Fort Collins – Coyote Ridge Trail
After travelling for 2 weeks and then catching a cold for 1 week, I needed to hike an easy trail to get back into hiking. When heading to Lory State Park and Greyrock Mountain around Fort Collins previously, we drove by the Coyote Ridge Natural Area trailhead and became curious as to what the trail there is like. Since it is an easy 4.2 mile hike, and that fit the bill for the type of hike we were looking for, we took the opportunity to check it out.
It should be noted that there are coyotes in the area and in the summertime rattlesnakes are often sighted along this trail.
The Coyote Ridge Natural Area trailhead is easy to see on the Taft Hill Road, and is located about halfway between Fort Collins and Loveland. There is plenty of space for parking. While there is no outhouse at the parking lot, there is one if you hike 1 mile in. The trail is quite straightforward and obvious the whole way. With only about 500 ft elevation gain, it’s a good choice for a casual hike.
We arrived close to midday. It was clear that Coyote Ridge Trail is a popular choice, and likely a go-to trail for local hikers, runners, and mountain bikers. We even saw a few horses/horseback riders along the way.
The first mile of the hike heads along a straight path –
With one bend that also leads you straight north for a bit –
Especially during this first part of the trail we saw a lot of prairie dogs and prairie dog holes in the ground around the trail.
Views Along the Way
Closer to a mile in, you get closer to the hills –
And pass by some –
And then climb up –
This entire area used to be seabed. It is quite apparent when the trail is wet, as silt-like mud attaches to your boots. There are placards along the trail that talk about some of the fossils they found in the shale here.
The best part of the hike was the view at the end of the trail, which is also at the summit of the ridge line, looking out toward another ridge, the Rocky Mountains, Indian Peaks, Boulder mountains, and more beyond.
If you want to extend the milage of your hike to 6.6 miles, you can continue from this point along Rim Rock Trail. It takes you to the second ridge beyond the valley.
The Return Journey
The perspective of the hills on the way back is also interesting –
Recommended as an Easy Hike
As a 4.2-mile-long easy trail, Coyote Ridge Trail is a good option for a family-friendly or casual hike if you are located near Fort Collins or Loveland. I’m glad that we had the opportunity to explore this new area.