Spring Canyon Park is a park located at the north end of Fort Collins, Colorado. A popular spot for trail running and mountain biking, Spring Canyon Park boasts over 20 miles of trails that explore the surrounding Pineridge Mountains.
The terrain in this area varies from open prairie to densely forested hillsides. Visitors can enjoy views of the foothills as well as bison and elk that roam freely in neighboring fields and woodlands.
- Campus Pond Greenbelt: 0.3-mile accessible loop trail (passes by water fountain)
- Lewis Lake Trail: 2-mile loop trail (passes by water station)
- Prairie Loop Trail: 1 mile long paved/gravel loop (no shade)
- Lily Lake Loop Trail: 2-mile loop trail (passes by the water station and a pit toilet)
- Rocky Mountain Overlook Trails: 1.7-mile loop trail with steep grades (no shade, passes by rock art site)
- Visitor Center Trail System: 0.5 miles accessible paved/gravel loop (passes by visitor center)
Woodland Park Area: 4 miles of interconnected trails that are mostly dirt roads and single track (including Spring Canyon Horse Preserve), see map below for details. The Woodland Park area has no formal amenities but visitors can park their vehicles along the side of the road. A small sign marks the entrance to the network on Horsetooth Rd between Taft Hill Road and Horsetooth Mountain Open Space.
Spring Canyon Park is a very popular destination for local trail runners and mountain bikers. Summer weekends often see large organized events in the park (often hosted by Fort Collins Running Club). The trails are also popular among hikers and families with children as there are many places to stop along the way. Popular stops include Redtail Point, Camping Ridge, Short Line Loop, Lily Lake Overlook, Campus Pond Greenbelt, Woodland Park area, Deane Keller Peak Overlook Trail, and Rocky Mountain Overlook Trails.
Spring Canyon Park has almost no cell phone service and poor public transportation access. It is recommended that visitors hike on the greenbelt trails to the visitor’s center and then link up with trails near Horsetooth Mountain Open Space or use one of the car-accessible trails like Deane Keller Peak Overlook Trail.
Starting from where Taft Lake Creek meets Harmony Road, this trail winds through open prairie for a short distance before reaching a steep climb up into woodlands. After climbing steadily for about a mile, the trail reaches Redtail Point which offers amazing views of Poudre Valley to the east and Spring Canyon Park to the west. This point also serves as a popular turnaround spot for local runners as it is only about a half-mile from the trailhead. From here, you can link up with Horsetooth Mountain Open Space trails to continue exploring the foothills.
The trail starts from Harmony Road and takes off at a steep climb almost immediately. The first mile of this trail is considered one of the busiest in Spring Canyon Park as it runs along Taft Creek and offers views across the open prairie towards Horsetooth Reservoir. There are several places to stop along the way including redtail point (which is only half a mile away), creek crossings, and numerous spots for a quick picnic snack break.
Horseback riders frequent this trail due to its relatively smooth terrain compared to others that criss-cross Spring Canyon Park. A popular destination on this loop is Short Line Loop, a short spur that takes you to a rock art site.
This 1-mile long trail can be accessed from the Spring Canyon Park Visitors Center and loops around Campus Pond, one of two major water sources in the park. The visitor’s center is open on Saturday from 10 am-3 pm and Sunday during Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend from 9 am-4:30 pm (closed Tuesdays).
There is a wide variety of birds and wildlife that frequent this pond so it makes for an interesting photo opportunity when walking by at any time of year. If you’re looking to snap some shots of wildlife, the best times are early morning or late evening as most animals tend to retreat to their burrows or dens during the midday heat.