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Fort Collins - North Central Colorado

Includes LaPorte, Wellington, Windsor

Experience Fort Collins, LaPorte, Wellington, and Windsor, Colorado

In the early 1800s, French fur trappers discovered the rich bounty of North central Colorado. In the winter of 1836, a group of trappers buried gun powder next to a river for safe keeping until the following spring. The stream became known as Cache La Poudre River (pronounced "Pooder") for the French words "hide" and "powder." Today, that beautiful river flows out of the mountains and runs through the middle of Fort Collins.

Aerial view of Fort Collins, Colorado
Fort Collins Sits at the Base of the Rocky Mountains
Bridge over the Cache la Poudre River in Fort Collins, Colorado
The Cache la Poudre River Cuts Through Fort Collins
 

Fort Collins is at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in north central Colorado. Its Old Town historic district has homes dating back to the 1800s, a vintage trolley, specialty shops and restaurants. The city is home to the most micro-breweries in the state (20 craft breweries), each with its own distinctive style, including one of the world's largest operations, Anheuser-Busch. Fort Collins is a growing city with a small-town feel, perfect for any getaway.

The petite town of LaPorte is along the Cache la Poudre River and is 6 miles northwest of Fort Collins. Lions Open Space is a day-use park along the Cache River with a picnic area and trail system for hiking and biking. Pleasant Valley Trail is paved and winds along the Poudre River and a Frisbee golf course, ending at Watson Lake in Bellvue.

An outdoor enthusiast's dream, Wellington, Colorado offers world-class trout fishing, pristine golf courses and miles of mountain biking, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and hiking trails. It has convenient access to I-25 and is near Soapstone Natural Prairie Area with a Bison herd. Old Town Fort Collins is only a 10 minute drive.

The Boardwalk Park Museum in Windsor, Colorado
Visit The Boardwalk Park Museum in Windsor, Colorado
 

In 1890 the Greeley/Salt Lake Pacific Railroad laid 85 miles of track to transport the sugar beets grown in Windsor by German immigrants. Agriculture has a rich history here, and today Windsor's quiet downtown is bustling with upscale restaurant, modern boutiques and a coffeehouse. Windsor Lake offers they laid back life-style of fishing, hiking, boating, and bird watching. The Boardwalk Park Museum includes Windsor's original 1882 train depot complete with caboose and freight car, the Whitehall Schoolhouse with teacher quarters, German-Russian farmhouse with summer kitchen, a beet shack and early 20th century Chapel. Windor is on the East side of I-25 and 30 minutes from downtown Fort Collins.

Horsetooth Mountain Park, a few miles west, provides a mountain playground full of trails (29 miles) for hikers, bikers and horseback riders. Climb to the top of Horsetooth Rock for an expansive 360 degree view of the Front Range.

Horsetooth Reservoir is a destination with fishing, stand up paddle boarding, boating, picnicking, sailing, swimming, scuba diving, rock climbing, and water skiing.

Lory State Park is best known for trails that take you to wildflowers, butterflies, and Arthur's Rock. The park is home to over 84 different wildflowers and 100 species of butterflies. Arthur's Rock Trail is just under three miles and is designated for hikers only. Shoreline Trail is 2 miles along Horsetooth Reservoir and is multi-use for hikers, bikers, and horses.

Boat during sunset in Lake near Wellington, Colorado
Beautiful Lake Sunset in Wellington, Colorado
Bison with calf at Soapstone Prairie Natural Area in Colorado
Fantastic Wildlife Viewing at Soapstone Prairie Natural Area
 

In the remote South Platte River basin of north central Colorado Pawnee National Grassland is 35 miles east of Fort Collins. This sea of grass and sky was once packed with hopeful frontier families foraging westward in humble wagons. Within the 30-by-60 mile area a wide range of wildlife including numerous raptor species, pronghorn, mule deer, coyote, and swift fox calls these grasslands home. However it's claim to fame is a renowned birding destination: Lark bunting, mountain plover, burrowing owl, ruddy ducks American advocets, Bonapart's gulls, and horned larks have all been spotted.

See Bison (FKA Buffalo): In November of 2015 the Laramie Foothills Bison Conservation Herd, a genetically pure Bison with a Yellowstone bloodline, was reintroduced to the Soapstone Prairie Natural Area. It had been more than 150 years since Bison roamed Colorado's prairie. From Fort Collins drive north 30 miles, near the Colorado Wyoming border, on County Road 15. This magnificent bison herd wanders within a 1,000 acre fenced area. Their pasture is open for visitors viewing from March through November. While in the area be sure to stop at the Lindenmeier Archaeological Site, a National Historic Landmark, dating to the end of the Pleistocene epoch, Ice Age, in northern Larimer County. Park in the North Parking Lot to see the Lindenmeier Archaeological Site and to enjoy a 3 mile hike on the Towhee Loop. The loop is for hikers only, it is easy to moderate with expansive views, a variety of birds and the occasional Mule Deer; it's a 3 mile trek about an hour and a half.

