Lory State Park, 12 miles west of Fort Collins, straddles the transition zone from prairie to peak. The 2,492-acre park, established in 1967, embraces three life zones—prairie grasslands, mountain scrub, and ponderosa pine woodlands. The dog-friendly park offers 26 miles of hiking trails. One of the best climbs is located two miles to the summit of Arthur’s Rock, a popular rock climbing area. Other visitors picnic, ride horses, camp at six backcountry sites, ride mountain bikes, fish at Horsetooth Reservoir, and play volleyball at the Timber Group Picnic Area.
- Lory offers fun rock climbing on numerous boulders and on Arthur’s Rock, a bulging granite outcrop. Ask at the visitor’s center to check out a current climbing and bouldering guide. Many routes are bolted sport climbs. Bring a rack, rope, and crash pad for high adventure.
- Bring your pouch to the park, one of the few dog-friendly state parks in Colorado. Make sure they’re on a six-foot or shorter leash, and bring plastic bags to pick up and properly dispose of doggie waste.
- The park’s a great local picnic spot with many picnic grounds scattered around. Look for covered or tree-shaded sites in summer, and BBQ grills for charcoal fires. There are also three group picnic areas for family reunions.
- The park has six backcountry campsites. Bring a pack, tent, and food and enjoy some peace and quiet in the mountains.
Recommended season(s): Year round.
—Stewart M. Green