Enjoy activities, beautiful lodging and more at Horsetooth Reservoir, one Colorado’s most scenic outdoor paradises located only minutes outside Fort Collins, Colo. In 1933, the Poudre Valley was enduring years of drought and dust storms and the farmers began realizing the need for more water to satisfy the thirst of the crop-bearing farms around Fort Collins.
Knowing the water from the Poudre River was inconsistent, sometimes providing too much and at other times not enough, Horsetooth Reservoir was developed to solve the problem. The reservoir acquired its name from the unique rock formation that sits above the large body of water.
There is an old Native American legend regarding this famous stone. The Valley of Contentment (today’s Horsetooth Reservoir) was once guarded by a giant so that no buffalo, deer, or antelope were hunted in the valley. Chief Maunamoku led Indians to slay the giant. In killing the giant, the Chief slashed at his heart, first in the center, then on the right and then on the left with a tomahawk from the heavens. The next day the giant turned to stone and is now known as Horsetooth Rock.
Today, the 6.5-mile-long reservoir is a favorite recreation spot for activities such as boating, fishing, swimming, stand up paddle boarding, water skiing, sailing and picnicking. There are many miles of trails surrounding the reservoir for mountain biking, horseback riding and hiking. Additionally, on the east side of the reservoir is one of the best spots in Colorado for bouldering in Rotary Park. Horsetooth Reservoir is open year-round and includes RV spots, campsites and cabins, all managed by Larimer County Natural Areas. If camping isn’t your style, relax in one of the condos or bed & breakfasts in the area and rent a boat, kayak, SUP board and more at the local marina.