There are two scenic Byways!

Watch for bighorn sheep hanging out of the steep canyon walls as you drive the Cache la Poudre-North Park Scenic Byway that follows the National Wild and Scenic River. This historic route from Fort Collins in the East, to Walden in the West, it provides access to the northern part of Rocky Mountain National Park.

This byway retraces old Native American and pioneer trails on Colorado's north central prairies. The Pawnee Pioneer Trails Scenic and Historic Byway leads you through Colorado's expansive grasslands. Explorers and settlers could hardly believe their eyes when looking upon the Great Plains with large herds of buffalo (bison), antelope, and deer; and then looking westward, only be more awe-stoke by the Rocky Mountains reaching for the heavens. This is a moment every Colorado vacationer should experience.

Cache la Poudre River's rapids are home to countless whitewater rafters and kayakers. Some areas of the river are "Wild Trout" sections where bait fishing is not allowed.

Fort Collins, LaPorte, Wellington, and Windsor, Colorado Driving Directions and Location

Fort Collins is at northern edge of Colorado's Front Range, 30 miles south of the Colorado-Wyoming border off I-25. Denver International Airport is an 80 mile drive whether you drive the Toll-Road E470 or take I-70 to I-25. There are two routes to Rocky Mountain National Park: Highway 34 is the most direct route, and will reopen in late May 2018 with paving projects continuing through summer - expect delays; or drive Highway 287 to Longmont and take Highway 66 to Lyons and then Highway 36 into Estes Park.

Commercial air travel accommodations are handled by Denver International Airport. Please contact your preferred travel agent or airline for flight arrangements. Grand Lake is 130 miles west of Denver International Airport.

Fort Collins is near: Longmont, Loveland, Poudre River Canyon & Red Feather Lakes

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Premium Fort Collins Businesses

RV World LLC -- Sales, Service, Rentals  Web page link icon
Discover the WORLD in an RV. Pet-friendly RENTALS. Winter rates! In Fort Collins serving Loveland and northern Colorado. Personalized service to get you on the road. SALES: Travel Trailers, RVs, 5th Wheels.

RV Services, Sales, Rentals and Information 



Featured Fort Collins Businesses

Archer's Poudre River Resort, Cabins, Camping, Store  Web page link icon Photos on page icon
Aspen grove WEDDINGS. Along the Cache La Poudre River Archer's Resort has cabins, RV, tent sites, a Canyon Grille, central hot tubs, camping store. 35 miles W of Fort Collins. Private Island with 1 tent site!

cabins Tent Camping RV Parks and Resorts Weddings, Elopements & Honeymoons Pets Welcome Lodging by water Groups and Reunions Fishing ATVing and Offroading Whitewater Rafting Hunting Winter Lodging Cross country skiing 


Lory State Park  Web page link icon
Along the edge of Horsetooth Reservoir; minutes from Fort Collins is Lory State Park, vacationers enjoy hiking, horseback riding, 6 backcountry camps. Mountain biking: trails, pump, skills, dirt jump courses.

Tent Camping More fun things to do 


Rocky Mountain Adventures: Rafting, Kayaking, Fishing, ATVing Tours  Web page link icon Photos on page icon
WILDERNESS ADVENTURES: trout fishing, whitewater rafting, kayaking on the Upper Colorado River, Clear Creek, Cache la Poudre River. Side-By-Side ATV Tour in the Rocky Mountains. HQ Fort Collins.

Groups and Reunions ATVing and Offroading Whitewater Rafting 


RV World LLC -- Sales, Service, Rentals  Web page link icon
Discover the WORLD in an RV. Pet-friendly RENTALS. Winter rates! In Fort Collins serving Loveland and northern Colorado. Personalized service to get you on the road. SALES: Travel Trailers, RVs, 5th Wheels.

RV Services, Sales, Rentals and Information 



RV Sales, Service & Rentals

RV World LLC -- Sales, Service, Rentals  Web page link icon
Discover the WORLD in an RV. Pet-friendly RENTALS. Winter rates! In Fort Collins serving Loveland and northern Colorado. Personalized service to get you on the road. SALES: Travel Trailers, RVs, 5th Wheels.

RV Services, Sales, Rentals and Information 



For more travel information contact:

Fort Collins Activities & Maps

National Parks and Monuments:
Pawnee National Grasslands

Scenic Byways:
Cache la Poudre - North Park Scenic Byway -UPDATED-
Pawnee Pioneer Trails Scenic Byway -UPDATED-

Rafting & Kayaking:
Cache la Poudre River Rafting & Kayaking


 
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