Changing from hiking boots to river sandals with a kid carrier on the back isn’t the easiest task but with a shoulder to lean on it’s doable. And crossing the creek- and the cold feet that follow- are definitely worth it. We brought our Chacos so we wouldn’t have to go barefoot over the slippery rocks like we did last time. Once across the first creek crossing, the trail opens to a gorgeous meadow with breathtaking views of Iron and Flat Top Mountains. The Neota Wilderness is on either side with plenty of willows, or as L calls it, moose food. We did not see any moose this time but they are in abundance in this area so be on the lookout.
Once across we continued down the trail and found a spot to rest and play. I set the kid carrier on the ground, rubbing my shoulders where the straps hit- C definitely weighs more than L did at her age. I don’t usually dismount the kid mid-hike unless I know we can set her free and this is one of those places. After snacks the girls ran through the meadow as we watched, sitting in the warm sun, welcoming the occasional cool breeze. It was a very “The Hills are Alive” moment although I admit I have never actually seen The Sound of Music but this is how I picture it. L built cairns, C knocked them down, perfecting her “annoying little sister” role.
How many hikes end up in such a perfect place after a mere mile and a half?
This gem is twelve minutes down Long Draw Road off of highway 14 with a parking lot for both Trap Lake and Trap Park Trail that at times can be overrun with mosquitos. On our most recent visit though the breeze was strong enough to keep them at bay.
The beginning of the trail is the most difficult, it’s super rocky, but once you clear the boulder field you have a view of Trap Lake and then the trail leads to a deep woods where the evidence of moose is everywhere. L moaned a little and definitely did some zombie hiking in the beginning, but perked up when we cleared the slight elevation and found all the wildflowers that were in full bloom. We found Columbines, Indian Paintbrush and Bittercress to name a few.
There are dispersed campsites along the 3 mile trail that would make for a great starter backpacking trip.
This is a great hike for kids. While the majority of trails along the Poudre River are pleasant walks in the woods Trap Park Trail takes you, very quickly, to a gorgeous meadow with spectacular mountain views.
As the one only other hiker we saw on the trail said, it’s a little slice of paradise.
Drive Time: Approx. 54 miles up the canyon, 1.5 hours from Fort Collins to Long Draw Road, then 3 miles (12 minutes) down Long Draw Road
Trail Length: 3.1 miles one way, we went in about 1.5 miles for a 3 mile round trip
Amenities: No toilets or water at trailhead, approx. 11 parking spots
Designated Forest Service Rating: Easy
Toddlerado Rating: Easy, the most difficult part is the boulder field at the very beginning of the trail and then navigating the creek crossing if you didn’t bring water shoes.
Elevation Gain: 10,000 -10,500
Trail Highlights: Perfect trail for kids! Magnificent views! Light usage! July wildflowers!
Trail lowlights: Can be buggy
Tips: Don’t forget the bug spray, water shoes and sunscreen and be on the lookout for moose
Optimal Time of Year: Long Draw Road opens when snow conditions allow usually late June, closes mid November but can be accessed by foot, parking at the Blue Lake Trialhead across the highway
Would we go back? Absolutely! This has quickly become one of my favorite trails to take little ones.