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Hiking Hewlett Gulch Trail – Poudre Canyon, Colorado


Article Categories: Hiking
Article Tags: Colorado | Day Hikes

The Hewlett Gulch trail (#954) is located only 25 minutes outside Fort Collins, and takes hikers along Gordon Creek. Hikers are taken through some gorgeous scenery with mountains on either side, unique rock formations, nearby bighorn sheep and deer populations. This hike can be done in a full, intermediate level loop, or hikers can choose to shorten the hike by simply turning around whenever ready. Either option is fantastic as the trail is uniquely beautiful all the way through. (We would recommend the full loop given the outstanding views once ascending above the gulch, and the extremely cool rock formations located 2-3 miles into the hike.

Distance –8.2 miles round trip (13.20 km)
Highest Point – 6,797 feet (2,071.7 m)
Elevation gain – 1,125 feet (342.9m)
Duration – 3 to 4 hours (book time)
Difficulty – Intermediate
Seasons – Year-round (caution needed in winter – see below)
Trailhead Location – Hewlett Gulch Trail – 5,680 feet (directions below)

Trail Map

The below trail map highlights the 3 main sections of the Hewlett Gulch Trail and mileage for each. We also included a GPX map below this.

Hewlett Gulch Trail Map

Hewlett Gulch Trail Map


Hewlett Gulch Full Loop: 8.2 Miles Round Trip | 1,125 Feet Elevation Gain

The full loop trail begins at the Hewlett Gulch Trailhead. It begins with 2 miles of level or gradual gain terrain on a well traveled, easy to follow and pretty smooth path. Even the views early on are great. Within the first two miles, hikers will have to cross the river several times. During lower water times, strategically placed rocks and some downed trees/branches enable hikers to pass pretty easily. After rainfall, during snowmelt, or other high water times, these river crossings can be a bit more difficult, and you may have to get your feet wet.

2 miles in, hikers will hit a fork, to the left, hikers head steeply uphill and to the right, hikers remain relatively flat for the next mile of hiking, but head towards some really gorgeous rock formations and river crossings. If doing the loop, we recommend going left, and tackling the most of the elevation gain early, and leaving the hardest river crossings for the way back.

Bearing left at the fork, hikers will quickly ascend via switchbacks. The views simply keep getting better as you can see more of the valley below, and the surrounding mountains (pictures below). The trail remains easy to follow and is well traveled the entire way.

Hikers will reach a great viewpoint (and common turnaround point) around 3.2 miles into the hike. Here, hikers will descend slightly before beginning the ascent to the highest point on the trail (around 3.8 miles in to the hike). The trail then maintains a gradual decline for the next couple of miles before reaching the river drainage and cool rock formations. 6.2 miles in, hikers will reach the trail junction, and then retrace their steps back to the trailhead.

Hewlett Gulch Trail – Out And Back To River Drainage: 6 Miles Round Trip

If hikers don’t want to do a lot of elevation gain, they may choose to bear right at the fork, and just hike through the river drainage portion, which is quite a unique area with numerous river crossings.

Hikers of course have the options of turning around at any point to make this hike as long or short as they please.

Hiking Hewlett Gulch in Winter

This is a great winter hiking area. Extra caution needs to be taken during wet and icy times. We highly recommend bringing traction devices such as microspikes to remain safe on the trails and to avoid falls.

Camping And Other Information

There are no campsites near the trail, however all along Poudre Canyon there are many campgrounds to choose from that are very close. You can read more about amenities and camping nearby here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/arp/recarea/?recid=36779

This trailhead has space for 22 cars, and has a bathroom at it. There is no water, though water can be taken from the creek as long as you have a filter system with you.

Dogs are allowed here, and it is one of the closer places to Fort Collins where dogs are allowed off leash on trail. You will encounter mountain bikers here as well. This is a well used trail.

Current weather conditions:

Here is the detailed weather forecast for the next few days. We highly recommend you check out the mountain forecast for this region the morning of your hike.

Laporte, CO

This Afternoon
A chance of rain showers after 5pm. Partly sunny. High near 56, with temperatures falling to around 49 in the afternoon. West wind 7 to 10 mph, with gusts as high as 16 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New rainfall amounts less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Rain and snow showers likely. Mostly cloudy. Low around 29, with temperatures rising to around 32 overnight. West northwest wind around 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of less than half an inch possible.

A chance of snow showers before 5pm. Mostly sunny. High near 46, with temperatures falling to around 40 in the afternoon. Northwest wind 3 to 12 mph, with gusts as high as 18 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.

Thursday Night
Mostly clear, with a low around 26. West northwest wind 10 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.

Sunny, with a high near 47. West wind around 18 mph, with gusts as high as 29 mph.

Friday Night
Mostly clear, with a low around 25.

Sunny, with a high near 55.

Directions & Parking

The parking lot here has 22 spots with no trailer park spots. This is a free parking area with bathrooms at the trailhead. This trailhead is only a short distance from the Greyrock Mountain trailhead.

Directions to Hewlett Gulch Trailhead

Additional Pictures

Views From Hewlett Gulch Trail While Ascending

Views From Hewlett Gulch Trail While Ascending

Views From Hewlett Gulch Trail

Views From Hewlett Gulch Trail

River Crossing at Hewlett Gulch Trail

River Crossing at Hewlett Gulch Trail

Rams on the Hewlett Gulch Trail

Rams on the Hewlett Gulch Trail

Looking Back At The Hewlett Gulch Trailhead

Looking Back At The Hewlett Gulch Trailhead

Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued his frequent adventures in the mountains, always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about

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