10 Best Hiking And Trekking Spots In Fort Collins, Colorado

hiking in fort collins

If you love to enjoy an amazing adventure and looking for a wondrous place to hike, Fort Collins will not let you down. This place doesn’t just offer gorgeous and interesting places but also provides a good selection of trails. Whether you prefer to have a short and easy hike with your family or a long strenuous one with some friends, you will definitely have it all in this place. While here, you get to witness a spectacular view and experience a distinct glimpse of wildlife along the way. Check out our list of the 10 best hiking and trekking spots in Fort Collins, Colorado.

1. Eagle's Nest Open Space

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Eagle’s Nest Open Space is located near Silverthorne, Colorado with a 10.1 miles trek and a serious loop that ascends to the highest point of Tabeguache. From Monument Road, head out to the parking lot then follow the sign to the Eagle’s trail. There will be a lot of markers that will guide you to the starting point of the strenuous climb. If you want easy routes, the most recommended are the Tripple Bar Trail and OT Trail Loop which are both a 4.9-mi (8 km) trek. Sweating up to the top of the hill, you will be greeted by beautiful views of Colorado National Monument, Grand Mesa, and Serpents Trail. The famous landmark of Eagle’s Nest Rock has been the habitat of golden eagles for over a hundred years. Eagle’s Nest Open Space is basically good for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birdwatching.

Eagle's Nest Open Space

Address: Laporte, CO 80535, United States

Website: Eagle’s Nest Open Space

2. Gateway Natural Area

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Gateway Natural Area is a place in Fort Collins that’s best to bring your family to for a day in the mountain. It is known as the site of the water filtration plant of the city. To get here, head to the west via Colorado Highway 14. Then, you will find the entrance of the site on the north side of the highway. It is only 15 mi (24 km) from the center of Fort Collins and features two easy and short trails that provide exceptional views of Poudre Canyon. Aside from hiking and trekking, there are a lot of things to do while you are here.

Gateway Natural Area

Address: 5216 West Highway 14, Bellvue, CO 80512, United States

Website: Gateway Natural Area

3. Cathy Fromme Prairie Natural Area

Cathy Fromme Prairie Natural Area is known as an elevated meadowland. It serves as a barrier between Loveland and Fort Collins. Around 1960, the citizens of Northern Larimer County have been taking care of the physical separation of Loveland and Fort Collins thus, they have worked hard for something that would go between them. Cathy Fromme Prairie now serves as the buffer between two places. The Fossil Creek Trail is the only trail that would take a 4.8-mile roundtrip and it’s open to the public. It is paved the whole way and travels from Shields Rd west through the Prairie to Luther Lane. You will enjoy the beautiful sightseeing of rolling terrain and grassland that support plenty of wildlife and plants. The remarkable landscape attracts wild animals like hawks and eagles. You can also catch a photo of butterflies, songbirds, rabbits, cayotes and if you wander and don’t keep your track on the trail you may eventually find rattlesnakes. Cathy Fromme Prairie is an excellent place, especially in winter.

Cathy Fromme Prairie Natural Area

Address: 2001 Overlook Dr, Fort Collins, CO 80526, United States

Website: Cathy Fromme Prairie Natural Area

Opening hours: 5am - 11pm (daily)

4. Arthur's Rock

View from Arthur's Seat
Source: Photo by Flickr user Alexey Komarov used under CC BY 2.0

Arthur’s Rock is one of the most popular hikes near Fort Collins and offers some of the greatest views of Fort Collins. The trail ranges from moderate to difficult but any beginner can certainly handle it by just taking their time. Arthur’s Rock trail is the shortest route to the summit that can be reached by entering Lory Park Road. From the trailhead of Arthur’s Rock Trail, you will hike 1.7 mi (3 km) to the summit, while other trails are about 1.9 mi (3 km) long. The rewarding part of this hike is when you get to witness the breathtaking view of Horsetooth Reservoir and downtown Fort Collins. At the summit, you will have enough space to build a tent or spread a blanket and enjoy a picnic.

