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Horsetooth Mountain Park Sampler Loop

 4.3 (18)
Trail Mapped Wrong?


13.1 Miles 21.1 Kilometers




2,093' 638 m


-2,085' -636 m



Avg Grade (3°)


Max Grade (15°)

6,878' 2,097 m


5,439' 1,658 m



All Clear 19 days ago
Dry History

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A long, steady climb to a series of thrilling descents over several scenic trails.

Casey Vavrina

Overview [Suggest Changes]

This 13-mile ride opens with a bit of a haul up paved roads and Horsetooth Rock's South Ridge Trail to access a series of thrilling downhill runs on Wathen Trail, Loggers, and Mill Creek Trail that eventually spit you out near Lory State Park's Arthur's Rock parking lot for a cool-down pedal back to the start of the ride.

Enjoy plenty of technical rock features, drops, and small jumps throughout this loop that will keep you coming back for more.
Features: -none- [Add/Remove]
Dogs: Leashed

Need to Know [Suggest Changes]

The loop begins (and ends) at the Soderberg Open Space parking lot. Be sure to pay for a day pass ($6) if you don't have an annual Larimer County parking pass.

Description [Suggest Changes]

From the southern end of the parking lot, enter the Inlet Bay Trail camping area. The trail rolls south through a number of campsites along the shore of the inlet, dumping you onto the campsite roads from time to time (signs point the way throughout).

Just after the last camp site (~one mile) and before the trail veers off to the left (due south) towards the Blue Sky parking lot, turn right onto the county road and ride up to the next intersection. Turn right and continue up the paved county road (be aware of traffic even though the road is heavily used by cyclists) until you arrive at the Horsetooth Mountain Park entrance.

Here, you find the South Ridge Trail by taking a left at the parking lot. The South Ridge Trail is a relatively long grind that climbs nearly to the foot of Horsetooth Rock. Fit riders will get a workout while less experienced riders will suffer a bit. Nevertheless, the trail provides spectacular views of the high plains, Fort Collins, Horsetooth Reservoir, the foothills, and various peaks of RMNP (Longs Peak being the most prominent). By the time you reach the Wathen Trail, you'll have climbed for nearly an hour, but the payoff begins here.

After a nice, scenic break atop the rocks near the Wathen Trail intersection, head right onto Wathen and enjoy a technical descent down rock features, occasional roots, small drops, and a few fun optional features. There is one intersection near the start, right after the fun begins (stay right). The trail ends in a small valley below Horsetooth rock at the intersection with the Spring Creek Trail. Take a left here and enjoy the beautiful views as you cruise for a few minutes to reach the Herrington Trail to the right.

You'll climb a short distance up Herrington to a ridge with more views of the surrounding area. Continue left (north) on Herrington along the ridge for a short distance until you end at the Towers road. Turn right here and head downhill for about 100 meters until you see the trail marker to the left that marks the continuation of Herrington Trail. This is another fantastic downhill section on tight singletrack with roots, a few tight switchbacks, and a few hops. After a final switchback, the trail smoothes out and merges into the Loggers trail.

Continue left (north) on Loggers and enjoy a super-charged descent down fast, rocky, root-strewn terrain followed by flat flowy sections and one or two short, punchy climbs.

The Loggers trail ends at the intersection with Mill Creek Trail. Continue straight here on Mill Creek and enjoy another series of challenging downhill sections featuring a few alternative drops and small jumps. Mill Creek eventually enters Lory State Park and descends a number of super fun water bars and rocky switchbacks to bottom out at the South Valley Trail.

You could turn right (south) here and head back to Soderberg, but I prefer to turn left instead toward the Arthur's Rock parking area. Take the next right for a brief traverse on the East Valley Trail to the top of the South Valley Trail Loop. This fantastically flowy descent down the east side of the valley is well worth the small amount of extra mileage. Keep heading south till you cross the boundary back into the Soderberg Open Space (make sure to watch for hikers and horses here).

Again, you could continue south back to the parking lot, but I always crave more and take the Sawmill Connector up a short distance to ride down the rock garden at the bottom of the Sawmill Trail. Play around at the rock garden and then finish down the Sawmill Trail. Turn right at the intersection with the Nomad Trail and follow it south till it meets Towers, where a quick left and right will get you back to the Soderburg Open Space parking lot.


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Your Check-Ins


Jun 15, 2018
Alex Mangum
Jun 2, 2018
Austin P
sick trails. lots of climbing that is rewarded by the amazing views. clean trails and all dry to shred! 10mi
Apr 27, 2018
Joseph Rodriguez
Apr 18, 2018
Elena Diaz
Bday ride
Apr 14, 2018
Adam Pavan
Mar 25, 2018
Patrick Burns
Horsetooth in a nutshell: relatively tight trails with poor sight lines = challenging place to ride blind or 'only occasionally'. Also fitness is a +
Mar 14, 2018
Bryce Maddy
Mar 11, 2018
Steven Coalwell

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Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 18 votes


  4.3 from 18 votes
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Dave Farmer
brevard, nc
Dave Farmer   brevard, nc
Really good ride. Just be aware that the initial 4.5 mile climb is almost all on paved or graded dirt roads. Certainly makes it easier to get there (and I wasn't complaining ! ), but if you're looking for something more exciting, now you know. The downhill is a hoot ! A mixture of all types of technical challenges and some flow stuff to boot. Good times ! Sep 2, 2017
Casey Vavrina
Fort Collins, CO
Casey Vavrina   Fort Collins, CO
To be fair, the South Ridge trail is a designated trail, not a road. It's just really wide. Anyway, most of the climbing is on it. Oct 14, 2017
Elena Diaz
Fort Collins, CO
Elena Diaz   Fort Collins, CO
AWESOME ride! Steady climb, fun down hill, and amazing views. Dec 8, 2017

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