Next time you’re visiting Fort Collins, know that the hike to Horsetooth Rock is worth adding to the list. At approximately 5 miles round trip with moderate elevation gains, this out-and-back hike will take you past beautiful terrain, while showing off great views of Fort Collins and the Rocky Mountains.

A view from the top of Horsetooth Rock. Photo Credit: Spencer McKee
A view from the top of Horsetooth Rock. Find the hiker for a sense of scale. Photo Credit: Spencer McKee

As soon as the trail starts, so does the uphill grind. The start of the trail winds through grassy hillsides, transitioning to a forest, and ending with rock scrambling that ranges from beginner to expert. In total, you’ll gain around 1,500 feet of elevation during the hike, almost all of which is accompanied by a stunning view.

Horsetooth Rock Spencer McKee
Kimberly Saavedra heads down from Horsetooth Rock amid beautiful views of Fort Collins. As you can see, this trail is well maintained. Photo Credit: Spencer McKee

Several things make this trail great for hikers. First, it’s very well-marked. There are a lot of different trails at this open space, but it’s very easy to know which trail you’re on at various junctions. It should also be noted that this trail is well-maintained. Don’t complain about the parking fee – it’s easy to see that money is being spent to keep this park one of the premiere outdoor recreation hubspots for the region.

Be warned – this trail is steep in sections and you’ll be in direct sunlight for a lot of it. Make sure you bring plenty of water. Dogs are allowed, but they must be leashed. Make sure to bring them plenty of water, too. Read more about the trail here.

If you’re looking to extend your adventure, check out the nearby Horsetooth Falls. It’s a stunning free-falling waterfall that’s a short distance away down a different trail found near the same parking lot that the Horsetooth Rock hike starts in.

Horsetooth Falls Spencer McKee
Horsetooth Falls. Photo Credit: Spencer McKee.

Read more about the Horsetooth Falls hike here.

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