Fish Creek, Colorado

Location: Roosevelt NF, Comanche Peak Wilderness, north central Colorado
Maps: USGS 7.5' Quads: Rustic, Pingree Park; Trails Illustrated 1:100K: Cameron Pass #112
Access: From Ted's Place at the Poudre Canyon entrance, drive 25.7 miles and turn left onto Pingree Park Rd (CR 63E). Drive south 7.7 miles to the trailhead which is right next to the S. Fork Poudre-CR intersection.
Trailhead: NAD83 zone 13 455503e 4496540n  Elevation: 7910'
Fees: None
Trail: 6 miles, one-way. Elevation gain of around  1300 ft. Trail follows Fish Creek closely for most of the distance, and stays in thick timber most of the time.
Dog Regulations: Voice Control in National Forest, leash control mandated in wilderness.
Webcam: Pingree Park 2 miles south (spring-fall only)
Weather: Current and recent conditions   Local Forecast

Frank and I at the trailhead        Fish Creek is located near Commanche Peak. It flows from west to east through a steep wooded valley in which it is quite difficult to locate flat ground to camp on. Mark Elssaesser and I backpacked in about 3 miles in July of 1998, and of course, Frank joined us. The weather was great when we started out from the trailhead, but less than an hour into the hike, it began to look like serious rain was heading our way. We kept our eyes peeled for any suitable ground to pitch a tent, and became anxious when we found absolutely none. Soon it began to rain, and we stopped where we were and set up camp on an uncomfortably sloping hillside. We set our tents up and napped through the storm for a few hours. When the rain let up, it was dinnertime, and we ventured out into the wet grass to cook our dinner of red beans and rice. Frank, being short of hair to warm himself with, was shaking miserably, so I wrapped him up in his blanket and fed him Fish Creeksome dogfood by the campfire. The sun came out after dinner and we went on a short hike up the trail to see what lay beyond. We were relieved to find we had not prematurely camped short of perfectly level ground, for the trees became thicker and the hillsides steeper as we went along. Back at camp, we stayed up until just past dark, then went to bed under the threat of yet another storm. During the night, high winds strafed the area, and I was quite sure my tent was due to collapse at any moment. The dome pinacle of my tent, normally about 3 feet high, was at times bent down to within inches of my face under the force of the wind. It got very cold that night, and poor Frank suffered terribly I'm afraid. He just doesn't take to cold too well. The next morning came without broken tents and we ate a filling breakfast of pancakes and were off. Along the trail back, we discovered evidence of the high winds the night before in the form of giant trees felled across the trail which were not there the day before. This same system was responsible for the Routt National Forest blowdown not far to the northwest, where hundreds of acres of  lodgepole pine were flattened in one night. We got back to the van just before it began to rain again. It just wasn't the best weather for camping.

Mummy Range, ColoradoFrank is served dinner in bed...whimp.

Mark and Frank
Fish Creek, ColoradoSam, Frank and Mark

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Page created 4-14-00
Last updated 1-2-02