Come October, Fort Collins is absolutely stunning, offering plenty of colorful backdrops perfect for family photos, landscape snaps or just for your personal Insta feed. Great weather only adds to the appeal — glittering gold leaves always look best paired with brilliant blue skies. Here are our top seven spots to explore on your hunt for gorgeous fall photo backdrops.

1. A quick hike to a great view: Duncan’s Ridge

Horsetooth SunsetThe 6.5-mile-long Horsetooth Reservoir is a beautiful spot to head come fall for pretty pictures as well as plenty of outdoor recreation — from boating and SUP’ing to hiking and biking. For a particularly beautiful backdrop for your autumn Insta feed, we recommend the views of the reservoir from Duncan’s Ridge, a quick hike and popular climbing spot on the east shore, just south of Rotary Park.

2. Beautiful bridge backdrop: Lee Martinez Community Park

Poudre River Selfie with Bridge

Lee Martinez Community Park (600 N. Sherwood St.) is a nearly 90-acre park that features the usual fields, courts (basketball and tennis), a playground and more but its most unique feature is a petting zoo that’s open year round. Head to the bridge at the south end of the park where the changing leaves provide a gorgeous backdrop right now.

3. Pretty birds and leaves: Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area

Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area offers outstanding birding in a peaceful setting. During the fall, the tree-lined reservoir is especially beautiful and provides the perfect backdrop to whatever photo shoot you have your heart set on. Three short trails — Sandpiper Trail, Heron Loop and Cattail Flats Trail — provide great options to stretch your legs as well.

4. Towering stately elms: The Oval


Towering American Elm trees ring Colorado State University’s iconic Oval, making autumn a particularly picturesque time to stroll through the prettiest part of campus. Many of the 99 trees circling the Oval are more than a century old and put on quite a show turning from green to golden yellow.

5. Fall’s last blooms: CSU’s Annual Flower Trial Garden

CSU Trial Garden

If you find yourself on Colorado State University’s campus, swing by CSU’s Annual Flower Trial Garden. This peaceful, colorful utopia is planted with annuals from late May through October and open daily.

6. Trees galore: City Park

City Park

City Park is a very large park located near downtown Fort Collins and home to Sheldon Lake. This fantastic park offers beautiful surroundings and Sheldon Lake for fishing, riding a paddle boat and sometimes ice skating in the winter. Take a self-guided tree tour at the park, which boasts 223 tree varieties, ready to lend the perfect autumn color to your family photo op.

7. Botanic blooms: Gardens on Spring Creek

Gardens on Spring Creek Fall

The Gardens on Spring Creek are home to some of the most beautiful botanic gardens in Colorado. This is one of the first stops you should make if you’re on an Instagramming adventure.


After you finish snapping away, there are plenty of places to relax and sip a fall brew; or make a weekend of it and book a unique place to stay.  Don’t forget to share your beautiful art by tagging us at #visitftcollins.