Hiking the ‘Rocks’ of Fort Collins – Horsetooth and Arthur’s

If you live here, these are two must-do hikes. Every year. Some years more than once. Each trek leads uphill to the top of an iconic landmark visible from the town below.

Arthur’s Rock is located in Lory State Park, and Horsetooth Rock is in Horsetooth Mountain Open Space. The two areas create a contiguous natural area with a combined total of 5,300 acres and 55 miles of trails. The lesser known Soderberg Trail, which we hiked this spring for the first time, is one option for a connector trail.

Arthur’s Rock – 6,780′ elevation

Carol has hiked Arthur’s Rock twice this year (so far!) – the first time solo in May, and the second time with brother-in-law Mark and niece Amy when they came for a visit in early July. It’s a steady uphill climb but not too long.

Beautiful views along the way.

Gorgeous views at the top looking east. You can see for miles and miles.

And here are a few photos from the top just for fun.

Arthur’s Rock is always a nice hike, but it was even better with friends!

Horsetooth Rock – 7,259′ elevation

The Horsetooth Rock hike is a little longer than the trek to Arthur’s Rock with more elevation gain – a good cardio workout with pretty views. And it was another solo hike for Carol this time around.

The hike up features views to the south and east.

Approaching the top, there’s a good view of the horse’s “teeth.”

A short rock scramble at the end of the trail leads to the tippy top.

From the top, the views to the west extend all the way to Rocky Mountain National Park.

A different route on the way down provides different views than the hike up.

Horsetooth Rock is likely the most popular trail in the Fort Collins area, or certainly in the top five. And it’s worth the effort! However, go on a weekday if you can, because parking at the trailhead is limited.

Soderberg Trail

The Soderberg Trail offers multiple connections to the extensive network of trails crisscrossing Horsetooth Open Space and Lory State Park. For our hike in early May, we opted for the Shoreline and South Valley Loop trails, which meander through the valley between Horsetooth Reservoir to the east and the foothills to the west.

There were log piles, log ramps, tiny log cabins complete with doors and windows, miniature picnic tables, and more.

I was curious enough to do a little research afterwards and learned that Lory has an equestrian cross country course. The structures are jumps, with heights ranging from 24 to 39 inches. But unfortunately, no horses the day of our visit.

And finally, the photos below represent my best efforts to share a few of the many varieties of wildflowers from all of these hikes – Arthur’s Rock, Horsetooth Rock, and along the Soderberg trail.

Enjoy, and I’ll see you again in a few days to share more pandemic-inspired hiking adventures!

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1 comment

  1. So good and inspiring!

    Sent from Marlene Rupp


    Liked by 1 person

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