Buckhorn Canyon

Buckhorn Canyon is located roughly halfway between the Poudre Canyon and the Big Thompson Canyon (U.S. 34). Larimer County Road 44H follows Buckhorn Canyon before crossing Pennock Pass and intersecting with Pingree Park Rd (CR 63E). Buckhorn Canyon is a great back route to/from Pingree Park, and also offers its own assortment of recreational opportunities. The road is maintained and generally passable by all vehicles. However, inclement weather can give vehicles with 4WD or AWD an advantage. Additionally, there are numerous spurs and forest roads accessible from Buckhorn Rd, many of which are offroad trails.

Buckhorn Rd is a maintained gravel road
County Road 44H in Buckhorn Canyon was washed out and severely damaged by floods in 2013 and has since undergone repairs. The repaired road is sufficient and safe, but not as well constructed as the county intends to construct the road in the future. High runoff levels overran many areas of the road. During the return trip at 8:30pm, there were county maintenance vehicles operating on a particularly bad section in which the road was flooded and turned to mud.

Nearing the top of Pennock Pass
Along much of Buckhorn Rd itself is private property. Due to this, dispersed camping is not allowed near the road until past the ranger station, and OHVs are prohibited on the road.


There are numerous forest roads branching off in which dispersed camping is plentiful and OHVs are allowed. One such spur is Greer Rd, or Forest Road 154. This is a fun road to run when it’s dry, but an attempt was hindered by encountering a snowbank this last trip.

Attempting Greer Rd. It was possible to make it to the second switchback, but I made the decision to turn around. It appeared a prior vehicle made the same decision.
Other spur roads in the Buckhorn area are Crystal Mountain Rd (FR 344), which provides forest access but also has residential areas, Ballard Rd (FR 129), which provides great access to a network and trailhead access for some hiking trails, and a few others. All of these are planned for a future write-up.

Almost immediately after cresting Pennock Pass, you are granted with magnificent views of the Mummy Range and the Stormy Peaks.

Buckhorn Rd descending into Pingree Valley
Perhaps the greatest merit Buckhorn Rd has to offer is an alternate route to/from Pingree Park. The road is closed during winters as Pennock Pass is impassable, but starting in May the road is opened. Buckhorn Rd allows you to get off the pavement quicker and into the woods sooner. The whole area also holds its own in terms of opportunities.

Buckhorn Canyon is accessible from Stove Prairie Rd (CR 27). The two quickest ways to get there from Fort Collins are either going around the south end of Horsetooth Reservoir, or via Rist Canyon. Both routes getting there are steep, although both are paved.

The sign for Buckhorn Canyon seen going southbound on Stove Prairie Rd

You’re on National Forest land once you pass this sign