Hiking at Lory State Park Near Fort Collins, Colorado
Last January I decided to take advantage of an unseasonably warm winter day and take a hike at Lory State Park. The park sits between the foothills of the Rockies and the Horsetooth Reservoir, just west of Fort Collins, Colorado. It has twenty-six miles of hiking trails, picnic areas, restrooms, an equestrian course, a mountain bike track, and backcountry camping. There is a fee to enter the park. It's $4 for individuals or $9 per vehicle.
Arthur's Rock Trail
My plan was to hike up to Arthur's Rock, a 6,780 foot summit in the park with a great view of the Horsetooth Reservoir and the Front Range mountains. Shortly after starting up the 1.7 mile trail, I noticed it was covered with a mix of ice, melting, snow, and mud. Although it was about sixty degrees, the trail was shaded by trees and large rock formations not allowing the ground to dry out. Not my favorite hiking conditions. I decided to save Arthur's Rock for another day and take a more leisurely and drier path.
I chose to hike the Shoreline Trail. It was dry like I'd hoped. The Shoreline Trail can be reached from the same parking lot as the Arthur's Rock Trail. The path is only about a mile long with little elevation change. The Shoreline Trail starts in a grassy meadow, winds through red sandstone hogbacks, then down to the shore of Horsetooth Reservoir. To the west hikers can see Arthur's Rock and to the east there are nice views of the six mile long reservoir. The trail ends at Horsetooth's rocky and sandy shoreline where I skipped a few stones and snapped a few pictures. After following the shoreline for a little, I headed back to the trailhead.
On the way out of the park I stopped to check out the Waterfall Trail. The trail starts behind a pavilion on the west side of the road near the park entrance. The short, easy, path goes over a couple foot bridges and passes a series of little waterfalls. The Lory State Park website says that the waterfalls only flow in Spring and early Summer, but I got lucky and the water was flowing when I visited. I'm assuming due to the warm temperature and melting snow. I'm sure this trail would be cool and refreshing in the Summer, but it was muddy, icy, cold, and shaded when I was there. Despite the conditions, it was still pretty and I'm glad I went that day.
I'm hoping to return to Lory State Park soon to tackle my original goal, hiking the Arthur's Rock Trail.
Have you ever visited Lory State Park? Did you make it to the top of Arthur's Rock?