There are a couple of famous rock formations in the Poudre Canyon. Profile Rock and Sleeping Elephant are probably known to most visitors to the canyon. A few weeks ago, in a post I called “Lower Poudre Canyon: Mishawaka, Tunnel, & Totem Rock,” I posted an image of Totem Rock, a lesser know formation in the Little Narrows area.  Even more recently, I bought a postcard of a Poudre rock formation captioned “The Duck, Little Narrows.” Here’s a scan of it and, as you can see, it looks a little duck-like.

Poudre Duck c1925 B400
The Duck, Little Narrows, c. 1925

Jan Gueswel, a Poudre Canyon resident and the editor of a monthly newsletter for lower Poudre Canyon residents, and I have shared emails in the past. I had a chance to meet her personally last week at a presentation I was giving on the “Automobile Comes to Fort Collins.” I mentioned my latest Poudre Canyon purchase and Jan began telling me about other rock formations in the Canyon, none familiar to me. Jan was nice enough to take pictures of them and send them to me. Now she’s letting me share them with you.






First, let’s look at Jan’s Duck image, which she found just below (or east of) the tunnel, on the south side.

duck rock Apr 2017 B400
The Duck, April 2017, by Jan Gueswel.

Here are the others she sent, roughly in east to west order up the Canyon. I’ve included Jan’s location information as well as well as a re-post of my Totem Rock image.

live long aand prosper B640
Vulcan Salute, April 2017, by Jan Gueswel. Below the tunnel, near the Duck, on the south side of the canyon.

Any “Trekker” will recognize this rock formation as Mr. Spock’s Vulcan Salute from the 1960’s television series Star Trek. The salute was often accompanied by the phrase “Live Long and Prosper.”

The Thumb B400
The Thumb, April 2017, by Jan Gueswel. Still below the tunnel but on the north side of the river.
pink pig cropped B640
The Pink Pig, April 2017, by Jan Gueswel. Approximately 200 yards above (or west of) the tunnel on the canyon wall, south of the highway.

Apparently, instructors stop at this point in the canyon to point out this feature to geology students. According to a geologist friend of mine, “This is an intrusion of younger granitic rock, probably a pegmatite into older metamorphic rock. If it cooled slowly crystals could form in it. The pink color is from the mineral feldspar which is a large component of granite along with quartz.” Visualizing the pig is up to you.

C Totem rock c1915 Blog 400
Totem Rock, c. 1920. Possibly by William Sanborn. Locally called “Palisades,” just west of the tunnel, on the north side across the river.
Balance Rock B640
Balance Rock, April 2017, by Jan Gueswel. Just below (or east) of the Narrows Campground, across the river on the south side.
gorilla rock B400
Gorilla Rock April 2017, by Jan Gueswel. West of the road to Pingree Park, on the north side of the highway. Note that you have to be driving east on Highway 14 to see it.

It might be worth a ride to check out these formations and maybe find and name some of your own. Have fun and let me know if I gave any bad directions. Also, if you know of any more rock formations in the canyon send them to me with some directions and I’ll post them in the future. Send them to my email:

Next Sunday, I’m going to show you how fast the automobile changed the face of Fort Collins.

Scroll down to the bottom of the page can click the “Poudre Canyon” category to see the rest of my Poudre posts.


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