It’s a well-known fact that Fort Collins is a playground for adventure seekers and adrenaline junkies. If you are a budding cyclist, here are some of the choicest bike trails in the area.
Blue Sky trail
Long, winding, but incredibly scenic− that’s how most people would describe the Blue Sky trail. At first glance, it seems daunting with the whole round trip ride taking about 8 miles. Despite its length and status as an “intermediate” trail, beginners can still choose to ply this route. Why?
First of all, you will hardly notice the 8 miles when you are so distracted by the gorgeous views of Horsetooth Mountain and the surrounding landscapes. Second, the easy parts of the trail outnumber the more challenging and technical sections. If you are not so confident to tackle these, you can always just choose to hike until you move on to the easier areas.
When you reach the end of the trail, you can choose to return to where you started (the trailhead is located near Inlet Bay) or go on another adventure. From here, you can continue on to other bike trails, including Devil’s Backbone, Indian Summer, and Rim Rock.
When to go: The Blue Sky trail is popular all year round, not just among mountain bikers, but hikers and trail runners as well. To avoid the traffic, head to this beautiful trail during the weekdays.
Bobcat Ridge trail
If you thought the Blue Sky trail was long, wait ’til you get to Bobcat Ridge Natural Area. In total, it offers about 17 miles of pure, unadulterated mountain biking bliss, with the trail difficulty ranging from beginner to skilled.
For beginners, it is recommended to stick to the valley trails (Eden Valley and Valley Loop.) These beginner-friendly trails are short (Eden Valley at 1.3 miles and Valley Loop at 2 miles) and single-track, with enough turns for excitement and some rolling landscape to help you learn a few tricks.
Once you gain enough skill and confidence, move on to the technical rides such as the DR trail (3 miles), the Powerline trail (2 miles), and the Ginny trail, which is also the longest, extending up to approximately 5.1 miles. These intermediate-advance trails feature steep ascents and descents, which you can still check out. If it’s too much, just get off your bike and hike. Remember: there’s no shame in walking!
When to go: The Bobcat Ridge trails are not as popular as Blue Sky. After all, it requires a bit of a drive, being located south of Fort Collins. Still, expect some crowd on the weekends.
If you want to avoid the crowds and enjoy the trails by yourself, the best time to ride would be on a weekday.
If you’re biking alone, don’t forget to inform your loved ones about your whereabouts. Wear the right clothing, bring water and trail food. Most of all, leave nothing but footprints (and bike tracks), take nothing but pictures, and kill nothing but time. Enjoy!