Hike close to Fort Collins at Lory State Park on South Valley Trail

2008-06-09 Lory State Park
2008-06-09 Lory State Park (Photo credit: rosepetal236)

This weekend, as we still have snow lingering, I am recommending a hike just up the hill at Lory State Park.

This is definitely not the first time that I am sending you all up that way, but as I am sure I’ve mentioned before, sometimes the best adventures are right next door.


This week, I am sending you all out to tackle the South Valley Trail Loop, right along the western side of the reservoir.

From the parking lot, start on the trail that is on the east side, toward the reservoir. From there, the path heads straight southward, zig-zagging a bit. It also remains relatively level, which I figured was ideal since the snow might pose enough of a challenge.

But simply because there is not a lot of vertical distance covered, that does not mean that this trail does not have much to offer.

As you head south on the trail, you get stunning glimpses of the reservoir with giant sheets of ice stretching across it. Then, you will tuck up into a low hanging valley, but you will still catch the occasional icy vista of the reservoir as you pass offshoots that lead down to the water’s edge.

Atop the valley walls, an endless row of rock formations protrudes from the tall grass like a spine. I can only image how the most-recent snow clings to the intricate veins and reliefs in the rocks.

The trail heads back after a little over a mile. However, if you want to keep going, there is a turnoff for a trail that leads into Horsetooth Mountain Park, which could be worth a shot.

Remember with the snow this week, the trails will be very icy and easy to lose. This trail is pretty wide and well marked, so I don’t imagine it being too difficult, but be sure to pay attention.

To get here, head north on Overland Trail all the way until you reach Co Rd 50, or Bingham Hill Road, and turn left. At Co Rd 23 or Front Street, make another left. Hang a right on Co Rd 25 and take that all the way into Lory State Park. Once inside, continue on the main road all the way to the last trailhead. There will be a $6 fee per car, so bring a friend or two and split the fee.