forecasts and other resources contact the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. For recorded avalanche information call 970-482-0457.

Areas for Snowmobiling at Canyon Lakes Ranger District, west of Fort Collins

Know Before You Go

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Related Links

Campgrounds At-A-Glance

Location

 
  Latitude : 
40.5601584

  Longitude : 
-105.0817133