5. Coyote Ridge Trail

Coastal View Trail and Coyote Ridge
Source: Photo by Flickr user David Abercrombie used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Coyote Ridge Trail is one of the most popular trails in Fort Collins. This trail gives hikers magnificent views of Fort Collins, Spring Canyons, Horsetooth Rock, and Devils Back. Once you mount up to the Coyote Ridge Trail, expect a moderate climb until you reach the peak. You will see the scenic views of east bay and Mt. Diablo. You also have an option to hike longer until you reach the beach.

6. Horsetooth Falls

Horsetooth Falls Trail
Source: Photo by Flickr user Kimon Berlin used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Located near Fort Collins, Horsetooth Falls highlight is its beautiful waterfall. It is a 4.7-km (3 mi) moderate loop trail that is good for hiking, walking, and nature tripping. It is one of the easiest and shortest trails suitable for families with young children. The trek will start at the mountain park leading to a grassy meadow. Within the half-mile climb, you can already enjoy the beautiful view of the mountain as well as wildflowers and pine trees. Just continue to follow the easy path for another half mile and soon you will arrive at the gorgeous falls.

7. Hewlett Gulch Trailhead

Hewlett Gulch Trail view
Source: Photo by Flickr user Deb Nystrom used under CC BY 2.0

Hewlett Gulch Trail is a popular trail in Poudre Canyon about 20 mi (32 km) northwest of Fort Collins. This is an easy and family-friendly hike just minutes from Fort Collins, though it can be difficult depending on what time of the year you go. Most crossings are good and clear in fall but get a little difficult in spring and summer. While hiking, expect to witness great views including forests, canyon areas, and rustic cabins.

Hewlett Gulch Trailhead

Address:150 Hewlett Gulch Trail, Bellvue, CO 80512, United States

Website: Hewlett Gulch Trailhead

8. Foothills Trail

Foothills Loop Trail
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Airickson used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Foothills Trail is a moderate 6.8-mi (10 km) trail in Fort Collins that is commonly enjoyed by hikers, bikers, and nature lovers. This trail covers the county, state, and federal land and joined Pineridge, Maxwell, and Reservoir Ridge natural areas. Fort Collins and Larimer County both manage several trailheads for you to reach Foothills Trail. The most attractive part of the trail is the portion that follows the reservoir between Sunrise and Rotary Park. You don’t have to worry about getting lost because there will be markers that will guide you throughout.

9. Soapstone Prairie Natural Area

View from Soapstone Mountain
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Morrowlong used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Soapstone Prairie Natural Area is a 28-sq mi (73 km2) park and conservation area. If you are just looking for a quick hike, this park features 3 easy trails, which are all 0.7 mi (1.1 km). You may use this trail while on horseback or a mountain bike. You can also see historical structures along the way. You must stay on the trail as a way of respecting the area’s history and cultural heritage.

Soapstone Prairie Natural Area

Address: 22998 Rawhide Flats Rd, Wellington, CO 80549, United States

Website: Soapstone Prairie Natural Area

10. Lory State Park

Lory State Park
Source: Photo by Flickr user Tim Fuller used under CC BY 2.0

Lory State Park has an area of 2492 ac (1008 ha) and is located west of Fort Collins and north of Horsetooth Reservoir. There are a variety of trails that make the park worthy of short walks or long hikes. Lory State Park Loop Trail is 16.4-km (26 mi) and allows you to experience a moderate hike. You can start in Wells Gulch and admire the beautiful mountain views. Though the snow-covered mountains look attractive, be careful of the snowy mud along the ridge during winter. There are also several popular attractions perfect for mountain biking, horseback riding, and rock climbing.

Lory State Park

Address: 708 Lodgepole Dr, Bellvue, CO 80512, United States

Website: Colorado 66

Opening hours: 5am - 6pm (daily)

Experience the best hike in Fort Collins

Fort Collins, Colorado, is a place where you can experience some of the hiking trails. Whether it’s a moderate or challenging trail, you will instantly fall in love with the magnificent sceneries that await you at the summit.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Christian Pancho is a freelance writer and gaming enthusiast. He traveled Japan to experience the culture firsthand only to return to his hometown fixated on anime and maids with cat ears. While...Read more

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