|Greyrock Mountain makes an excellent day hike and is just a 20-minute drive from downtown Fort Collins. Although not an imposing mountain at 7,613 feet, the trail climbs over 2000 feet in a little over three miles, making for a nice little workout. The summit also provides a nice scramble.
A heavily traveled hiking trail begins at the Cache La Poudre River. After paralleling the river for less than a mile the trail begins climbing steadily up a gulch all the way to the base of Greyrock.
After topping out of the gulch you are presented with an impressive view of Greyrock Mountain. Continue along the trail as it heads north a little ways to the actual base of Greyrock. The trail begins to get rougher and steeper as it circle around to the north side of Greyrock. At the north end of the rock, the trail isn’t all that well marked, and a wrong turn can result in ending up on a dead-end ledge on the east side of the rock. If this happens to you double back and try again. From the north end of Greyrock head south across the meadow until you hit the large outcropping of on the very south end. Climb this and you’ve made it to the summit.
What I’ve described so far is a class one walk-up (some may consider the last 100 yards class two due to a little exposure and scrambling up the rock). However, there are also several technical routes on the Greyrock's southern slopes.
|There are many technical routes on Greyrock, but the lack of an in-print guidebook has left most lost in obscurity (for now). If any route is worth mention, it's probably The Greatest Route, a very nice traditional multi-pitch 5.8 on the southeast slabs. More info may be found at climbingboulder.com. If you have climbed any of the technical routes please post them. (Thanks to edlins for this info.)|
|From Fort Collins take Highway 287 (College Avenue) north to Ted's Place. Turn left onto Highway 14 and head west approximately 8 miles until you see the signs for Greyrock Mountain.
There is a parking lot on the south side of the road (left), but it usually fills quickly. Parking along the either side of the road west of the parking lot is perfectly fine.
The trailhead is on the north side of the road and crosses a footbridge over the Cache La Poudre River.
|There are 13 National forest campgrounds with a total of 257 sites for overnight camping located along the Poudre River. Camping outside of designated campgrounds is only permitted if the campsite is more than 1/4 mile from the river. In addition there are 9 picnic areas for day-use. Visit the Canyon Lakes Ranger District website below for additional information regarding the National forest campgrounds.
Camping is allowed anywhere along the trail up to Greyrock. However, there are no reliable sources of water (besides the little pool at the summit) so plan to pack in all your water.
|Greyrock Mountain lies in the USDA Forest Service Canyon Lakes Ranger District. Here is the contact info I pulled off of their website (www.fs.fed.us/arnf/districts/clrd). Contact them if you have any questions:
|The Cache la Poudre River is Colorado's first and only designated National Wild and Scenic River. It is very popular with whitewater canoers (kayakers), whitewater rafters, tubers and fly-casting anglers. Trout fishing here is as good as it gets in the state.
How the river got its name:
The Fall of 1836 brought a group of French trappers and traders, all employees of John Jacob Astor's American Fur Company, into Larimer County loaded down with a wagon train filled with supplies. They camped for the night on the south side of a river on their way to a rendezvous at the Green River in Wyoming. Their route was to cross the Big Thompson, cross the Poudre, and then head north across the Laramie Plains before going towards Green River.
They made their way along a valley south of LaPorte, got to the north side of what is today called Bingham Hill. It was too late in the day to ford the river, so they camped for the night. That night a severe early snowstorm blew through the area. The wagon train was stuck for over a week. When it was decided that they could proceed, the snow was deep. The load had to be lightened.
The leader of the party was a French-Canadian named Antoine Janis, father of the man who would later become the area's first white settler. He gave orders to dig a large pit into which everything that could be spared on the trip would be buried. It was like a cellar, except larger. After the pit was dug, they lined it with pine boughs, cotton willow clumps, and animal skins. Among the supplies that were carefully buried in the pit, were several hundred pounds of gunpowder. The pit was filled back up with the dirt, and a large fire was burned on top to conceal all traces of the pit from the Indians. The French speaking trappers called this spot Cache la Poudre, "the hiding place of the powder." The nearby river took on that name.
After a period of several months, the trappers returned to the valley. They located the successfully concealed "cache" and removed their supplies. Nothing was lost, nothing remained to show that anyone had ever been there. The valley and the Cache la Poudre went back to sleep for almost another 10 years.
|There is no red tape involved in climbing this mountain.|