5 Must-Do Hiking and Running Trails in Fort Collins, Colorado

You could (and should) spend the day enjoying Fort Collin's legendary microbrew scene, but before you do, experience some of the best hiking and running trails just minutes from downtown.

Most people think of Fort Collins as the loud beating heart of Colorado’s thriving microbrew community, and it is, but it is also a proud gateway to the Rocky Mountains: positioned right up against the Front Range and a mere 45 minutes from Rocky Mountain National Park, and even less to the Cache la Poudre River Canyon and Roosevelt National Forest. All without the crowds and traffic of Denver and Boulder.

Here are five must-do hiking and running trails just minutes from the City.

1. Coyote Ridge Trail

The Coyote Ridge Trail is a great introduction to the “hogsback” formations that make up much of the initial front range, and it connects into he extensive trail system that make up the Rimrock Open Space and the Larimar County Parks & Open Spaces.

2. Arthur's Rock Trail

Arthur’s Rock in Lory State Park is second only to Horsetooth Rock in local prominence and popularity, featuring numerous hiking, running, and horse trails. The most direct route, Arthur’s Rock Trail, is iconic, featuring all of the local ecological regions along its climb and excellent views of Horsetooth Reservior, the Front Range, and the Rockies.

3. Hewlett Gulch Trail

Hewlett Gulch is a beautiful side canyon off the main Cache la Poudre River Canyon, with several springs, waterfalls, and numerous (small) creek crossings. 

4. Greyrock Mountain Trail

If you have a craving for a glacier-carved valley and granitic slick rock, look no further than Greyrock Mountain, visible from downtown Fort Collins and only 30 minutes away up the Poudre River Canyon. 

The area around the peak was devastated by the 2004 Picnic Rock Fire, making the entire climb all that more surreal, and the views from the summit are the best in the area.

5. Horsetooth Rock Trail

No list of outdoor adventures in Fort Collins is complete without mention of Horsetooth Rock. It dominates the ridgeline overlooking the city, and it unique and broken summit (where it gets its name) actually has two summits, the north and the south “teeth”.

Sunrises (and sunsets) from the summit are particularly memorable, and a quick side-jaunt off the main trail to Horsetooth Falls is well worth it.

Be forewarned: on weekends, especially in the spring, summer, and fall, the main parking lot fills up quickly. 



Published: January 23, 2017

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations.

Josiah RoeAdmin

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