More than one third of the state of Colorado is preserved within national forests, national parks, and open spaces regulated by state and local governments for everyone to enjoy. Once known as the "Lilac City," Fort Collins also has a beautiful and rich horticultural history that still thrives today with its many public gardens, each with a diverse purpose and focus. Everyone deserves the chance to marvel at these beautiful gardens that help make our city so unique.
Fort Collins in Bloom is a self-guided tour of Fort Collins’ many public gardens and wildflower hot spots. So, get out, and explore all the beautiful flowers in and around the city.
The CSU Flower Trial Gardens is where you’ll get a glimpse of hundreds of different flower species and vibrant colors in front of the historic University Center for the Arts (the old Fort Collins High School). These research and display gardens include more than 1,200 varieties of flowers developed by seed and vegetative companies around the world, and entered for evaluation under Colorado's extreme climatic conditions-searing heat, high light, low humidity and occasionally stormy weather.
The Gardens on Spring Creek is Fort Collins' community botanic garden and it is situated on an 18-acre site along the Spring Creek corridor. The Gardens welcomes visitors with inspiring displays of plants suited to Front Range growing conditions and a visitors center with a gift shop and greenhouse. The Gardens hosts community events throughout the year, presents adult and youth educational programs, and offers indoor and outdoor rental space for private events as well.
Wild Flower Watch
Horsetooth Falls is a short, beautiful wildflower hike that resides in the stunning Horsetooth Mountain Open Space, just west of Fort Collins and provides some of the best hiking in Fort Collins. This trail takes you through sprawling meadows that are filled with wildflowers during the spring months. After passing through the meadows and taking in all the beautiful wildflowers, you will eventually ease down into a canyon that leads you to Horsetooth Falls. This trail is one of the most family-friendly hikes you will find in and around Fort Collins. The hike is a little less than 2.5 miles roundtrip and is rated as easy to moderate skill level. We suggest packing a lunch and having a picnic when you get to the waterfall, and go ahead and dip your feet in the water as well.
One of Fort Collins’ 48 Natural Areas, Cathy Fromme Prairie is a paradise for wildflower viewing. Cathy Fromme offers views of beautiful vistas, Colorado prairie, as wells as views of the nearby foothills and effervescent wildflowers trickled throughout the land around you. After taking in views of the wildflowers, keep yourself alert because you might also catch a glimpse of a bald eagle or hawk.
This 1.5-mile trail offers a self-guided nature tour through the grasslands, mountain shrub, and timber life zones. Learn about the wildflowers, steep rock walls and wetland vegetation that line Well Gulch Trail with stations along the way. This trail is perfect for those wishing to learn more about botany, geology and animal life in Lory State Park while being immersed in nature.
The nearly 2-mile Arthur’s Rock Trail curves back and forth through open meadows and natural forest and features over a dozen varieties of wildflowers. The spectacular view at the summit, which is 6,780-feet is quite the pay off after enjoying all of the beautiful wildflowers. There is a fantastic natural stairway leading you to the top of the rock at the end of the trail which provides a perfect setting for a picnic if you pack a lunch. Arthur’s Rock trail is rated as moderate to difficult, but don’t be scared if you are a beginner, just remember to take your time and bring plenty of water and sunscreen. There is a $7 daily park entrance fee and dogs are allowed and must be under control on a leash.
City Park represents a wide variety of tree species. Due to its great beauty and diversity, City Park was named Fort Collins' official arboretum. There are more than 1,000 trees in the 76-acre park representing 223 different species and varieties, of which 31 are native to Colorado. Four trees are designated as state champions for being the largest recorded representative in the state of that species. Feel free to take a self-guided tree tour.