When the Poudre River is still over 2.5 feet after Labor Day, it's a great time to visit Picnic Rock.

Just about 10 miles west of Fort Collins, Picnic Rock is one of the first areas where you can stop and play for free in Poudre Canyon. With a large parking lot, numerous picnic areas, and plenty of approaches to the river, the area Picnic Rock is a great place for an afternoon on the river, a meeting place for boaters, and the place to go if you want to hear tubers talk about how #$%*&-ing cold the river was. Anglers, pet people, family, and nature lovers love Picnic Rock, because it is beautiful.


Ocean beach people might scoff at the little sandy cove, because truthfully, there isn't much sand there. But there is enough to walk around on the soft surface. Speckles of pyrite flash of gold, bringing feelings of sympathy for the miner's of days past who searched high and low for the real stuff, only to find oodles of 'fool's gold' in the sand and rocks all around them.


On a weekday, it's virtually empty. There will be a boater, tuber, or dog walker or three, but it's a pretty chill place to go. It's not really patrolled by rangers very often. That means that the enforcement of leash laws, littering, and other petty things like that have us on the honor system.


  • Picnics
  • Sightseeing
  • Swimming, wading, playing in the water (keep in mind, this water is COLD!)
  • Jumping - Keep in mind, the water is cold. Like, hypothermia cold. I pretty much wear a wetsuit when I swim in the canyon. You can climb the rock across the river from the beach from the shore side of it, or you can swim up to it and climb the front!
  • Boating - Kayaking, whitewater canoe, rafting
  • Floating - tubes or other floaty devices could be used in the eddies with little worry

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