Michigan Ditch

OutAndBack • 4.4 mi • 85 ft

This easy tour through the dramatic scenery of the Colorado State Forest is a great way to end the year. The drive from Fort Collins up Poudre Canyon to Cameron Pass is lengthy, but beautiful. The lower areas don't receive a great deal of snow, but around Cameron Pass, the snowpack should be more than enough for a fine end-of-the-year tour. The tour along the Michigan Ditch follows a very level road, through the Colorado State Forest, and along an aqueduct. It provides dramatic views of close-by Nokhu Crags to the south-southwest. The geology around Nokhu Crags is very complex, involving multiple thrust faults and several different types of rocks. Right around the Crags, you can find volcanic rocks, granites and hornfels, a sort of hardened shale. You can see some of the different rocks in the multi-colored talus fans at the base of the cliffs. Glaciers attacked from both the east and west side of the ridge, eventually carving out the classic arete (or narrow spine) that we see today.
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Activity Type: Cross-Country Skiing
Nearby City: Fort Collins
Length: 4.4 total miles
Elevation Gain: 85 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Easiest; Avalanche Danger: Least
Duration: 50 minutes up, 49 minutes down
Season: Late November to late March
Trailhead Elevation: 10,255 feet
Top Elevation: 10,320 feet
Other Uses: Good for: small children
Local Contacts: Routt National Forest; Colorado State Forest
Local Maps: USGS Clark Peak, Chambers Lake, Fall River Pass
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