The Cache la Poudre River is the heart of the National Heritage Area which follows the Poudre downstream for 45 miles. This is the story of the “working Cache,” a river essential to the lives of the more than a half-million people in the northern Colorado Front Range.
Originating among the Rocky Mountains and dropping some 7,000 feet to the Great Plains, the Cache la Poudre River is relatively short —125 miles from start to end. It flows eastward through diverse geographic settings. In many areas one can see head gates, flumes, water measurement devices, and an intricate network of ditches as reminders that people are able to modify the river’s flow. These structures symbolize the long struggle to sustain a viable agricultural economy and to meet the water needs of urban development for the people of northern Colorado.
The Poudre is significant for its contribution to the development of Western water law and the evolution of complex water delivery systems. The Poudre has also played a crucial role in regional economic development and has become a focal point for recreation.