Blue Sky Trail – Mountain Biking, Trail Running – Fort Collins, CO

The Blue Sky trail is a 5.5 mile corridor that connects Horsetooth Mountain Park to Coyote Ridge Natural Area and Devil’s Backbone Open Space. The primary activities are mountain biking and trail running. Horseback riding and hiking are also allowed but rock climbing is not. The following description is of a mountain bike ride that started at the Soderberg trailhead and headed south on the Blue Sky trail. The Soderberg trailhead is located 30 minutes from Fort Collins, Colorado and is inside Horsetooth Mountain Park. Horsetooth Mountain Park requires a parking fee. At the Soderberg trailhead, there is a water fountain and restrooms. Leashed dogs are allowed on Blue Sky trail but not on the trails in Rimrock Open Space or Coyote Ridge Natural Area. Cell phone service was strong at the trailhead but was not tested while on the trail. Finally, the Blue Sky trail can also be accessed from the trailheads at Coyote Ridge Natural Area and Devil’s Backbone Open Space but both require more rigorous mountain biking. The Blue Sky trail can be seen in the following Google Map as the blue line running down the center.

Inlet Bay Trail

From the Soderberg trailhead, the Inlet Bay trail is 1.2 miles of wide, smooth, and flat trail that provides a nice warm up for the more interesting Blue Sky trail.

Blue Sky Trail

The Blue Sky trail is 5.5 miles of twisty single track that hovers around an elevation of 5,500 feet.
The trail boasts stretches of curvy, rolling terrain and short bursts of incline as is seen in the following picture.
In the winter, the vegetation is not a factor but in the spring and summer it can grow across the trail provide for some unpleasant brush-ups with thorny plants.The subsequent picture shows a segment that is open and flat and, thus, it appropriately illustrates the fact that there is almost zero shade to be had.
The most pronounced climb is experienced at the section heading up towards the intersection with Rimrock Trail (which leads to Coyote Ridge Natural Area).
The subsequent picture was taken in June from a similar location and highlights the stark differences between winter and summer. The next picture shows the same ridge but was taken from a distance.

First intersection with Indian Summer Trail

The Indian Summer trail is horseshoe-shaped and intersects with Blue Sky on both ends of the horseshoe and, thus, can only be accessed from Blue Sky. For pictures, video, and description, please read the Indian Summer trail blog post. Continuing past the first intersection with Indian Summer, the Blue Sky trail levels off.
What’s more, it turns into a service road (temporarily) as can been seen in the following picture (which faces north). Therefore, it is more fun to mountain bike on Indian Summer instead of along this section of service road.

Second Intersection with Indian Summer Trail

After passing the second intersection with the Indian Summer trail, the trail returns to the eastern ridge line and heads up towards to the Laughing Horse Loop trail (ridge line seen in background).
The following picture shows where we turned around which was a tricky staircase that leads up towards the Laughing Horse Loop trail.
In sum, Blue Sky trail is pure fun (i.e., no dismounts or other headaches) and, thus, it is a must-do for mountain bikers and trail runners of all skills levels. It contains a fun and challenging fusion of technical and non-technical sections that can be described as curvy, fast rolling, and moderately rocky. The only downside is the dominance that the sun can impose on passersby in the middle of the day. Read Colorado mountain biking trails to see a list of other places to explore.


4 thoughts on “Blue Sky Trail – Mountain Biking, Trail Running – Fort Collins, CO”

  1. yes, I rode a single speed on it a couple of weeks ago and plan to ride again next week. the climb near the intersection with Rimrock Trail is tough on a single speed; especially when riding north. Indian Summer is also doable on a single speed but I recommend riding it counter-clockwise to reduce the incline grade.

  2. Later fall and early winter is a Great time of year to do this trail – need to be cautious of rattlesnakes between July – September.

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