Fossil Creek Park

Fossil Creek Park. Photo Credit: Stewart M Green – OutThere Colorado.

Fossil Creek Park, located at 5821 Lemay Avenue in southern Fort Collins, is a popular city park with loads of outdoor activities and fun for everyone. This 99-acre urban escape, established in 2003, is a play paradise for kids with the Tar Pits Play Area, Adventure Island, and an interactive water feature in summer. The park has two lighted basketball courts, five lighted tennis courts, an inline roller hockey rink, a skate park, a dog park, horseshoe pits, multi-purpose grass fields for soccer and football, two lighted ball fields, a grassy knoll with views, picnic shelters, and restrooms. Portner Reservoir, dammed Fossil Creek, and two other small lakes are on the west side of the park. Fossil Creek Park Pavilion, with over 3,000 square feet of sheltered space for picnics, receptions, and gatherings is an artistically designed pavilion adjacent to the lake. More than a mile of trails thread through the park, including part of five-mile-long Fossil Creek Trail. A large parking lot on Lemay Avenue provides access to most of the park’s features, while another large lot on the northwest side off Fossil Creek Parkway accesses the pavilion and ball fields.

Pro Tips

  • Fossil Creek Park is one of the best parks in Fort Collins for kids. They love it! It’s an awesome play place with its Tarpits Play Area, which includes a life-size giant woolly mammoth. In fact, when the park was being built the remains of a mammoth were found at the playground site. There’s also lots of unique play equipment and apparatus for kids of all ages, including a big yellow slide. The multi-tiered play area includes the fossil climbing wall, a perfect eight-foot-high wall with lots of fossil handholds and footholds for little climbers to grab. At the top of the wall is a shady picnic pavilion for a picnic lunch that overlooks the tar pit.
  • Adventure Island is a small spit of land between two lakes on the west side of the park. It’s an unstructured play area that’s reached by two strange bridges, including a huge hollowed-out log. On the island is a dome-shaped hut of tusks for adventurous kids to plot their adventures, including digging in dirt, finding bugs, watching ducks and geese, splashing in water, and finding twigs. Kid-sized paths explore this jungle of willows and sumacs. It’s best to access it from the west parking area off Fossil Creek Parkway.
  • The skate course on the east side of the park is a popular hangout for teens and young adults. Local skateboarders helped design this course which offers skateboarding on features and elements similar to those found at public spaces around Fort Collins. These include ramps, rails, steps, and platforms similar to those found at a local municipal building. It’s a great idea to always wear a helmet when skating since it’s dangerous and is done at your own risk.
  • The big grassy knoll above the playground at Fossil Creek Park is one of the best and most accessible places in Fort Collins to have a big sledding adventure after a heavy winter snowfall. The slope is steep and long, letting sledders get lots of speed without running into obstacles like trees, walls, and boulders.
  • Recommended season(s): Year-round.

    —Stewart M. Green

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