Trip dates: Oct 20-21, 2018
Caltopo map here: https://caltopo.com/m/QKGU
The Cache La Poudre Wilderness (CLPW) has been on my radar since early summer when I drove through Poudre Canyon on my back from the Comanche Peaks Wilderness. I couldn't believe I'd never been up there before. Driving through it, I kept thinking it was like a more spectacular Boulder Canyon combined with the Flatirons.
I was totally sold once I read the description of the CLPW on the USFS website:
"Use is low and only one trail, the Mount McConnel National Recreation Trail, exists in the wilderness. Travel is accomplished only by scrambling and bushwhacking in stream bottoms, on ridges and along game trails."
I saved this one for the shoulder season when higher elevations would require camping in deep snow. This area reminded me a lot of the area around Fairview Peak (see: this and this) up Lefthand Canyon outside of Boulder, which also had a big forest fire relatively recently. I realize I'm probably weird but I actually find these areas beautiful in their own way.
Crowds were low even on the Mt. McConnel trail but after left it I didn't see any people except for a hunter on day 2. Thanks to Paul Magnanti for reminding me that bright colors/blaze orange were a good idea.
On day 2 there I did quite a bit of scrambling but it was all pretty straightforward (all Class 2/3).
It was fun to see the mountains I traversed during my earlier trip to Comanche Peaks Wilderness from a different vantage point--see photo below. On the first day of that trip I moved north (left to right) from the pointed peaks in the center (Fall Mt.) to the broad peak on the right (Comanche Peak).
Mileage-wise this was a short trip.