In 2008, we hiked a lot of the trails along Colorado’s northern front range. Even though we do not own a dog, we observed each trail that we explored to determine which were dog friendly. The following were my top five hiking trails for dogs in Fort Collins. All of them offered free pet waste bags. Please read Leave No Trace – 3 Myths, Effects, and Tips for Outdoor Recreation to learn about the importance picking up dog feces. Click the following links to view maps, pictures, videos, and information about each of the trails.
1. Reservoir Ridge Natural Area – It had a 3.0 mile loop with a total elevation climb of 400 feet. It was my number one trail for dogs because of its close proximity to downtown and, thus, it was ideal for frequent visits. It had free parking and was located 15 minutes northwest of Fort Collins.
2. Eagle’s Nest Open Space – It was a 827 acre park with 5 miles of hiking trails. It was the place to go for an easy, quiet adventure since elevation gains and human interaction were minimal. Parking was free and located just outside Livermore, CO; which was 30 minutes northwest of Fort Collins via highway 287.
3. Arthur’s Rock Trail – It was a moderately difficult 1.7 mile hike with an elevation gain of 1,100 feet. In addition to being one of the best hikes in Fort Collins, it was ideal for dogs because it was not extreme in any way (i.e., length, elevation, terrain). The trailhead was located in Lory State Park which was 20-25 minutes west of downtown Fort Collins and which required a parking permit or day parking pass.
4. Gateway Natural Area – It had three dog friendly trails of varying lengths and difficulty. Like Eagle’s Nest Open Space, I had a very quiet experience with limited human contact. In addition, there was trout fishing in the North Fork Cache la Poudre River. It was located 15 miles northwest of Fort Collins in the Poudre Canyon and required a parking permit or day pass.
5. Cathy Fromme Prairie – It was a 2.5 mile paved concreted path that was mostly flat. It was more of a walk than a hike but its easy access and wide trails made it an excellent place to walk a dog and experience nature. Both free parking lots were located in the southwest corner of Fort Collins; with one on South Taft Hill Road and the other on South Shields Street.
Finally, if you visit Boulder be sure to read about their Voice and Sight Dog Tag Program. Related posts include:
- Best Fort Collins Hikes for Kids
- Mountain Biking Trails in Colorado (most of which are near Fort Collins)
- Larimer County Open Spaces