Just a few miles from downtown Fort Collins, this ride offers up a great sampler of what the area has to offer. Horsetooth Mountain has enough elevation to challenge anyone, lower Lory State is full of fast singletrack, and both offer amazing views of Horsetooth Reservoir and the Fort Collins area.
$6 to park your car. Summer afternoons see frequent isolated lighting storms.
There are many different ways to ride this, with endless variations based on direction and trail choice. This is a great way to see a lot of it, but you should check the map to alter it for your personal taste and skill level.
Start by parking at the Blue Sky
parking lot (if you drove past the Canyon Grill you went to far). Ride back out to the road that you came in on and continue to the west up the hill.
After an easy 1 mile warm up on the road, turn right into Horsetooth Mountain Park. Take your only option out of the lot, South Ridge Trail
. South Ridge is a steady climb up an access road, enjoy the big views.
After about two miles you'll come to Audra Culver Trail
. You can continue on the easier South Ridge Trail
but the more technical Audra Culver is worth the extra sweat. You'll be rewarded with some great singletrack and an amazing view to the west.
Either way you'll eventually come to Wathen Trail
. Wathen is one of the best descents in the park. Fast and flowing, there are a few technical turns and rock sections to keep you on your toes. Enjoy, you've earned it!
Once you reach the bottom of Wathen, stay hard left and prepare yourself for the climb up Spring Creek Trail
. The first part of this climb is moderate singletrack and the second half has some steep sections and step-ups. This top portion is the most challenging part of the ride.
At the top of Spring Creek go straight across the access road (Towers
) and catch your breath at the top of Mill Creek Trail
. Mill Creek is roughly 1500' of descent through several different types of terrain. Expect large loose rocks, dark forest, a couple short steep climbs, sharp turns, and lots of water bars toward the end.
At the bottom of Mill Creek, stay left, and know that the remainder of the ride is easy singletrack, at least in comparison to what you have done. After a short distance you'll find yourself at one of the the Lory State parking lots. Turn right at the lot and you'll connect back up with the singletrack on the other side. Stay left at the first T and continue for 2.5 miles till you get to the Timber Trail
Stay left through the Timber Trail
lot untill you find singletrack again. After a hundred yards or so, stay right on Timber Trail
. This trail is a moderate climb with some great views of the park and reservoir.
When it appear that you have started to descend on Timber Trail
watch for an intersection and turn left on to Kimmons Trail
. Kimmons is an excellent descent with some rocky sections and lots of nice turns.
Once at the bottom of Kimmons Trail
, stay right. Your ride is not over but what remains is mostly smooth easy singletrack and path back to the car. The West Valley Trail
and South Valley Trail Loop
follow the base of the mountains to the furthest southern point of Lory State Park. From there stay headed south on Nomad Trail
, Swan Johnson, and Inlet Bay Trail
to get back to The Blue Sky
lot and your car.