Adventure attractions in Fort Collins await

Hunter Goddard

Horsetooth Reservoir.
Horsetooth Reservoir is one of many locations around Fort Collins that offer unlimited possibilities for adventure – even as the months get colder. (Photo credit: Ricki Watkins)

River rafting and Horsetooth hikes seem like a thing of the past, as far as 2014 is concerned, but these activities still see plenty of action even as the colder months approach, according to those in charge.

Ryan Barwick works for Rocky Mountain Adventures, Inc., which offers whitewater rafting, fly fishing, kayak instructional sessions, as well as snowshoe and cross-country ski rentals. Barwick said they are the only kayak retailers in town.

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“We offer fly fishing all throughout the fall,” Barwick said. “After that, there are no more guided tours or anything like that, it’s almost exclusively rentals. We’re mostly a seasonal, three-months-out-of-the-year kind of business.”

In spite of this, Barwick said indoor kayaking will become available in January. According to Barwick, an effort is underway to approve a potential whitewater play park on the Poudre River downtown, which would be open to CSU students at the beginning and end of each school year.

In the meantime, Horsetooth will continue to be a hot spot even when the climate cools down, according to Larimer County Natural Resources Educational Program Coordinator Heather Young.

“In Fort Collins and in Larimer County as a whole, people are resilient enough to go out if the sun’s shining and it’s 40 degrees during the nicer winter days,” Young said. “They don’t care whether it’s January or July.”

The 29 miles of Horsetooth Trail, from Devil’s Backbone to Lory State Park, are actually nicest around this time of year between the changing leaves and the milder weather, whether one hikes it or one takes a horseback ride along it, Young said.

According to Young, Larimer County Natural Resources updates its Facebook and Twitter accounts with trail and parking lot conditions, and its website features a live webcam of Horsetooth Mountain since the trailheads still fill up with crowds late in the year.

Also included in the site, Larimer.org/NaturalResources, are alternative opportunities to the ever popular Horsetooth Falls, Rock, and Reservoir, such as information about the NoCo Nature Festival Saturday, Sept. 27.

In addition to the county’s natural resources department, the city itself runs a webpage, VisitFortCollins.com/Outdoor-Recreation, where visitors are able to browse adventures waiting to happen like Beaver Meadows Stables or Terry Bison Ranch.

An upcoming outside event for the month of October is the Northern Colorado Corn Maze, a 15-acre haunted Halloween labyrinth full of chainsaws, strobe lights, and screaming children. This year’s scheduling and pricing have yet to be announced.

If boating and swimming are your sources of adrenaline, then get out there now before it is too late. Otherwise, it is never too late to indulge in what this part of the state is famous for – come rain or come shine.

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This article was produced by College Avenue Magazine.