Greyrock Trail - Greyrock Meadows Loop Trail, Greyrock Mountain Trailhead - Fort Collins, Boulder - Denver - Golden - Fort Collins - Lyons, Colorado
Greyrock Trail - Greyrock Meadows Loop Trail - 7.15 miles
Greyrock Mountain Trailhead - Fort Collins
|Round-Trip Length:||7.15 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||5,630' - 7,513' (7,513' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||+1,883' net elevation gain (+2,515' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Greyrock Trail - Greyrock Meadows Loop Trail - 7.15 Miles Round-Trip
Greyrock Mountain (7,513') stands prominently over the north rim of Poudre Canyon, 25 minutes from downtown Fort Collins, Colorado. The Grey Rock Trail and Grey Rock Meadows Trail form a loop around the conical formation, with a short but challenging spur that leads to the summit.
The following description travels counter-clockwise on the loop, with an excursion to the summit:
From the Greyrock Mountain Trailhead (5,630'), cross the Cache la Poudre River and head west through dense underbrush and ponderosa pine.
Bear right at the Grey Rock Meadows Trail - Greyrock Trail split to begin the loop (.65 miles : 5,920'). The Greyrock Trail bends due north and steepens through a tight canyon, gaining nearly 1,000' in just a mile. Deadfall and debris pushed down the canyon by flash floods line the way.
The trail eases on the canyon rim with panoramic views of Poudre Canyon, Rocky Mountain National Park, and the Comanche Peak Wilderness Area (1.7 miles : 6,837').
It continues .4 miles north to a revealing look at Greyrock Mountain from the Greyrock Meadows - Summit Trail junction (2.1 miles : 6,973').
The Summit Trail meanders through a striking meadow before taking an aggressive route to the summit. This stretch can be difficult to both hike and follow, with uneven footing and some minor scrambling required to reach the top. Rock cairns and hiker signs offer guidance as the trail rounds the southeast flank of Greyrock Mountain on the final approach.
Greyrock Mountain (2.65 miles : 7,513') - known as The Rock to locals - is quite unique. A small lake rests between two points on the summit itself, forming an oasis of ecological diversity in an area one might expect to be barren.
Retrace your steps down the Greyrock Summit Trail to the Greyrock Meadows Trail split (3.3 miles : 6,973'). Keep straight on the Greyrock Meadows Trail to continue the loop.
The Greyrock Meadows Trail drops on a southwest heading through an area scarred by the Picnic Rock Fire in April 2004. It descends 241' from the Summit Trail split into the stunning open space of Greyrock Meadows (3.65 miles : 6,732').
The trail heads south through Greyrock Meadows with excellent views to the west, and back north of Greyrock Mountain. Look for signs of deer, coyote, fox, skunk, bear, and mountain lion in this richly appointed space.
The trail leaves the meadows and switchbacks east on a steady climb through a mixed pine, fir, and spruce forest (4.5 miles : 6,814'). Views of Greyrock Mountain are quite good on this easterly tack. After a mile of steady climbing, the Greyrock Meadows Trail crests and opens up to the fully exposed backside of the loop (5.5 miles : 7,088').
Here the trail begins its final descent, dropping over 1000' in just one mile. The descent provides excellent views to the west of Hewlett Gulch, Poudre Canyon, and surrounding high peaks.
The trail returns to the Greyrock Trail - Greyrock Meadows Trail split (6.5 miles : 5,920), where you'll veer onto the Greyrock Trail for .65 miles back to the trailhead (7.15 miles : 5,630').
- N40 41.690 W105 17.061 — 0.00 miles: Greyrock Mountain Trailhead - 5,630'
- N40 41.747 W105 17.735 — 0.65 miles: Greyrock Trail split - bear right
- N40 42.320 W105 17.796 — 1.25 miles: Steady climb through canyon
- N40 42.714 W105 17.673 — 2.10 miles: Trail split to Greyrock Summit
- N40 42.956 W105 17.424 — 2.40 miles: Reach vertical wall of summit
- N40 43.073 W105 17.373 — 2.65 miles: Greyrock Summit - 7,513'
- N40 42.628 W105 18.029 — 3.65 miles: Enter Greyrock Meadows
- N40 42.614 W105 18.264 — 4.50 miles: Leave Greyrock Meadows
- N40 42.305 W105 18.182 — 5.50 miles: Crest of hill before final descent
- N40 41.747 W105 17.735 — 6.50 miles: Back at Greyrock Trail split
- N40 41.690 W105 17.061 — 7.15 miles: Back at Greyrock Trailhead - 5,630'
- The Greyrock Mountain Trailhead is one of Ft. Collins' most popular. The parking lot holds 39 vehicles and fills up quickly. Arrive early to secure a space and avoid crowds.
- Poison Ivy grows along the trail.
- Rattlesnakes inhabit rocky areas in the Greyrock Mountain vicinity. Remain vigilant along the trail.
- The Greyrock Mountain area is mountain lion habitat. Avoid running or hiking alone. If encountered, do not run away. Make noise, throw rocks, and try to appear larger by raising or waving your arms.
- Whitewater rafting is popular on the Poudre River, and boats float past the Greyrock Trailhead throughout the day. Visitors can watch rafters from the bridge at the trailhead.
- The Greyrock Trail is designated as an official National Recreation Trail. It was built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The CCC was created by President Roosevelt during the Great Depression - the purpose was to employ civilians in a 'peacetime army' to create and enhance recreational opportunities.
Camping and Backpacking Information
- Backcountry camping is permitted. Contact the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest for permit information and closures: 970.295.6600
- Camps and stove fires must be at least 200' from any trail or stream.
- Fishing is permitted with a valid Colorado fishing license.
Rules and Regulations
- Dogs are permitted but must be on a leash at all times.
- Horses and stock are prohibited.
- Bikes and motorized vehicles are prohibited.
Directions to Trailhead
The Greyrock Mountain Trailhead is located 25 minutes north of Fort Collins, Colorado.
Take the Highway 14 / Mulberry Exit in Fort Collins. Go west on Mulberry for 3 miles and turn right onto Riverside Drive / Highway 287. Continue north on Highway 287 out of the city and turn right at the traffic light marked for Poudre Canyon. Drive 6 miles and turn left at the sign for Poudre Canyon. Drive 8.5 miles through the canyon to the Greyrock Mountain Trailhead on your left.
Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland
2150 Centre Avenue, Building E
Fort Collins, CO 80526