Location: Poudre River Canyon, Roosevelt National Forest, Colorado
Access: From Tedís Place drive west on Hwy 14 for 28.5 miles. Trailhead is in an open park on the south side.
Trail: 3 miles one-way, moderate, 1300 ft elevation gain
Trailhead: NAD83 zone 13 454289e 4505398n  Elev: 7040'
Maps: Trails Illustrated 1:40K: Cache La Poudre/Big Thompson #101; USGS 1:24K Rustic
Dogs: voice-control, off-leash OK
Webcam: 8 miles south at  Pingree Park (spring-fall only)
Weather:Current and recent conditions    Local Forecast

Dadd Gulch is a short, steep and rocky gulch rising south from the Poudre River a few miles west of the Pingree Park Road junction. The trail begins at Highway 14 and rises steadily along a seasonal stream that courses through open stands of Ponderosa Pine and juniper. Shortly after its beginning, the trail leaves the gulch, and continues up a gentler gulch to the east. The trail seems to occasionally function as a stock trail, and cow pies often litter the trail. The beginning of the trail, in fact, passes through a small corall. In the spring (April-May), Pasque flower blooms in profusion in canopy openings, along with wild strawberry, cinquefoil and the ubiquitous dandelion. Some junipers are tangled with white clematis that blooms in mid-summer. On the rocky slopes that line the gulch grow cactus, phlox and hardy grasses. Most of the ground, however, is covered with lichen-covered granite blocks, pine needles and duff, the result of the healthy stand of Ponderosa. 
Lower Dadd Gulch Trail
The trail ends at the Dadd Gulch Road, which is accessed from the Crown Point Road. Three miles up the Dadd Gulch Road begins Upper Dadd Gulch Trail, which brushes up against the Comanche Peak Wilderness. From Highway 14 to Dadd Gulch Road is about 3 miles by my reckoning (though a guidebook I looked at said it was 5 miles). Sections of the trail stretch through burned areas, where blackened tree trunks only sometimes indicate a dead tree, as the flame retardant Ponderosa bark protects them from minor blazes. Pockets of aspen add a touch of light green, and the occasional water birch livens things up as well. The high, rapid trill of hummingbirds is commonly heard in the wetter months. The open forest invites off-trail exploration, and solitude is an easy thing to find just a hundred yards off the trail. If you visit on a warm, sunny day, be sure to take in the sweet vanilla scent of the Ponderosa bark...makes you want to eat it. 
Lower Dadd Gulch Trail
There are trails that rise to lofty vistas, and those that traverse gorgeous mountain valleys. These trails attract untold numbers of people in the summer months. The appeal of Dadd Gulch is that it is pretty, but not pretentious, and not so striking in its scenery as to appeal to the wider masses. Thus it is that even on a weekend, the trail is only lightly used, and it is not uncommon to have the trail to oneself. On many occasions, this has been the case for me.  Nevertheless, the varied and diverse vegetation along with the open canopy of the forest make it a pleasant hike from start to finish, with multiple stream crossings to water the dogs along the way. 
Lower Dadd Gulch Trail
Pasque Flower
Lower Dadd Gulch Trail
Smelling the Ponderosa bark


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Page created 5-14-06
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