Go Outdoors: Orchard Cove is a hidden gem in Lory State Park

Troy Wilkinson

On your way to Arthur’s Rock, it’s easy to tunnel vision on all of the destinations, losing focus of possible areas of interest that border the road. That’s almost what happened to me, if not for being in a time crunch, my friend Mitch and I would’ve defaulted to Arthur’s Rock and never batted an eye at anything else.

Knowing that we wouldn’t have time for trail running, which is what we’d intended, and having it be pretty close to Lory State Park’s closing time, we decided to look for something else, something smaller.

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We saw a trail sign, ‘Orchard Cove,’ and little did Mitch or I know, it would be a hidden gem.

After a short hike down, about a quarter of a mile, you reach this small inlet of Horsetooth Reservoir. When we came, it was late fall, snow had yet to fall and the water level was low. It provided a quiet and beautiful beach that, eventually would lead to clean shores bordering the main body of Horsetooth. Running along it, especially with the water so low, it was a rare and inviting path.

Freshman engineering major Cam Breton enjoys a hot summer day atop Arthur's Rock in Lory State Park.
Freshman engineering major Cam Breton enjoys a hot summer day atop Arthur’s Rock in Lory State Park.

Going there near sunset in the fall was a sight met with much appreciation. I recently returned to Orchard Cove after the recent snow day and was caught off-guard by the high water level, frozen and thick enough to provide support for me and my two friends, Mitch and Jack. The same place, covered in ice and snow, was close to equal beauty. While we didn’t stay for sunset, the cove offered a more intense feeling of solitude and stillness.

There are many places scattered around Fort Collins that I bet are unknown to many; Orchard Cove is the first of those that I’ve found. I hope to find many more, if you know of any I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

Collegian Outdoors Blogger Troy Wilkinson can be reached online at blogs@collegian.com or on Twitter at @BluMitts.