6 top-notch trails near campus

A big perk of attending CSU is having a variety of natural wonders right in your backyard. Your outdoor adventure options are practically uncountable thanks to local destinations like the Rocky Mountain foothills, Lory State Park, and Horsetooth Reservoir.

With so many hiking and biking options, it can be difficult to sort out where to begin. So we’ve put together a local trail list to help you get out and explore without having to travel too far from campus.

Browse the NoCo trail map to find even more local routes and check trail conditions.

#1: Mason Trail

Blog Header: Mason Trail

You won’t have to go far from campus to catch the Mason Trail. Running north to south through campus alongside the MAX bus route, this paved and mostly flat path continues well past Fort Collins. It serves as a connector to three major east-to-west trails throughout town, including Spring Creek trail.

Use it to catch the bus, on your daily commute, or for a nice leisurely bike, walk, or run.

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Distance from campus: 0 miles
Hike or bike: Flat, paved surface. Best for biking, walking, or running.
Length of trail: 4+ miles
Ease: Easy
Cost: Free

#2: Poudre Trail

Blog Header: Poudre Trail

Run or bike alongside the Cache La Poudre river as it winds through the natural areas of Fort Collins. The path offers beautiful scenery and many opportunities for additional recreational options like tubing and fishing.

The trail winds throughout and north of Fort Collins and connects to other trails, like Spring Creek. It offers many connections and parking options along the trail.

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Distance from campus: 1.5 miles
Hike or bike: Flat, paved surface. Best for biking, walking, or running.
Length of trail: Up to 12 miles.
Ease: Easy
Cost: Free

#3: Spring Creek Trail

Blog Header: Spring Creek Trail

A popular paved path for bikers and runners and a great connector to the Horsetooth Reservoir area, Spring Creek Trail runs east to west through town, ending at Pineridge Natural Area. It also intersects with Mason Trail, allowing students to catch it directly from campus by following Mason Trail south.

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Distance from campus: 1.2 miles
Hike or bike: Flat, paved surface. Best for biking, walking, or running.
Length of trail: Up to 8 miles.
Ease: Easy
Cost: Free

#4: Maxwell Natural Area

Blog Header: Maxwell Natural Area

Located on the east side of the Horsetooth Reservoir and home to our famous painted ‘A’, Maxwell Natural Area is utilized often by runners, hikers, and bikers alike.

Maxwell’s trails not only offer direct access to the reservoir and Foothills Trail, but also provide more of a challenge, thanks to a steady incline up the foothills. Mountain bikers should especially be equipped to face a tough course.

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Distance from campus: 3.6 miles
Hike or bike: Both
Length of trail: 1.6 miles
Ease: Moderate to difficult due to incline.
Cost: Free parking at base. There is a $7 charge to park along Horsetooth Reservoir.

#5: Pineridge Natural Area

Blog Header: Pineridge Natural Area

One of the most popular natural areas in Fort Collins and a hit with dog owners, Pineridge is located on the southeast side of Horsetooth Reservoir near the Horsetooth Dog Park at Spring Canyon Park. It offers a variety of hiking and biking options, along with a large parking area.

The ground can be loose at times, so be sure to have proper equipment when biking or hiking.

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Distance from campus: 3.9 miles
Hike or bike: Both
Length of trail: Up to 3 miles.
Ease: Moderate due to incline.
Cost: Free parking at Spring Creek Park.

#6: Reservoir Ridge Natural Area

Blog Header: Reservoir Ridge Natural Area

If solitude is what you’re looking for, check out Reservoir Ridge. Located on the north side of Horsetooth Reservoir, this large, quiet natural area offers a variety of trails to hike or bike, as well as a beautiful overlook at the top of the ridge.

Trails vary from easy-to-moderate difficulty, and include popular scenic options like North Loop trail, which winds along the side of Horsetooth Reservoir.

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Distance from campus: 6.5 miles
Hike or bike: Both
Length of trail: Up to 3 miles.
Ease: Easy to moderate
Cost: Free parking at base. There is a $7 charge to park along Horsetooth Reservoir.

There's more to explore

Find more local trail options and check trail conditions via the NoCo Trail Report.

TRAIL REPORT