Big South Trail

Roosevelt National Forest, Colorado

Elevation Gain3,611ft
Trailhead Elevation8,433ft
Elevation Min/Max8433/9717ft
Elevation Start/End8433/8433ft

Big South Trail

Big South Trail is a hiking and horse trail in Larimer County, Colorado. It is within Comanche Peak Wilderness Area and Roosevelt National Forest. It is 10.2 miles long and begins at 8,433 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 20.6 miles with a total elevation gain of 3,611 feet. The Big South Trailhead parking is near the trailhead. The 19, 18, 6, 11, 17, 9, 5, 15, 8, 3, 4, 10, 20, 7, 1, 2, 16, and 14 camp sites and the Big South Falls waterfall can be seen along the trail. There are also restrooms, parking, and a cabin along the trail. This trail connects with the following: Peterson Lake Road (FDR 159), Corral Creek Trail and Poudre Trail.

Big South Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

The Best Fort Collins Hikes (Colorado Mountain Club Press)
John Gascoyne (And the Colorado Mountain Club)
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"This hike follows the Cache La Poudre River upstream from Poudre Canyon south to Grass Creek, at mile 3, and then on to a washed-out bridge at about mile 7. Parts of the trail are lovely flat strolls on pine needles at river level; other sections climb high on the wall of the magnificent gorge formed by the river. Some spectacular sections of the trail cross large talus slopes below the gorge walls.You will enjoy the big, open rock traverses, river views,wildflowers, and luxurious forest scenery."
Colorado's Quiet Winter Trails (Colorado Mountain Club Press)
Dave Muller
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"The Big South Trail continues over 10 miles along the banks of the Cache Le Poudre River and ends in Rocky Mountain National Park at Poudre Lake near Milner Pass. This described trek extends only 2.5 miles to the bridge over May Creek. The flowing waters of the Poudre are the feature of this outing. Snowshoers should have little trouble on this trail, but it is not recommended for cross-country skiers due to its steep curving sections along the narrow trail."
Afoot & Afield: Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins, and Rocky Mountain National Park (Wilderness Press)
Alan Apt and Kay Turnbaugh
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"The Big South is the sparkling south fork of the Cache la Poudre River that winds through a beautiful canyon as it rolls, tumbles, twists, and turns its way down from its origin in Rocky Mountain National Park. The trailhead is where CO 14 and the river part company, so you can hike along the wild and scenic river in the Comanche Peak Wilderness in peace away from the highway. This is a rolling, gradually climbing trail offering the cascading river, a mixed conifer and aspen forest, and the experience of trekking up the ever-changing canyon until it vanishes into deep forest green. Sections of the trail are very rocky because it skirts the edge of the compact arroyo, surrounded by richly stained colorful rock cliffs and rock falls. Three backcountry campsites a little more than 1 mile from the trailhead are nice for first-time backpacking experiences."

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Trail Information

Roosevelt National Forest
Nearby City
Roosevelt National Forest
Skill Level
Additional Use
Roosevelt National Forest
Local Contacts
Trails Illustrated, Poudre River/Cameron Pass, Number 112
Local Maps

Trail Log