DIRECTIONS: From Loveland, take Route 34 west to Drake. Turn right onto County Road 43. Just before you reach Glen Haven, turn right onto Dunraven Glade Road, good gravel road, for 2 miles to the end of the road and the Dunraven Trailhead, there is a large parking area that fills up quickly on weekends.
The North Fork Trail is a long trail that passes through the Comanche Peaks Wilderness Area and enters Rocky Mountain National Park at about the 4 mile mark. This hike description covers the first 1.6 miles of the North Fork Trail, which makes for a very pleasant and scenic hike along the North Fork of the Big Thompson River. This trail sees a high degree of visitation on summer weekends so plan on arriving early or hiking on week days.
From the parking area, the trailhead is located on the southern end and heads south into the Comanche Peak Wilderness. The trail quickly heads downhill through pine forest and massive boulders as it approaches the Big Thompson River. Once you reach the river, the trail rambles through aspen forest (should be amazing in the fall) as it follows the cascading river for the next mile.
At 3/4 of a mile the trail crosses a foot bridge and enters dense aspen groves. The trail then turns north and enters a narrow canyon at the 1 mile mark. As you leave the canyon the terrain opens up a bit and the leave the Comanche Peak Wilderness Area. The trail then runs next to the Cheley Summer Camp. At 1.6 miles, the trail crosses another bridge and meets the dirt road. Turn left (west) to follow the North Fork Trail further, or turn around and retrace your steps. If you turn right, you'll enter the summer camp on private road. There is an authorized personnel only sign so avoid hiking through this area.
This is quick and easy way to explore this area, which is beautiful. If you want a longer adventure, the Bulwark Ridge Trail starts from the same trailhead. I will definitely be summiting Signal Mountain from the Bulwark Ridge trail in the near future. This initial portion of the North Fork Trail is great for kids but also fun for adults...again...this trail should be spectacular in late September.
HIKES BY REGION
NATIONAL PARK HIKES
- BENT'S OLD FORT NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- BLACK CANYON OF THE GUNNISON NATIONAL PARK
- COLORADO NATIONAL MONUMENT
- CURECANTI NATIONAL RECREATION AREA
- DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT
- FLORISSANT FOSSIL BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT
- MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK
- ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
- GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK
- HOVENWEEP NATIONAL MONUMENT
- SAND CREEK MASSACRE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- YUCCA HOUSE NATIONAL MONUMENT
- HIKES BY CATEGORY
- $UPPORT GHC
- INTERACTIVE MAP
North Fork Trail
Comanche Peak Wilderness Area
Roosevelt National Forest
Date Hiked: June 7, 2020
Distance: 3.2 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: 450 ft
Elevation Min/Max: 7,634 to 8,057 ft
Trailhead Lat/Long: 40.47565, -105.46049
Managing Agency: U.S. Forest Service