Posted By: Jessica Quinn
1. Snowshoeing (Rentals Available)
Fort Collins offers great snowshoeing in and around town and is a great way to enjoy some of the best hiking areas during the winter around Horsetooth Reservoir and in the Poudre Canyon. Lory State Park, located just west of Fort Collins, offers an abundant amount of trails with beautiful views and ranging difficulty levels. Trails are open year round and are open to Hiking, Snowshoeing, and Cross Country Skiing. Horsetooth Mountain Open Space is one of Fort Collin’s greatest outdoor playgrounds and it is open year round as well. Choose from multiple different trails ranging in difficulty level and enjoy the snowy vistas. The Poudre Canyon offers excellent winter recreation even when there is no snow on the ground in Fort Collins. Enjoy beautiful views of the backcountry blanketed by snow. Following are some favorite snowshoeing trails in the canyon:
Little Beaver Creek Trail: Located in the Poudre Canyon this trail is great for early season snow and is moderate in skill level. It is 2 miles long, out-and-back and gains 1,500 ft in elevation.
Big South Trail: This 6 miles trail is located within the upper reaches of the Poudre Canyon and offers stunning views of frozen waterfalls. It is an out-and-back trail with moderate difficulty and gains 560ft in elevation
Blue Lake: As one of the most popular snowshoeing spots in the upper reaches of Poudre Canyon, this trail offers an easier short, round-trip excursions or a more challenging, all-day adventure. This trail is 4.75 miles one-way and offers beautiful views of Blue Lake surrounded by towering mountains.
Skiing (Rentals Available)
Cross Country Skiing in Fort Collins is a popular activity and with multiple trail options ranging in difficulty one can make a whole vacation experiencing all of them. City Park Nine Golf Course, located in the center of Fort Collins, offers beginner cross-country skiing perfect for a quick jaunt. Aditionally, Lory State Park and Horsetooth Mountain Open Space offer excellent trails for cross-country skiing of all levels. Following are some local's favorite cross-country skiing trails for those looking for a backcountry adventure:
Meadows Trail to Zimmerman Lake: Offering two cross-country skiing trails to Zimmerman Lake, this excursion is considered difficult. Choose from a 1.5 mile steep trail or a 9 mile more demanding trail. The trail goes through Neota Wilderness area and gains an elevation of 1,970 ft.
Zimmerman Lake Loop Trail: This 3.1 mile trail in the Upper Poudre Canyon is a more difficult cross-country skiing trail but one of the most popular because it tends to have great late season snow and offers some good downhill areas. Choose from multiple different trail heads and runs along the Never Summer Mountain Range.
3. Sledding (Requires
A great family activity during snowy days in Fort Collins is sledding. There are several amazing sledding hills around Fort Collins that can provide fun for all ages during the winter. The EPIC Center, Hughes Stadium and Coyote Ridge Natural Area all offer great downhills.
Skating (Requires experience and personal gear)
Fort Collins brings you back to the time of tying up your laces and ice-skating on a lake. Enjoy natural ice-skating at City Park, where a safe skating area is designated during those extra chilly days.
Fishing (Requires experience and personal gear)
During cold Fort Collins days it is a common site to see ice-fishers atop the thick icecap over Sheldon Lake in City Park. Bundle up and reel em’ in during the winter in Fort Collins.
Get your backcountry recreation rental before you head out to your winter recreation adventure. Check out our local outfitter Jax Mercantile for all your rental needs.
*Dependent on snow levels in Fort Collins.