Hike the Devil's Backbone in Colorado

Colorado Devils Backbone Trailhead, CO

Added by Matt Willey

  • Cool rock formation
  • Year-round hiking
  • Wildlife
  • Dog friendly
  • Family friendly
  • Three 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.

Pack List

  • Hiking boots
  • Backpack
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Camera
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

Share

Activities:

Fitness, Hiking, Photography, Running

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Year Round

Trail Type:

Loop

Distance:

2.5 Miles

Rating:

Features:

Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Picnic Area
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

10 days ago

Awesome

Really interesting area with a nice trail. This is a an awsome spot for people to go for a quick hike who don't want to spend a lot of time driving to/from Loveland.

10 days ago

4 months ago

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.

4 months ago

Added by Matt Willey

More Adventures Nearby

Snowshoe Jim Creek Trail

Colorado / Jim Creek Trailhead

Starting at 9,220 feet of elevation, this 5 mile out-and-back snowshoe begins its 965 foot elevation gain meandering through a quiet forest.

Ski to Janet's Cabin

Colorado / Alpine Lot at Copper Mountain

Janet's Cabin is located on the eastern slope of the Continental Divide at 11,610 ft, near Copper Mountain ski resort.

Jason Hatfield
9 Saves

Bike the Garden of the Gods loop

Colorado / Garden of the Gods

The Basics: Garden of the Gods is a free, public park on the Western edge of Colorado Springs.

Connor Bruson
4 Saves