Trek the Thompson

Saturday, September 7th 2024!

An annual community celebration of the Big Thompson River



Join us to celebrate the Big Thompson River

Saturday, September 7th 2024!

Fairgrounds Park (700 Railroad Ave) in Loveland, CO

We’re making plans for Trek the Thompson 2024, check back soon for more event details!

From its sparkling headwaters

in Rocky Mountain National Park to its confluence with the South Platte, the Big Thompson watershed provides the water we drink, the food we grow, the wood we harvest, the fishing and wildlife habitat we enjoy, and the beauty we treasure. Whether you are a resident within the watershed, a downstream water user, or one of millions who visit and explore the Big Thompson River every year, this waterway holds special value to the livelihoods and lifestyles of those connected to it.

Trek the Thompson is a free community celebration of the Big Thompson River and watershed located along the Big T River at Fairgrounds Park. The event features interactive education stations where community members and watershed visitors can learn about the river, watersheds, wildlife, recreation, and all that the Big T provides for Northern Colorado. This year’s Trek the Thompson will also be in remembrance of the 10th anniversary of the 2013 floods and the amazing amount of collaborative recovery work that has happened since.

In addition to interactive education stations, attendees can also enjoy live music from local bands, participate in a free prize raffle, enjoy food from local food trucks, and join us on our newly introduced “treks” to go birding, ID native plants, and learn about our river system.

So, bring your kids, dogs, and friends and join us to celebrate one of Loveland’s most treasured resources!

Event Details

Trek attendees are welcome to arrive anytime during the event which starts at 9am and ends at 1pm. Upon arrival you will receive a Trek tote bag with more information about the event and the education stations. Attendees are welcome to visit the education stations in any order, listen to live music from local artists Christine Alice and Andrea Savage, visit our exhibitor booths, enjoy free refreshments and light snacks or grab food at our food truck. We encourage attendees to visit all 10 education stations as you will receive a free raffle ticket for each station you visit. You can turn your raffle tickets in at the end of the event for a chance to win a locally donated prize. Throughout the event we will also be offering three guided Treks. The first Trek – bird watching – will start before the event at8:30am and go until 10am. Our 10:00-11:00am Trek will be native plant identification and our final Trek from11:00-12:00 will be a discussion on the Big T river system and its history.

What you get for attending:

  • A free Trek the Thompson tote bag
  • Interactive education about the Big T River and watershed
  • Free live music Free educational resources and swag from our exhibitors
  • Opportunity to win locally donated prizes
  • Refreshments and light snacks

Education Stations

From Devastation to Resilience: Tracing our journey since the 2013 Floods

learn about the devastating impacts of this 100-year flood event and the incredible recovery work that has happened through the watershed in the 10 years since.

Emergency Response within the Watershed

meet emergency responders and checkout some equipment

How Do Wildfires Impact Our Watershed?

view an interactive demonstration of how wildfires continue to impact our watershed and water quality years after the fire

What Impacts Our Water Quality?

view an interactive demonstration of how storm water flows into the river system

Where Does Our Water Come From?

find out how a system developed in the 1800’s is still used today to get our water where it needs to go

How Native Plants Benefit Our Watershed

plant your own native plant seeds with Wildlands Restoration Volunteers

What's in Store for Loveland's Natural Areas?

learn about Loveland’s trail systems and upcoming river and trail projects

What Lives in the River?

see live macroinvertebrates and learn how to flycast from local experts with Rocky Mountain Flycasters

What Makes a Healthy Forest?

see how fire moves through a forest and learn why forests are so important for our watershed

Meet Northern Colorado's Wildlife

learn about the diversity of Northern Colorado’s wildlife from our local experiential education organization, Heart-J Center!

Event Details

Trek the Thompson: 9am-1pm


Bird watching Trek: 8:30am-10am (registration required)


Trek the Thompson begins


Music from Christine Alice


Native Plant Identification Trek (registration required)


First raffle drawing


River System Guided Trek (registration required)


Music from Savage Resistance


Second raffle drawing


Event ends
Food truck will be on site for the majority of the event

Follow the Trek the Thompson Facebook page to stay up to date on all the event details including raffle prizes and to learn more about the event hosts

Remembering the 2013 Flood

Fairgrounds Park flood impacts

Big T Canyon Mountain post-flood

Namaqua Ave flood impacts

On September 9th, 2013, exactly 10 years before Trek the Thompson, a five-day rain event began which brought 15-20 inches of rain to the watershed and led to a 100-year flood event in the Big Thompson and much of the Front Range. Flood waters were funneled down the Big Thompson Canyon destroying the river channel, roads and infrastructure, homes, and much of the land around the river. The flood claimed two lives in the Big Thompson and six more statewide, led 13 counties to declare a state of emergency, and in total left a wake of damage estimated at over $2 billion statewide. In the aftermath of this disastrous event, community members, landowners, and local organizations came together to collaborate on flood recovery efforts. The need for recovery efforts also led to the creation of the Big Thompson Watershed Coalition. Over the last 10 years tens of millions of dollars have been brough to the watershed to fund collaborative recovery efforts involving BTWC, private landowners, the County, CO Dept. of Transportation, and many more partners. These recovery efforts have worked to not only restore the system but to make it more resilient to future flood events. We are proud to be a part of these efforts and want to take this 10th anniversary to not only remember the flood and the lives it took but also to recognize the incredible work that has been done to rebuild and reshape our watershed.

Trek the Thompson Sponsors and Planning Committee Members