Trail Notes from a State Champ

Doug Hay

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I am a reluctant runner.  My son, Griffin Hay, is a runner’s runner. He is the 2012 Colorado High School 3200 meter state champion, a member of 2 state championship cross country teams in high school and he ran ran cross country competitively at University of Portland. So, when Griff tells me the best trails to train on in Fort Collins and why he loves them, I listen.  If you are a trail runner, you should too. Here are Griff’s favorites:  

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Spring Creek Trail– This trail is 9 miles long so you can do up to 18 miles in one run.  The best part of this trail is there are lots of people and dogs to distract you.

Bass Ponds on Drake- this trail is only about 3 miles around but it connects to the Poudre and Spring Creek Trails. The boardwalk takes you through cattails and soft dirt trails.

Switchbacks behind Hughes Stadium – they are only a mile and a half but there is a climb involved plus they are connected to up to 9 miles of dirt trails. The best part of this trail is the difficulty and the brevity.  Once you get to the top you have the second best view of the city of Fort Collins.

Blue Sky Trail and Coyote Ridge– both of these are pristine single track trails that connect to Horsetooth Reservoir in Fort Collins and Devil’s Backbone in Loveland. Running between the foothills undisturbed is an awesome experience.  Just watch out for the rattlesnakes in the summer.

Horsetooth Rock – Horsetooth Rock has miles and miles of trails that range from level maintenance roads to rocky, single track, all climbing to the highest point in Fort Collins and the city’s best known landmark.  The best part of this trail system is the view into the mountains on the west of Horsetooth Rock.

Towers Trail- For the adventurous runner, this is undoubtedly the toughest climb in Fort Collins.

Poudre Trail- provides a tour from Northwest Fort Collins down to Harmony and I-25. The best part of this trail is running in the shade near the Poudre River on hot days.