Hike the Devil's Backbone in Colorado
Colorado › Devils Backbone Trailhead, CO
Added by Matt Willey
Cool rock formationYear-round hikingWildlifeDog friendlyFamily friendlyThree mile roundtrip hike
The Devils Backbone Open Space offers great hiking in the Front Range foothills. The main feature is the rock formation running along the western boundary of the park, but the open space also supports a large wildlife and plant population. Here, you'll find great opportunities for year-round hiking that can be as short as a couple miles or as long as twenty. Although there are several loops, the main trail runs in a north south direction from the Devils Backbone parking area in Loveland all the way to Horsetooth Park in Fort Collins.
From the parking lot, take the main trail past the picnic shelter and over the wooden bridges. After .3 miles, you'll come to the first intersection. Take a left and begin a steady climb. This is the Wild Loop Trail, which takes you as close as you can get to the Devils Backbone.
After .5 miles, you'll arrive at a second split. The trail to the left goes to the Keyhole, which offers a panoramic view of the mountains to the west, including Longs Peak. The right trail bypasses the keyhole and continues along the Wild Loop Trail.
From this intersection, it's .2 miles to the Keyhole and back to the Wild Loop Trail. Shortly after you arrive at another intersection, you can either go left and continue on the main trail, or go right to finish the Wild Loop. If time allows, the trail to the left begins to steadily climb through sage brush, yucca, and cacti, and offers fantastic hiking and wonderful views of the surrounding area. From here you can hike all the way to Horsetooth Park in Fort Collins. Many hikers opt for the shorter route and go right to finish the Wild Loop. From here it is another .8 miles back to the intersection, and another .3 to the parking area.
This is a great hike that can be done year-round, but be aware that there are seasonal closures for nesting raptors. In addition, spring conditions can be very muddy, and trails are sometimes closed. Rattlesnakes are common on the trail so be aware. There is also many cacti so be sure to stay on the trail.
Check out the Devil's Backbone Open Space page for more information on trail conditions and closures.
- Hiking boots
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Easy Hike - Great w/ Dogs
We hiked this in the fall and it was gorgeous! The views of the foothills and Devil's Backbone were great. It's more of an open space than it is a hike, but it was a perfect 2 mile jaunt with our dogs.
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