Cherokee Park Road (County Road 80C)
is a 32-mile dirt road that takes you through lovely vistas of the
Laramie Foothills on the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains in Northern
Cherokee Park Road turns off US-Highway 287
about 20 miles north of Fort Collins, Colorado. After driving for about
77 minutes (if you don’t stop for hikes, picnics, fishing, etc.), 80C
changes its name to Sand Creek Road. Time to turn around and enjoy the
views the other way…
Scott and I discovered this road through a chain of events. First, someone recommended he check out the North Fork River in Eagle’s Nest Open Space
for some late summer fly fishing. We ended up spending an entire Sunday
afternoon up there. Once we gushed about how lovely and secluded it was
up there, Pete recommended, the near-by Halligan Reservoir.
Wednesday we tried to find Halligan Reservoir… We turned off 287 at
Cherokee Park Road and were immediately enamored with the rock
structures. Why go up to Vedauwoo,
if we have this right here in Colorado? Alas, once we got the smaller
dirt roads that were supposed to take us to the reservoir, we found them
all locked up for the season. Instead of hiking in, we kept driving.
That’s when we discovered all the bright Aspen trees in the autumn
colors. On that day, we chose against following 80c once it becomes a
“not maintained in the winter” road and followed the more prominent
County Road 59, which led us to Wyoming. Hello. By the way, it is easy
to miss that you have to turn left at that point to stay on Cherokee
Park Road instead of accidentally driving up to Wyoming via 59.
Cherokee Park Road had been so cool on this partial drive, we returned
this Sunday to take it all the way west to Eaton Reservoir aka Worster
Reservoir and explore the Cherokee State Wildlife Areas along the way.
thought I’d share the lovely ride with you and shot it with the GoPro
Hero 3 mounted to the hood of our car. Now, I’m quite disappointed with
the image quality of the video online. I don’t know why I keep falling
for shooting driving time-lapse with the GoPro. Once it’s exported and
uploaded, it’s so chunky, it makes me cringe. Please make sure you watch
the video at the highest resolution (1080p). It does still give you a
pretty good idea of what that drive is like, right? And you can always
come visit me, and I’ll show you the full-resolution offline version,
which looks fine… or maybe I’ll even take you for this drive…
you travel Cherokee Road, you have the opportunity to stop at several
entrances to the Cherokee Wildlife Area, which is divided into Upper
Unit (4,822 acres), Lone Pine Unit (6,654 acres), Lower Unit (2,751
acres), and Middle Unit (4,826 acres). Fishing, hunting and camping are
allowed with certain restrictions. But this Colorado State Wildlife Area
is a patchwork of units interspersed with Forest Service land and
private property; so you have to pay attention to whose land you’re on.
There’s a great interactive map that can help you sort that out.
stopped for awhile along Sheep Creek for a picnic, fishing and
photographing. After this afternoon in the sun, we were ready to build a
little summer cabin along the stream up there.
The song in this video is appropriately enough called “Dirt Road Traveler” by Jason Shaw of Audionautix. He made this song available via the CC BY 3.0 license, which I’m super grateful for. Thank you, Jason!
|Autumn Aspen trees along Cherokee Park Road, Colorado|
I took quite a few pictures along this drive with other cameras.
So they’re not exactly shots from the video. But I’ll publish them as
such over the next week in the In A Colorado Minute 2016 Flickr album and this blog post: Photos from along Cherokee Park Road, Colorado