The United States Congress designated the Platte River Wilderness (map
) in 1984 and it now has a total of 23,301 acres
It is managed by the Forest Service.
About 36 square miles of forested land lying primarily north and east of the North Platte River is included in this Wyoming Wilderness, with a small segment in Colorado's Routt National Forest. On the Colorado side, no Wilderness covers less acreage. The North Platte River enters Routt National Forest about four miles south of the Wyoming state line and flows north through a portion of the Wilderness and North Gate Canyon, a popular white-water rafting section of water. Elevations average 7,700 feet with the wide and relatively flat Platte Ridge rising in the middle of the area between the river and Douglas Creek. Elk and deer winter here. Both the creek and the river are noted for their excellent trout fishing opportunities. The Platte River Trail gently parallels the river on the west bank after a steep descent from the Platte River Trailhead. During high water, the trail dead-ends after five miles. During low water (usually in late July and August), you can ford the river and continue on the east bank. The Douglas Creek Trail follows the creek for 9.5 miles through an open canyon with trailheads at both ends. You can hike a loop from the Pelton Creek Trailhead by exiting the Douglas Creek Trail to return via the Platte River Trail.