I could make this very short by saying that anything immediately west of town will provide a great hill workout for hiking, running or mountain biking. But I’ll try to do a little better than that with our thoughts on the best trails for a hill workout near Fort Collins.
- Foothills Trail: I think this one is a no brainer. It’s right on the edge of town making it very quick and easy to get to. If you start near Hughes Stadium you can be climbing right away toward Horsetooth Reservoir. There are a couple rocky sections but there is nothing too technical. The total one way distance is 6.2 Miles.
Foothills Trail Elevation Profile (North to South)
- Horsetooth Mountain Open Space: There are a couple good options here depending on whether you want a wide, relatively smooth road or the random unpredictability of a trail. Towers Trail is a dirt road that provides access for service vehicles to the radio towers just north of Horsetooth Mountain. But don’t let the fact that it is a road fool you. It is all up hill for 3.2 miles gaining 1,694 feet. Horsetooth Rock Trail is 2.3 miles long gaining 1,515 feet all the way up to Horsetooth Rock. If that isn’t quite long enough you can easily mix it up with the many other trails in the area.
Horsetooth Rock Trail Elevation Profile
Towers Trail Elevation Profile
- Bobcat Ridge Natural Area: The Bobcat Ridge Natural Area also offers road and trail options. Powerline Trail is an old road that gains 1,129 feet in 2.0 miles while Ginny Trail is a fairly technical trail that gains 1,414 feet in 5.1 miles. Neither of these trails starts from the trailhead so you will have a short warm up before you start climbing.
Ginny Trail Elevation Profile
Power Line Trail Elevation Profile
What’s your favorite trail for a hill workout near Fort Collins?
If you are new to mountain biking or just looking to get back into the swing of things before you hit the hard stuff we put together this list of easy mountain bike trails near Laramie to help you out.
- Chimney Park: I can’t think of a better place than Chimney Park to learn how to ride a mountain bike. The trails are wide, the elevation is very gentle and as long as you stay on the trails you just won’t find a place that’s difficult. You’ll notice pretty early on that every intersection is marked so you will always have a good idea where you are. Another great thing about this trail system is that there are enough trails that you can mix it up with a variety of loops all day if you want or you can do a short and quick ride. Sometimes Chimney Park can get crowded but even then once you get back into the trails you won’t encounter other trail users very often.
- Curt Gowdy State Park: The one thing that Curt Gowdy State Park has that no other place in southeast Wyoming has is purpose built mountain bike single track. The trail system here was designed from the start with mountain bikes in mind and with riders of all skill levels in mind. As long as you stay on top of the trial information posted at nearly every intersection you can stick with the easy trails and cruise to your hearts content. Since Curt Gowdy State Park is further east than any other trail system it also clears of snow before the others.
- Tie City: There are plenty of easy trails you can get to from the Tie City Trailhead and its a little bit closer to Laramie than the other two trail systems listed so you can get some good mileage in without driving as far out of town. But you will have to work a little bit harder and pay a little bit more attention to stay on the easy trails. On the other hand the dense trail network makes the options for your ride almost unlimited.
I know these aren’t the only ones, what are your favorite easy mountain bike trails near Laramie?
It’s getting to be that time of year when we put the skis in the back of the shed and tune up the mountain bikes. Some people have been riding all winter in one way or another but for those looking for an easy place to either learn or to just blow out the cobwebs we put together a list of easy mountain bike trails near Fort Collins.
Here is our list of the easiest trails to get to near Laramie for when you need a quick trail fix, whether that is hiking or mountain biking or whatever.
There are days when you just don’t have the time or motivation to head out deep into the mountains for some good old fashioned exploring. If you fall into this category from time to time, or even all the time, and live near Fort Collins, don’t worry. We’ve put together our list of easy trails to get to near Fort Collins.
- Lory State Park and Horsetooth Mountain Open Space: (As I’m writing this Lory State Park is closed because of the Galena Fire) These two parks are next door neighbors sitting on the west side of Horsetooth Reservoir with Lory State Park to the north and Horsetooth Mountain Open Space to the south. They both share a very gentle valley floor next to the reservoir with easy trails next to steep and rugged mountains with trails to challenge anyone. Each also has a unique and scenic summit, Arthur’s Rock in Lory State Park, and Horsetooth Rock in the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space. Both offer great views looking over the reservoir and Fort Collins.
- Bobcat Ridge Natural Area: The Bobcat Ridge Natural Area has a very popular trail system that gets quite a bit of use from horseback riders, mountain bikers, hikers, and trail runners. Like many other trail systems in the area, there are easy trails in the low ground and difficult trails going up into the mountains. A small historic cabin sits on the north end of the Natural Area and there is the very peaceful Mahoney Park where three trails merge near the high point of the Natural Area. But be warned, getting to Mahoney Park takes a bit of effort.
- Foothills Trail: Maybe I should have put the Foothills Trail at the top of this list. It is by far the easiest to get to since it’s between the Horsetooth Reservoir and Fort Collins. But with the other trail systems you can sometimes forget how close you really are to the city. You can’t get that feeling on the Foothills Trail. That doesn’t make it a bad trail though, far from it. There are some impressive hills if you are looking for a challenging workout and there are a few sections next to Horsetooth Reservoir that are very scenic.
