If you are wanting to take a little break and stretch your legs, the Hohnholz Lakes State Wildlife Area (SWA) provides great mountain cold water lake fishing. Hohnholz Road provides access to the US Forest near the Colorado – Wyoming border in the beautiful Laramie River Valley and is the gateway to the northern edge of the Rawah Wilderness near Shipman Park.
The trailhead is easy to find. The road proceeds to the west from the Laramie River Valley Road, Larimer County Road 103. At this point, you are about 9 miles from the Colorado - Wyoming border. These roads are not maintained during winter months.
From Fort Collins, CO:
Take Colorado Hwy 14, the Poudre Canyon Road, west approximately 60 miles to the Laramie River Valley Road, also known as County Road 103. Turn north approximately 28 Miles Hohnholz Lakes Road begins on the west side of the road and is well marked.
From Woods Landing, WY
Take Wyoming Highway 10 south from Woods Landing 12 miles. The pavement turns to a gravel road at the state border. Continue the gravel road for an additional 7 miles. Hohnholz Lakes Road begins on the west side of the road and is well marked.
Land Use Issues
If you choose to use the Hohnholz Lakes SWA, please know that new rule that started July 1, 2020 requires all visitors to Colorado’s State Wildlife Areas (SWA) to hold a valid hunting or fishing license to access the more than 350 of these properties in Colorado. The road through the area is open, but the actual SWA has these new requirements.
The lakes were busier than normal because of the holiday weekend. Conditions were dry but because of the late spring, the area was really lush and colorful for this late in the season. Some gravel road-base was added to the section of road that typically gets muddy. The improvement to the road should help out a ton once the summer monsoon rains begin.
Used parts of the Hohnholz trail as part of a long traverse over to Cowdrey and Walden. The road is easily passible despite trees overhead and on the trail. Some sort of navigational tool (I use Gaia) is helpful, as the trail system is large and you could easily lose your way if you miss the trail markers.
Although the trail is open, it is NOT easily passable. About a dozen or so snow drifts remain near Waypoint 3. We broke through the drifts yesterday and were the first vehicles to complete the trail for the season. It was not easy. Also, there are numerous down fall trees that are partially blocking the road throughout the entire path. I anticipate that it will take another week or two before the trail is season ready. Until then, have recovery equipment at the ready. Remember there is no cell phone service for miles up there.
Mother Nature's mountain showers have helped the USFS contain the Badger Creek fire allowing for the trails is this area to open for regular use. Enjoy the forest responsibility, remember that fire danger remains high.
The US Forest Service has closed all road around the area of Old Roach. The closure is because of the Badger Creek fire burning just north of the Wyoming / Colorado State line near Mountain Home, Wyoming. The area will remain closed until the fire is brought under control. Closed trails include: Hohnholz Lakes Road, North Sand Dunes Road, North Sand Hills, and Mendenhall.
With the mild winter in the Colorado high country this season, a few brave souls went to the Laramie River Valley to check on the road conditions. We attempted to cross the continental divide on Hohnholz Lakes Road.
As soon as we began to enter the forest just west of the Lakes we found the snow. It was wet and heavy with some deep drifts lingering around. It’s not time yet.
I only went to Old Roach. The wooden splash dam and Stuck Creek flume are very cool to check out. You really have to keep your eyes peeled to locate these historic sites. Old Roach is nothing more than the remnants of a fireplace from an old building. The history of this area is very interesting as they would float railroad ties down the creeks to the railroad to ship out to the rest of the country. I did this trail in a Subaru Outback and it did just fine.
Tim lives and works in Northern Colorado. He has owned and driven 4X4 vehicles his entire adult life including Jeeps, pick ups, ATVs and UTVs. After high school, Tim's first 4X4 was a 47 Willy's CJ-2A with a flat 4 and a 6-volt electrical system. Typically wheeling in Northern Colorado or Southern Wyoming, Tim loves being in the mountains and the back country. Because of a desire to enjoy and promote responsible off-roading and to keep it available for the future, he belongs to a local 4X4 off-road club. Being part of the Trailsoffroad.com community furthers that goal as well.
A love for off-road adventures, camping, fishing, and hunting keeps Tim away from pavement and always exploring. While his wife likes the comfort of a Jeep Grand Cherokee, Tim prefers the ruggedness of the Jeep Wrangler. Although most off-road time is spent in Colorado and Wyoming, an occasional trip to the Moab area is common. Tim will spend the summer going topless and enjoying the value of the great outdoors. Amateur Radio Technician license call sign: ke0npg