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Backpacking: Colorado > Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests > Canyon Lakes Ranger District

Quick Facts

West Branch Trail

Beginning Elevation: 8,560 Feet (2609 Meters)
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 2,440 Feet (744 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 11,000 Feet (3353 Meters)
Length: 7.0 Miles (11.3 Kilometers)
Trail Number: 960
Usage: Heavy

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

This trail climbs through Lodgepole pine/aspen forest, following the Laramie River. It crosses the river about 3 miles from the trailhead, then continues along the West Branch of the river to Island and Carey Lakes. There is no bridge at the river crossing, but it is easily fordable during most of the summer and fall. At the crossing the West Branch Trail is joined by the Rawah Trail on its way down from Grassy Pass. It also intersects the Blue Lake Trial at Preacher's Camp, about a mile below the lakes. Limited camping is available along the firs t 3 miles of trail and at the lakes. Much of this trail is located within the Rawah Wilderness.

Directions from Fort Collins: Travel west on Highway 14, about 66 miles then travel north on County Road 103 approximately 6 miles to the trailhead.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Filed By: Nathan (Fort Collins, CO)
Time of Day: afternoon
Length of Time: three days
Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: this was a good trail for my dog. we crossed the laramie after about and hour and a half. the views are beautiful at most places along the river. gators are good to have.
Conditions: there was snow and fallen trees about 100 yds. up the trail after the river crossing.the trail was pretty rocky and muddy at times, but it was doable. i usually ate at a creek that would go across the trail (there is quite a few).
Water Availability: there is water the entire way. i treated mine. there are many creeks that cross the trail.
Recommended Clothing: i wore poly's with a short sleeve under armour shirt and shorts over them. i put on gators a couple of times, but my low top hiking boots were the only shoes that i needed.
Suggested Accessories: fishing pole, headlamp, gators, water filter

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking West Branch links to Rawah and Blue Lake Trails
ICON Hiking & Walking West Branch links to Rawah and Blue Lake Trails
ICON Horseback Riding West Branch links to Rawah and Blue Lake Trails

Related Activities
Blue Lake Trail - This trail near Cameron Pass, west of Fort Collins, leads to Blue Lake.

Rawah Trail - This trail leads from the Laramie River Valley, past the Rawah Lakes and over Grassy Pass. It links to several other trails in the Rawah Wilderness.

Tunnel Campground - Tunnel Campground is located about 67 miles west of Fort Collins on the Laramie River at an elevation of 8,600 feet.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Estes Park Chamber Resort Association, 500 Big Thompson Ave. , Estes Park, CO, 80517, Phone: 800-44-ESTES, Fax: 970-586-6336, www.rockymtntrav.com/estes


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