I know there are more so where are your favorite easy trails to get to?
Our favorite early spring trails are those that tend to be the first ones clear of snow and mud so we can get out and explore all the great things that spring has to offer. This is a great time of year to get out and watch all the streams, plants and animals come to life and it should be no surprise that the Pole Mountain area features very prominently in this list of early spring trails near Laramie.
- El Alto Trail in Curt Gowdy State Park: This trail leads to my favorite scenic spot in Curt Gowdy State Park. From there you can see many of the best features of the Pole Mountain area. El Alto Trail is rated as difficult and you may have to use your hands a couple times to get up some of the rockier areas. It is 1.1 miles out and back but first you’ll have to hike a couple other trails to get there.
- Headquarters Trail: Headquarters Trail is a part of the larger Tie City and Happy Jack trail system. To quickly get to the best parts of this trail you’ll need to get off I-80 at the big Lincoln head, drive past the rest area, over the cattle guard and briefly down the gravel road to the main trailhead. After you leave the trailhead area it will be a nice stroll through the forest with a few scenic points if interest along the high ridge line.
- Turtle Rock Trail: Turtle Rock Trail, part of the Vedauwoo and Blair trail system, is amazing any time of the year. But its especially fun to walk past the awe inspiring rocks when all the green of spring is starting to come out. Everything feels more alive. If you’re lucky you may spot a beaver in one of the many ponds along the trail, or possibly a moose. If not, at least you’ll know the birds will be out in full force, along with the rock climbers.
These are all fun places to spend an early spring day but they are by no means the only ones. What’s your favorite early spring hike in the southeast Wyoming area?
When the days start getting warm but the snow is only just starting to give way to mud what’s an explorer to do? We have a few go to trails for these types of situations. Since these tend to clear up faster than the others and provide us with a great day outside on the trail it makes them our favorite early spring hiking trails near Fort Collins.
- Red Mountain Open Space: If you’ve never been there, the Red Mountain Open Space sits right up next to the Wyoming border. Because its a little bit lower and dryer, this trail system is usually pretty easy to get around by the time it opens for the year on March 1st. There isn’t much in the way of trees here but there is some fascinating geology to gawk at. One of the most unique, and easiest to walk to, is the Bent Rock found along the aptly named, Bent Rock Trail. If you’re in the mood for something a little more grand and sweeping head on over to the Cheynne Rim Trail. The views of the red rocks carved out by erosion are worth the extra miles on foot.
- Greyrock Trail: The view from the summit at the end of Greyrock Trail is a treat. Working your way up there however takes a bit of effort. The trail is rated as difficult because of this climb. You will need to use your hands to help climb over some rocks in a couple place as you get close to the summit but it’s not very challenging. When you first get on top of Greyrock, but before the summit, there is a unique little clearing that I’ve always found interesting. I’m also curious to watch how this area recovers over time from last year’s High Park Fire.
- Eagles Nest Open Space: The Eagles Nest Open Space has two easy and short loops that follow a portion of the North Fork of the Cache la Poudre River. The first time I went there I wasn’t expecting much as I got out of the car but by the time I made it to the river bottom I was pleasantly surprised. If you can’t afford to spend a whole day on the trails but want to get out anyway, be sure to give this one a try.
Feel fee to share your favorite early spring hikes near Fort Collins in the comments below.
If you’re in the mood for snowshoeing and happen to be near Laramie, or the surrounding area (Cheyenne perhaps) then you’re in luck because there are quite a few trail options and even non trail options available to you. But today we’re focused on our favorites.
So, without further rambling, here are our 3 favorite places to snowshoe near Laramie:
- Vedauwoo: This shouldn’t surprise anyone. It’s close to both Laramie and Cheyenne, it has those wonderful rock formations, and it’s also prime winter habitat for moose and elk. But there are a couple drawbacks. The snow tends to blow and drift a lot around Vedauwoo so in a rather short distance you can go from needed some hefty back country snowshoes to simply walking on dry ground in you regular hiking shoes. And the same wind that makes the snow unpleasant will also punish you for any skin you may leave exposed, until you get into the trees that is.
- Libby Creek Trail: I love this trail in the winter. It starts at the Green Rock Trailhead which is about as far up Highway 130 as you are going to get in the winter (from the Centennial side anyway). It starts just below a wide meadow and works its way through a beautiful winter forest. A little over 1/4 of a mile in you’ll come to a snow measuring stick which is always fun to check out. As you make the big loop you’ll spend part of the time above Libby Creek and part of the time right next to it.
- Little Laramie: This is another great winter trail system that offers plenty of options. Some trails will take you beside the North Fork of the Little Laramie River, others will take you through forests and meadows, or you can even head up Sand Lake Road if that’s your thing. The is also a scenic overlook that offers some great views of the Snowy Range Ski Area.
I find myself spending the most time in these three places when I’m on my snowshoes. Where is your favorite place to snowshoe near Laramie?