JEFF OLSON: Photo Gallery — Cache la Poudre Wild and Scenic River

Cache la Poudre River is Colorado’s only wild and scenic river. The upper stretch was designated under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act because of its outstanding recreation, scenic and hydrologic features, including The Narrows, a narrow cleft where the river has cut through rock walls; Profile Rock and Sleeping Elephant, two picturesque granite rock formations; and Poudre Falls, a deep chasm that roars with churning water much of the year. Photographer Jeff Olson and his wife, Joanne Plager Burke Olson, recently visited the area. Legend has it that the river was named in 1836 when a party of westward traveling fur trappers of the Hudson’s Bay Co. were forced to lighten their load near the banks of the river after being caught in a heavy snowfall. The order was given to “cache la poudre” or “hide the powder” so that it could be retrieved the following spring. It became a popular route for trappers, traders, explorers, and gold miners. Several mines were established, and although none became particularly successful, they helped lay the groundwork for the first permanent settlements in the area.

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