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Natural Areas

In 2018, the City of Fort Collins celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Fort Collins Natural Areas. There are nearly 50 natural areas spread around throughout Fort Collins. Visitors and locals are welcome to explore every single one of these breathtaking places. These natural areas account for over 36,000 conserved acres in and around the heart of Fort Collins. When it comes to immersing yourself in nature, you really can't go wrong in choosing one of these areas to explore. Each one has it's own uniqueness special to its location.

Natural Areas offer exceptional bird watching, and many enable regular raptor and wildlife viewing (Master Naturalists and staff offer free Eagle Watches in the winter). Bison watchers can catch another glimpse of the genetically pure plains bison herd, including this summer’s calves, at Soapstone Prairie Natural Area until the end of November when Soapstone closes for the season. The area reopens to visitors at the beginning of March every year.

Hidden Gems

Hidden Clues Trail at Coyote Ridge Natural Area – This short loop trail originating from the cabin (located one mile from the trailhead) boasts interactive interpretive signs designed for little hikers.

Running Deer Natural Area Fire Tower – The historic fire tower at Running Deer Natural Area is an interesting and nearly solitary destination, featuring a flat, easy trail and expansive views of the Front Range.

Cathy Fromme Prairie Natural Area Observatory – The raptor observatory at Cathy Fromme Prairie is an off-the-beaten-path destination with fun signs, a sod-topped shelter and views of the foothills.

Star Gaze Away

The areas around Fort Collins offer some of the best stargazing hot spots in Colorado and city leaders are working toward dark-sky certification for all the Natural Areas, some of which are among the darkest in the county. Try Red Mountain Open Space, Soapstone Prairie Natural Area, Coyote Ridge Natural Area or head up to the trailhead for Horsetooth Mountain Open Space. If you want to learn more about the night skies, there are plenty of resources. The Northern Colorado Astronomical Society hosts dozens of public observation events per year. Visit nocoastro.org to learn more. Stop by the Sunlight Peak Observatory at Front Range Community College or the Stargazer Observatory at Observatory Village in southeast Fort Collins, both of which host community nights each month, weather permitting. Visit facebook.com/sunlightpeak and stargazerobservatory.com for dates. 

Local Favorites

Authentic to Fort Collins
Akinz

Akinz is a local clothing line featuring super soft t-shirts and sweatshirts hand printed in store and beanies and other knitwear handmade in house. Come see what we’re working on and order your own...

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Akinz

Temporarily closed. Online and screen printing orders available. Free shipping on orders $10 or more. Customization fee waived.

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Anheuser-Busch Tour Center & Biergarten

Tours: June-Sept: daily 10-4; Oct-May: Thu-Mon 10am-4pm. Discover a time-honored brewing tradition and taste our quality lagers and ales. Biergarten: Wednesday and Thursday 11-7pm Friday and Saturday...

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Anheuser-Busch Tour Center & Biergarten

Open 11 am-5 pm Mon- Friday. Closed Saturday and Sunday. Curbside pick up- limited food and beer menu.

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Fort Collins Spotlight
Akinz
Akinz Akinz is a local clothing line featuring super soft t-shirts and sweatshirts hand printed...
Akinz
Akinz Temporarily closed. Online and screen printing orders available. Free shipping on orders...
Anheuser-Busch Tour Center & Biergarten
Anheuser-Busch Tour Center & Biergarten Tours: June-Sept: daily 10-4; Oct-May: Thu-Mon 10am-4pm. Discover a time-honored brewing...
Anheuser-Busch Tour Center & Biergarten
Anheuser-Busch Tour Center & Biergarten Open 11 am-5 pm Mon- Friday. Closed Saturday and Sunday. Curbside pick up- limited food...