You know the scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom where the guy takes out the other guy’s heart with his bare hand? While our 5 year old was dragging her feet on Lower Dadd Gulch Trail, her dad may have jokingly told her he was about to do something similar to her if she didn’t pick up the pace. We were all laughing, and no organs were removed from anyone’s body. We really are a nonviolent family. But when she decided to retell this story to the young couple we rescued from the Stevens Gulch Picnic Site there was no telling what was going through their heads. Were they being driven down the canyon to the nearest gas station by serial killers? Or child abusers? I’ve been told this is the first of many times our children will embarrass us in such a manner.


We’ve eaten many a turkey sandwich on tailgates at trailheads or on a well-situated log at the midway point of a hike. A picnic can be wherever you open your sandwich bags.


When a coworker asked me where she and her husband should have a picnic along the Cache La Poudre River I realized how little I knew about the established picnic areas. So after a hike on Lower Dadd Gulch Trail, we checked out Stevens Gulch Picnic Site.

This is a gem situated where the river meets up with a gulch approx. 45 minutes up the canyon. The site offers seven picnic areas all with tables and either a fire pit or grill. Our site had the perfect play area for the girls, not on the river itself, but with plenty of trickling water, rocks, sand and shade. It would be an amazing campsite but this spot is day use only and I bet we’ll eat  turkey sandwiches here again.


The Details

Distance: 29 miles, approx 45 minutes from Fort Collins

Highlights: Pleasant lunch spot right off the road, great place for little ones to play, lots of shade, vaulted bathrooms

Lowlights: Sad to say previous picnickers did not practice leave no trace, we picked up trash before we left

Usage: High- We were there at 3pm on a Saturday and there were about three other groups, I imagine it might be more crowded at more normal lunch hours

Optimal Time of Year: It’s low enough elevation that it would probably be pleasant any day deemed a good day for a picnic in Fort Collins

Toddlerado Rating: 5 Turkey Sandwiches (out of 5)