Eagle’s Nest Open Space parking lot is located just outside Livermore, CO which is 30 minutes northwest of Fort Collins, CO via highway 287. It is a free park maintained as part of the Larimer County’s Parks and Open Land Areas. Leashed dogs, hikers, nordic walkers, horses, fishermen, and hunters are allowed on the trail but mountain bikes, motorized vehicles, rock climbers, and campers are not. The parking lot provides restrooms, free pet waste bags, and space for horse trailers but no water. Cell phone service was decent. The following Google Map only shows the portions of the trails I was able to identify using satellite mode.
Eagle’s Nest Open space is a 827 acre park with 5 miles of hiking trails. There is very little shade so sunscreen is highly recommended. An added benefit of this park is that it does not attract large crowds and, thus, it can make for a very peaceful hike or horseback ride. Particularly, we only encountered two sets of horseback riders in a 3 hour period. Horseback riders should make note that although the trails are great for riding, there are many spots where you need to dismount in order to pass through a gate.
The southeastern half of the 3-Bar loop trail is approximately 1.5 miles long with a rolling elevation change of ~300 feet, between 5,700 feet and 6000 feet. This tract keeps your attention because it twists along a ridge and, thus, provides scenic views from a myriad of angles. The following picture highlights Eagle’s Nest Rock where golden eagles have nested for over 100 years.
The OT (Oh-Tee) trail is a 1.8 mile loop with about ~200 feet in rolling elevation changes. It is only accessible from the 3-Bar trail’s southern tip just south of the North Fork Cache la Poudre River crossing. It is less rigorous than the 3-bar trail so the additional 1.8 miles should be considered as a fun extension. The subsequent picture shows Eagle’s Nest Rock and the adjacent ridge as seen from the south and looking northeast.
The following picture shows the western half of the OT trail. The quality and grade of the trail are consistent but the landscape and scenery are pleasantly heterogeneous.
The northwestern half of the 3-Bar loop trail is approximately 1.5 miles long with no elevation change until the end when it rises ~200 feet. It is a service road that runs through the valley of Eagle’s Nest Open Space. For the most part, this stretch is not very interesting because it is a significant distance from any scenery. Thus, you may want start and end your hike using the southeastern half of 3-Bar trail. Further, the final stretch is a steady incline so your other option is to start by going down the northwestern half of 3-Bar and returning on the southeastern half. Nordic walkers can enjoy this trail’s wider, flat terrain.