Can you say you’ve been to Fort Collins if you haven’t hiked to the top of Horsetooth Rock? Standing 7,256 feet high, Horsetooth Rock is the tallest and most recognized feature in Horsetooth Mountain Open Space. A hike up the rock, they say which resembles a horse’s tooth, is a moderate hike for the entire family to enjoy. This 5-mile route will take you through open grasslands and epic views. A daily fee to park and hike is $9. Local advice? Hike in the a.m. and then hop in the reservoir to cool off post-hike.
In the Poudre Canyon outside of Fort Collins, Greyrock is a moderate/difficult 7.1-mile round-trip adventure. Popular during the summer months, Greyrock is a loop or out-and-back, taking you through a beautiful meadow and a windy well-maintained trail. Once you hit the top at 7,513 feet, a lake and epic views greet you. Local advice? Follow the cairns to reach the summit as uneven footing and it requires scrambling to reach the top, and the route can get confusing to follow. Parking here is free in the lot across from the start of the trek. Get there early to get a spot, especially in the warmer months.
Black Lake | Rocky Mountain National Park
Living on the Front Range means a pretty historic national park is in our backyard, and that’s pretty neat. While there are lots of hikes to choose from in Rocky Mountain National Park, Black Lake comes highly recommended. A 9.6-mile round-trip trek, the hike to Black Lake is rated moderate/strenuous and has an elevation gain of around 1,400 feet. Beginning from the Glacier Gorge Trailhead, hikers in peak season should take the free shuttle in the park because of the popularity of Bear Lake Road. Local advice? Continue to the shelf above Black Lake to Frozen Lake, but start back down the trail before the afternoon storms roll in.
Lake Agnes Trail
A short but gorgeous hike in State Forest State Park, Lake Agnes is a great weekend hike for all levels. Best used between March and September, Lake Agnes is a quick 1.6 mile round-trip excursion. Along the well-maintained trail, you’ll pass historic Agnes Cabin, initially constructed in 1925. Further down the trail take in the view of Nokhu Crags, a bundle of craggy spires that look a lot likes rising towers. Located around 10,000 feet, Lake Agnes is stunning, even if the clouds are hovering. Heads up, it requires a cash fee for entry. Local advice? Pack a hammock or inflatable stand-up board to spend the afternoon having fun in the sun.
Hewlett Gulch Trail
Located in the Poudre Canyon, Hewlett Gulch is a great, all-levels hike with sweeping views on easy terrain. Total mileage is 8.2, but many do shorter out-and-backs. Popular, this is a trail you should get to early as the parking lot (free to use) fills up quick. Max elevation is around 6,700 feet, making this an excellent trail for those who suffer from altitude sickness. Local advice? Bring your pups as this trail allows dogs off-leash. The many river crossings are a great place for you, and your pups, to cool off when the summer sun comes bursting in.