Fort Collins – Arthur’s Rock Loop at Lory State Park

Hiking Arthur’s Rock Loop at Charles A. Lory State Park

On New Year’s Day we went on a hike to Arthur’s Rock in Lory State Park, just outside of Fort Collins. My husband had work the next day, so we thought it would be a good opportunity to explore a moderate trail in a new park.

As with other Colorado State Parks, the entrance fee for the day is $8. There is a ranger station at the entrance to the park where you can pay the fee. You can find out more information about passes and fees on the Colorado Parks & Wildlife website.

Lory State Park offers many activities, including – hiking, backcountry camping, mountain biking, boating, fishing, horseback riding, hunting, and rock climbing.

In total, there are 26 miles of hiking trails at Lory State Park.

The Hike

The Arthur’s Rock – Howard Trail loop at Lory State Park is 4.2 miles long with 1,233 ft elevation gain. The path is relatively straightforward and the moderate climb offers great views of Horsetooth Reservoir and Fort Collins below.

The parking lot at Arthur’s Rock Trailhead has restrooms.

Starting Out

From Arthur’s Rock Trailhead, you hike up a gulch. After a few switchbacks, you start to see Horsetooth Reservoir –

Arthur's Rock Trail Horsetooth Reservoir

Along the 1.5 mile hike along Arthur’s Rock Trail to the top of the mountain, you see the trail’s namesake –

Arthur's Rock Trail

We needed microspikes from the start of the trail for a while, but not all the way to the summit. In winter, areas that are shaded due to the surrounding mountains tend to have packed down snow that doesn’t melt easily.

Views on Arthur’s Rock Trail

Before you hit a viewpoint at 1 mile in to the hike, you go up a series of switchbacks, which provide a good view –

Arthur's Rock Trail Horsetooth Reservoir

Viewpoint, 1 mile into the trail, looking out at Horsetooth Reservoir –

Arthur's Rock Trail Horsetooth Reservoir viewpoint

View from Arthur’s Rock

Another half mile up from the first viewpoint, you reach Arthur’s Rock summit. There is a bit of a rock scramble to get to the top.

The view from the summit –

Arthur's Rock summit view Horsetooth Reservoir

Howard Trail

If you want to do a loop hike instead of an out-and-back hike, after coming down the rock scramble, you veer right. After only 0.1 miles you reach the junction with Howard Trail and Timber Trail. For a 4.2 mile hike, like we did, you turn left onto Howard Trail. If you want to do a longer loop hike, you can turn right onto Timber Trail.

Actually, Howard Trail was my favorite part of the hike.

One part I loved about Howard Trail was the snowy forest we walked through –

Howard Trail forest Lory State Park

The other is that the views on Howard Trail are arguably even better than those from Arthur’s Rock summit –

Howard Trail Lory State Park Horsetooth Reservoir

Views of the park from a bit further down the trail –

Howard Trail Lory State Park views

Recommended as a Moderate Hike

The moderate 4.2 mile hike to Arthur’s Rock that loops back along Howard Trail in Lory State Park just outside of Fort Collins provides excellent views of the area, particularly of Horsetooth Reservoir. In winter, microspikes are recommended for traction on parts of the trail that are shady and packed with snow. If you haven’t done much hiking in the Fort Collins area, this trail and others in Lory State Park are a great way to see what the area has to offer.


  1. Pingback: Fort Collins – Coyote Ridge Trail – Takahashi Outdoors

  2. Pingback: Longmont – Little Thompson Overlook & Rabbit Mountain Loop – Takahashi Outdoors

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top