Diamond Rock Picnic Area
Northern Colorado has many opportunities for a beautiful scenic drive, one of which is the stunning cruise through Poudre Canyon. Cache la Poudre Scenic Byway (a.k.a. Colorado Highway 14) cuts through a wild and rugged canyon, following the Poudre River's twists and turns through the Front Range Mountains. This scenic drive offers many opportunities for recreation. Hiking, camping, fishing, and river rafting are popular activities during the warmer months. No one was out on the icy waters as we passed through the canyon, but the conditions were perfect for a lovely drive.
The dogs and I were greatly enjoying our cruise through the Colorado wilderness heading west, when we realized it was lunchtime. Luckily, we were in a fantastic place -there were several picnic areas along Highway 14. We chose one bathed in sunshine along the banks of the river.
Diamond Rock Picnic Area sat off the highway to our right. A detailed sign with information about the area greeted us upon arrival. The picnic tables were spread out along the length of the Cache la Poudre River. Rugged rocky hills stood on the other side of the partially frozen waterway.
The picnic area was nearly deserted when we arrived. We had our choice of tables and picked one that was in the sun. Towering pine trees decorated the forest. We basked in the gorgeous scenery as I prepared our lunch.
The frozen, snow-covered river stretched out in front of us. The sun had melted away all traces of winter from the hills across the water. This was a lovely place to sit and enjoy our food.
We soaked up the warming sunshine as it beamed through the trees. Tables around us sat empty and quiet. The area was peaceful and serene, making it difficult to muster the will to get moving again after lunch. It would be all too easy to spend the rest of the day lazing by the riverside.
After finishing our meal and reluctantly packing back up, it was time for a stroll around the empty picnic grounds.
At the far end of the picnic area, snow dusted the scenery. The steep canyon walls blocked out the sun at certain angles, creating spaces where winter lingered. The girls took a moment to gaze down the icy river at the hills beyond.
The river bubbled and gurgled through weak spots in the ice. Steep, craggy hills made up the terrain lining the far banks.
We slowly meandered back in the direction of the parking area. Large jagged rock formations lined the canyon as it stretched on upriver towards the west.
Maggie frolicked in the Colorado snow, happy to find powder deep and clean enough to roll in. We weren't in any hurry to leave. The hills, trees, and snow combined together to make this place extra special.
We continued our slow walk along the river, taking in the fantastic scenery. Time seemed to stand still in this place.
Eventually we had dawdled around long enough, and needed to head out. This had been a lovely place to spend an afternoon but we were ready to continue down the road. It had been a wonderful stop, and a great spot to eat lunch by the frosty Cache la Poudre River.