Posted By: Jessica Quinn
Food, Fun and Fireworks Oh My! The 4th of July is one of the best holidays all year long... Great weather, Backyard BBQs, Friends and Family, Fireworks AND no gifting! Here in Fort Collins it is particularly special because of all the great Colorado outdoor activities. From hiking and camping to fishing and boating, Fort Collins is a feeding frenzy for 4th of July celebrators!
All of the planning can get pretty crazy and we often get questions about the festivities during this time of year. So just for you, we've compiled a list of common questions and the answers to them as well!
Q: WHAT SPECIAL EVENTS ARE HAPPENING FOR JULY 4TH?
A: One of the most popular Fort Collins traditions is the 4th of July Parade that heads straight down iconic Mountain Ave starting at 10am. It is perfect for the family and a great way to start off your 4th of July with LOTS of red, white, and blue.
The Old Timer's Baseball Game starts in City Park at 9:30am after the Firecracker 5k. If you like the historic feel of July 4th, don't miss this one. You can watch these old timers reliving their greatest memory on the baseball field...Can't get much more American than that!
Personally, my favorite event is the Old Fashioned 4th of July at the Avery House. You really feel like you've taken a step back in time watching the old-time performances, sipping lemonade in the yard and don't miss out on touring the Historic Avery House! 10am-1pm
Of course, you can't forget about Live Outdoor Music during the 4th of July because during summer, outdoor concerts is what we're all about! Check out the Ben and Jerry's FAC concert in Old Town Sq. where the kids are dancing and the adults are jammin'. If you're looking to stake a claim at City Park where you can enjoy Fireworks, enjoy the live music in the park from 4:15pm-9:30pm.
Q: WHERE CAN I SEE 4TH OF JULY FIREWORKS IN FORT COLLINS?
A: Each year, fireworks are launched from City Park at 9:30pm. Stake your claim in the open grassy areas of City Park, or find a bench around Sheldon Lake to watch the fireworks reflect against the rippling water. If you have decided to spend your day in Old Town, make sure to look up in the sky from your patio seat! Of course, if you know some people living in the elevated areas of Fort Collins (near Horsetooth Reservoir), try to acquire an invitation to their July 4th BBQ... Bring beer, it's pretty popular here.
Q: I FORGOT TO MAKE CAMPING RESERVATIONS... WHERE CAN WE GO?
A. Camp spots book up pretty fast around Fort Collins all summer long and especially during the Holiday weekends. But don't fret if you forgot to make your reservations, there are plenty of first-come first-serve camp sites that are just as beautiful as the rest! Head up to the Poudre Canyon and drive towards Pingree Park, Colorado State University's Mountain Campus. Turn left from the Poudre Canyon Hwy, cross the bridge and head up the long and winding dirt path...here you will find plenty of free sites with great views and recreation access.
If this is not you spot, head farther up the canyon to Cameron Pass, where you can find back country bliss and perfect serenity for your 4th of July camping trip!
Q: WHERE CAN I PLAY IN THE HORSETOOTH RESERVOIR?
A. I know where I'll be on the 4th of July and that's cooling off in the great Horsetooth Reservoir. Boating is extremely popular during this weekend and if you want to soar across this 6.6 mile reservoir, rent your boats or jet skis from the Inlet Bay Marina.
I prefer to try my hand out at the more casual water sports like Paddleboarding, Canoeing and just lounging at the Horsetooth Reservoir designated beach/swim area. Rent your Stand Up Paddleboard, or Canoe from the Inlet Bay Marina and head to a private cove to enjoy your day floating (Satanka Cove is a favorite). The designated swimming area is located on the northeast end of the reservoir and is perfect for catching some rays.
Q: WHAT ARE THE BEST DAY HIKES FOR JULY 4TH?
A. One of the best ways to spend a holiday weekend in Fort Collins is enjoying a beautiful hike where you feel on-top of the world. They say that you haven't lived in Fort Collins until you've completed the Horsetooth Rock Hike, so why not do it during your visit? This 5 mile round-trip hike to the top of iconic Rock will get your heart pumping but the final view is totally worth it. Get 360 degree views of the Northern Colorado plains and mountains.
Looking for something a little quicker? Try out Arthur's Rock in Lory State Park ($7 charge) where you can get excellent views and an invigorating hike on a smaller scale. This 3 mile roundtrip hike will take you through forested mountain sides and open prairies alike. My favorite thing about this hike is the multiple beautiful views of Horsetooth Reservoir and northern front range. This is the perfect hike for a quick morning recreation session before you Backyard BBQ.
Q: ARE THE BREWERIES AND MUSEUMS OPEN ON JULY 4TH?
A. While the Museum of Discovery is closed for the day, Fort Collins has tons of great family friendly options for the 4th of July. Make sure to check out all the special events like the Parade, Old Timer's Baseball Game, and the Old Fashioned 4th of July!
If you're looking for ways to explore good ol' Fort Collins without the celebrations, check out the Gardens on Spring Creek where the kiddos can explore and interact with nature and gardens. The kids love creating rivers in the channeled rock sculpture, wandering the paths of the secret rock garden. If you're looking to let your kids splash around, take them to Oak St. Plaza where they can splash through the sidewalk fountains, created by a local artist.
Who said the breweries were not a family-friendly place...and they're open on the 4th of July! Let the kids play some Rolle Bolle on the back porch of New Belgium or check out all the funky gadgets that hang inside the tap room. Odell Brewing Co. just opened up their HUMONGOUS backyard, which is perfect for the kiddos to romp and play. Regardless of how you choose to spend you 4th of July, the breweries are a great place to cool off, relax and play for the whole family.