Hike the Bent Rock Trail at Red Mountain Open Space

Rate this Adventure Colorado Red Mountain Open Space Parking

Added by Grant Whitty

Red Mountain Open Space is located just north of Fort Collins, Colorado and is known for it's Utah-like red rock. Red Mountain is unique because it is home to a blend of both mountain and prairie ecosystems.

To get to Red Mountain Open Space from Fort Collins, take Highway 287 to Highway 1. Follow Highway 1 until you see County Road 15, get off there. This is where it gets confusing, so hang on. You will follow CR15 for a few miles until CR78, take a left onto CR78. Then take a right on CR17, then a left on CR80, then a right on CR19. Finally you will come a T-intersection with CR19 and CR21, take a left onto CR21. Follow this road for 7.5 miles to the trail head. Make sure to take the pin-drop below and plug it into your phone or GPS incase you couldn't wrap your head around the instructions. 

Assuming you survived the car ride, you will arrive at the trail head. From here begin to check your gear, and tie up your hiking boots. Take a minute to look at the information sign, grab a trail guide, and hit the trail. 

The trail will begin to the west of the parking area, look for signage. After you hop on the trail, it will begin to near Boxelder Creek. After a few hundred yards you will need to cross the creek. Look for stepping stones across.

Once you cross, this is where the loop begins. You can either go left, around the rock, or right, through the canyon. I went right, through the canyon. The trail will come right next to towering red canyon walls. Soon you will cross back over the creek--there will be stones to cross. 

As you wind through the canyon take some time to look at the rock layers, as they tell a story of our geologic history. Also notice how the mountain ecosystem mixes with that of the prairie. 

Again you will cross the creek for a final time and begin to wrap around the western side of Bent Rock. Continue to follow this back around to the beginning of the loop, and follow the trail you came in on, to the parking lot. 

The entire open space has over 15 miles of trail, all divided up into small loop trails that are all interconnected. All trails are marked very well. Feel free to go beyond Bent Rock.

Depending on how much you want to hike, you can spend a few hours or a whole day at the open space. Keep in mind it is only open dusk to dawn. Be mindful of horseback riders and mountain bikers, share the trail.

Pack List

  • Hiking Boots
  • Water
  • Backpack
  • Camera
  • Sun/Rain Protection
  • Mountain Bike Gear
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More



Hiking, Photography, Running

Skill Level:



Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



2.6 Miles

Elev. Gain:

200 Feet


Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Picnic Area

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

Have you done this adventure? Have something to add? You could be the first to leave a review!

Added by Grant Whitty

Freelance Outdoor Photojournalist from Iowa, living in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

More Adventures Nearby

Hike Arthur's Rock in Lory State Park

Colorado / Arthur's Rock Trail trailhead

The climb to the summit of Arthur's Rock in Lory State Park provides relative isolation and solitude just 30 minutes from downtown Fort Collins along with great hiking, trail running, mountain biking.

Josiah Roe
4 Saves

Hike the Spearhead

Colorado / Glacier Gorge Trailhead

Beginning from the Glacier Gorge trailhead, follow trail signs towards Mills Lake. At Mills, continue onward past Black Lake, and then continue hiking up into the incredible basin above Black Lake.

Kyle Frost
5 Saves

Hike Mt. Elbert via Black Cloud Trail

Colorado / Black Cloud Trailhead

Directions:  Heading south from Leadville from U.S. 24: West on CO 82 for 10.5 miles to a hidden right turn that leads to a trail head. If you make it to the Mt.

Mike Stevens
2 Saves