Arthurs Rock Trail – Hiking in Lory State Park – Fort Collins, CO

Lory State Park is 20-25 minutes west of downtown Fort Collins, CO. It is a popular destination for hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, and dog owners. Most trailheads in the park have restrooms, free pet waste bags, and ample parking, but no water. Arthur’s Rock trailhead is located at the end of the park’s gravel road (as seen in the Google map below) and is marked on the park trail map with a #1. The trailhead is at an elevation of 5,600 feet and requires a parking permit or day parking pass (~$7/day). Cell phone service is intermittent while in the park. Lory State Park trails connect to trails in Horsetooth Mountain Park so hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders can travel back and forth between the two parks.

Arthur’s Rock Trail Grade

The Arthur’s Rock trail is a moderately difficult 1.7 mile hike with an elevation gain of 1,100 feet. We have seen deer, flying grasshoppers, and have yet to experience any mosquitoes. Further, leashed dogs are allowed on the trail but is recommended that you bring a collapsible water bowl for your dog to drink from because there is no running water (i.e., stream) near the trail. Early in the hike, the trail connects with West Valley Trail (#8), which allows horseback riding and mountain biking. As you can see in the following pictures, the Arthur’s Rock Trail offers open landscape in addition to tight switchbacks later in the hike.

1.1 miles into the hike, you reach the Scenic Overlook which provides a view of the Horsetooth Reservoir. There is less forest canopy the farther you hike so sun protection should be considered.

The difficulty of the trail is consistently moderate as you can see in the following picture.

However, the last 100 feet of the hike is more difficult because it requires using your hands to pull yourself up. It was doable with a kid on my back in a Kelty child carrier but you do need to be careful. We saw two other babies less than a year and half old on the summit.
Arthur’s Rock was arrived at after an 80 minutes of hiking and a gain in elevation of 1,100 feet to 6,780 feet. The view offers a 180 degree panoramic view of Fort Collins. There are plenty of places on the summit to setup a picnic. In addition, I had cell phone service for most of the hike and on the summit. The subsequent video was taken from the summit during an autumn visit. As you will see, there is a limited view to the west because Arthur’s Rock is lower than the adjacent ridge.

In sum, this is a great hike because even though it is relatively short, it is comprised of an eclectic mix of scenery and varied landscapes that include open fields, forests, and exposed rock faces.

Primitive Backcountry Camping Site #1

After eating lunch, we hiked several hundred feet west along the Timber Trail (#3) to do some reconnaissance for future backcountry camping expeditions. A worker at the Visitor Center said that backcountry camping sites cost $8/night and are rarely used and, thus, reservations are not necessary. It is important to note that these campsites do not provide water, fire pits (so no fires, must use gas stove), electricity, or other car camping amenities. The following picture shows backcountry camping site #1. It lies right on the Timber Trail and, thus, is not very private. However, it does provide plenty of level ground for setting up tents.

Primitive Backcountry Camping Site #2

Backcountry camping site #2 is off the Timber Trail a good 200 feet, is very secluded, and provides a mildly obstructed view to the east. However, there is a limited amount of level ground. We have yet to see the remaining four backcountry camping sites.

Heading back towards to Arthur’s Rock and the parking lot from the Timber Trail produces a view of the western/backside of Arthur’s Rock.


3 thoughts on “Arthurs Rock Trail – Hiking in Lory State Park – Fort Collins, CO”

  1. Looks like tons of fun!! As a hiking newbie, I think it’ll take some time to work up to the more difficult hikes, though! But the scenery is just fantastic!Come on up to the Big Horns sometime! And while I really love the collapsible dog bowls, my dog is a pug, so I’m not confident that she can handle the hiking…although the added weight of carrying her would probably be good for me! LOL

  2. Just wanted to say thanks for this site! I hike with a baby on my back and a dog, so I really appreciate your notes about what’s doable — it can be hard to figure from the usual trail sites. 🙂 Love the clean design. Keep up the great work & happy hiking!

    1. PS — Two of my favorite new hikes: Kruger Rock (just before Estes) and Horsetooth Rock. Couldn’t get to the tippity top of Horsetooth with the carrier and a thunderstorm rolling in, but you can get far enough. 🙂 And Kruger Rock is amazing! Perfect distance, nice elevation gain, incredible views. Dogs okay on both.

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