What is There to See in Fort Collins
The Attractions of Fort CollinsCredit: Visitfortcollins.com
With over 300 days of sunshine, mild temperatures, and beautiful views of the Rocky Mountains, the northern Colorado city of Fort Collins is a year-round travel destination. Whether its hiking, rafting, hanging out with Clydesdales, or taking in the sites and sounds of Old Town, the county seat of Larimer County offers unique attractions to keep an out-of-towner occupied for days. Here are some of the best Fort Collins has to offer.
Credit: New Belgium BreweryBrewery Tours
Fort Collins is a mecca for fans of micro-brewed beer and the companies which make them. Two of the more well-known are New Belgium Brewing and Odell Brewing Company. Both locations offer free tours of their Choice City breweries as well as a chance to sample some of their unique flavors.
Those interested in more mainstream fare can head to the Budweiser Brewery, which gives visitors a tour of their Fort Collins plant as well as free samples for those over 21. On the first Saturday of each month families are invited to hang out with the famous Budweiser Clydesdales, who reside at the brewery when not attending other events in the western United States. There is no fee for the tour or visit with the Clydesdales.
Horsetooth Reservoir and Horsetooth Mountain
Four miles west of the city center, both Horsetooth Reservoir and Horsetooth Mountain entice visitors with their natural beauty and wealth of activities. Those interested in water sports head up to Horsetooth Reservoir in the summer to swim, boat and fish in the cool, clear waters courtesy of the Rocky Mountain snow pack. During the rest of the year, the 2700-acre Horsetooth Mountain Open Space gives its visitors an opportunity to hike, bike and horseback ride its 29 miles of trails for a view of Horsetooth Falls and the Front Range of the Rockies. An entrance fee is required at both locations.
North and west of Fort Collins lies the Cache la Poudre River Canyon area. Featuring fascinating rock formations among forests of pines and aspens, its greatest attraction is the Cache la Poudre River. Designated as a national "Wild and Scenic" River, the Cache la Poudre provides visitors opportunities to fish, tube and whitewater raft their way down the rough and tumble waters which originate high in the Rockies. A location for year-round activity, 13 National Forest campgrounds dot the Poudre Canyon area along with miles of trails for hiking and biking in the warmer months and snowmobiling and cross-country skiing in the winter.
Part of the extensive Fort Collins park system, The Farm at Lee Martinez Park in an interactive educational experience for all family members. Attractions include hands-on animal experiences, including horse and pony rides, as well as agriculture demonstrations. A small admission fee is charged for access to The Farm.
Fort Collins Municipal Railway
From May through September, the Fort Collins Municipal Railway runs vintage streetcars along a 3 mile round-trip track from City Park to the downtown area. Along the way, the streetcar meanders through some of the oldest sections of the city containing homes of numerous architectural styles. A small fee is charged to hop on the Municipal Railway.
Anyone who has visited Disneyland and wandered along the storefronts of Main Street USA may see a similarity in Fort Collin's Old Town. This is because the theme park's iconic area was inspired by the Choice City's downtown district. Today, many of the shops, restaurants and bars in Old Town occupy the city's original buildings. Despite this, the city encourages visitors to take self-guided tours of such places as the 1903 Carnegie Library or the old Northern Hotel to immerse themselves in the past.
The Gardens on Spring Creek This 18-acre community botanic garden welcomes visitors to view its displays of plants suited to the weather conditions of the Front Range. Areas include a hands-on children's garden, an edible plant garden, and a rock garden comprised of native and non-native plants which have adapted to Colorado's climate. There is no admission to The Gardens, but donations are welcome.
Credit: Richard KellerRocky Mountain National Park A journey to Fort Collins wouldn't be complete without a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. The 90 minute drive from the city passes through the rocky cliffs of the Roosevelt National Forrest, parallels the Big Thompson River, and makes a stop in the mountain town of Estes Park before reaching the park entrance. Open year-round, the national park provides ample opportunities to hike, bike, camp, fish and just sit and stare at the magnificence of the Rockies and the Continental Divide.