With the sunflowers in full bloom, and the aspens beginning to light up the hills with their orange and yellow glow, right now is the perfect time to hit the trails! And why not make it a family adventure, pack a day bag, and make an afternoon of it?
Here are a few of our favorite kid-friendly hiking trails around Fort Collins!
Anywhere you drive in Fort Collins, you can spot the well known “W” of Horsetooth Rock. From the trailhead, many hikers begin the steep ascent up to the very top of the rock. However, for younger hikers, an alternate trail brings you just over a mile out, with a moderate climb, to the beautiful Horsetooth Waterfall. Take the lower trail to the bottom of the fall and its wading pool below, or climb to the top of the fall for a breathtaking view. Horsetooth Falls Trail offers the beauty of Horsetooth at a kid-friendly distance and climb. There is a daily park entrance fee, unless you have a Larimer County Park pass, which includes this park.
If you have driven along Taft Hill Road between Loveland and Fort Collins, then you’ve probably noticed the small trailhead and parking lot in between the cities. Coyote Ridge is a popular trail for runners and mountain bikers with its steep ascent (nearly 500 feet to the top ridge), and its connection to the Blue Sky Trail.
However, even with the climb, this trail holds wonder for younger hikers. With a moderate climb to the first ridge, it provides a bit of challenge, along with educational fun as hikers learn about the surrounding wildlife from signs along the trail. At one mile out, before the larger ascent up to the top, there is a small cabin, along with restrooms, perfect for a picnic destination. Just watch out for rattle snakes on this trail, and keep in mind that dogs are not allowed. Parking and entrance are free.
If you want to drive a little further outside of Fort Collins, try Lily Lake on the edge of of Estes Park. As soon as you pull into the parking lot, you’ll know you made a good choice. The trailhead greets hikers of all ages with a stunning backdrop of magnificent peaks, including 14,259 foot Long’s Peak, standing tall around Lily Lake.
Although it is a part of the Rocky Mountain National Park, Lily Lake is free to visit, including parking. The trail is a flat 1.4 miles around the lake; a great trek for the little hikers, and jogging strollers are allowed. However, leave the pup at home for this one, as dogs are not allowed.
Let’s Hit The Trails!
Fort Collins and surrounding areas boast some of the most beautiful hiking trails in our country, and many of them serve as perfect beginning hiking trails to get the kids out stretching their legs and breathing in the mountain air. Why not give them the Hiking Bug early on, and try out one of these three kid-friendly hiking trails around Fort Collins?