July 13  |  Our Communities


The 13 Best Northern Colorado Biking Trails for Beginners

Fort Collins may be famous for its bike-friendly atmosphere and safe biking routes, lanes and trails (yes, we’re bragging), but it’s not the only Northern Colorado city where you can travel safely on two wheels. Communities throughout both Larimer County and Weld County offer paved routes for road biking and rugged trails for mountain adventurers.

Today, we’re exploring both the road and the mountain so beginning bikers can get their pedals moving.

To learn more about Fort Collins’ bike-friendly culture, check out our guide The 10 Neighborhoods in Fort Collins with the Highest Bike Scores. There, you can learn more about our city’s innovative bikeways, awards and top rankings, too!

 

Poudre River Trail | Fort Collins

Distance: 15 miles | Difficulty: Easy | Type: Road | Directions

The Larimer County section of the Poudre River Trail covers about 15 miles through Fort Collins along the beautiful Cache la Poudre River. Currently, there’s a gap between the Environmental Learning Center in Fort Collins and River Bluffs Open Space where the Weld County trail ends. From the Learning Center, riders can travel through Prospect Ponds Natural Area, Kingfisher Point Natural Area, north through Lee Martinez Park and into Bellvue along a small section of Rist Canyon Road.

Larimer and Weld Counties are currently working to connect their sections and create a 40-mile tour of Northern Colorado!

 

Poudre River Trail | Greeley to Windsor

Distance: 21 miles | Difficulty: Easy | Type: Road | Directions

Biking trails near Fort Collins Loveland Greeley for beginners

Photo courtesy of Poudre River Trail Corridor

The Poudre River Trail travels from Island Grove Regional Park in Greeley to Colorado Highway 392 in Windsor where it connects to a separate paved trail in River Bluffs Open Space. Following the winding Cache la Poudre River, the Weld County section of this trail is fully paved, well maintained and features informational signs that highlight historical sites along the way. You can get even more information on the website where you’ll learn how Larimer and Weld Counties are working to connect their sections.

 

Fossil Creek Trail | Fort Collins  

Distance: 5.3 miles | Difficulty: Easy | Type: Road | Directions 

Fossil Creek Trail is a set of two separate, paved pathways which total 5.3 miles covering the west and south sides of Fort Collins. When these are connected later this year, riders will be able to travel from Fossil Creek Park to Pineridge Natural Area without ever leaving the safety of the trail! Along the way, you’ll find many other road riders and commuters using the trail to explore FoCo’s neighborhoods and travel to local businesses.

 

Spring Creek Trail | Fort Collins

Distance: 7 miles | Difficulty: Easy | Type: Road | Directions 

One of the most popular commuting and riding options in Fort Collins, the Spring Creek Trail covers more than 7 miles to connect the east and west halves of the city. On the western end, you’ll begin at Fossil Creek Trail at Spring Canyon Community Park and can ride all the way to the Poudre Trail at Cattail Chorus Natural Area. Along the way, you’ll pass by the Gardens on Spring Creek and several of the city’s beloved local breweries, businesses and restaurants.

 

Recreation Trail | Loveland

Distance: 19 miles | Difficulty: Easy | Type: Road | Directions 

Recreation Trail is a 19-mile loop around the Sweetheart City. From Wilson Avenue along the Big Thompson River, the route carries riders through fields, over and under streets, and along the Big Thompson River, north to Boyd Lake State Park and west to Highway 287. Though there are a couple of small gaps along the way, riders will be able to navigate the complete circle.

Already, there is a 2-mile, multi-use trail — The Colorado Front Range Trail — that travels north from Recreation Trail and connects to Fossil Creek Trail in Fort Collins. And, later this year, another paved trail — Long View Trail — will be completed to connect Northern Colorado’s biggest cities.

 

Nomad Trail | Horsetooth Mountain Open Space

Distance: 1.3 miles | Difficulty: Easy | Type: Mountain | More details from MTB Project 

Biking trails near Fort Collins Loveland Greeley for beginners

Running parallel to Shoreline Trail, another beginner ride in Horsetooth Mountain Open Space, Nomad Trail offers slightly more distance, technical features and elevation gain. While Nomad avoids the shoreline of Horsetooth Reservoir, it offers spectacular views of the foothills.

 

Inlet Bay Trail | Horsetooth Mountain Open Space

Distance: 1.3 miles | Difficulty: Easy | Type: Mountain | More details from MTB Project

Inlet Bay Trail is a brief section of a trail system that circles all of Horsetooth Mountain Open Space and Lory State Park. Though just 1.3 miles over easy terrain, riders have the option to continue south down Blue Sky Trail or take on the difficult Horsetooth Mountain Park Sampler Loop (13.1 miles) or Horsetooth Mountain Park/Lory State Park Tour (21.1 miles).

 

Blue Sky Trail | Horsetooth Mountain Open Space

Distance: 6.2 | Difficulty: Intermediate | Type: Mountain | More details from MTB Project 

Though Blue Sky is rated a moderate trail, it is also rated one of the top rides in Horsetooth Mountain Open Space. So, if you’ve completed all the rides on this guide, think about giving Blue Sky a try! One set of steps in the north half of the route as well as steps and obstacles met while crossing the ridge line attribute to the intermediate rating. Otherwise, the trail is fairly straightforward with few steep grades and no obstacles.

 

North Lory State Park Valley Loop | Lory State Park

Distance: 5.2 miles | Difficulty: Easy | Type: Mountain | More details from MTB Project

Biking trails near Fort Collins Loveland Greeley for beginners

The North Lory State Park Valley Loop offers a shorter trip through Lory State Park and a less difficult preview of the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space/Lory State Park Tour. Mostly flat and very straightforward, you’ll enjoy views of the valley along both East Valley Trail (2.5 miles) and West Valley Trail (2.5 miles).

 

South Valley Trail Loop | Lory State Park

Distance: 2.5 miles | Difficulty: Easy | Type: Mountain | More details from MTB Project 

This trail tours the south side of Lory State Park over a flat and straightforward route perfect for beginners. Along the way, you can enjoy views of both the foothills and the waterfront.

 

Valley Loop Trail | Bobcat Ridge Natural Area

Distance: 4.1 miles | Difficulty: Easy | Type: Mountain | More details from MTB Project 

A perfect introductory trail for mountain bikers, Valley Loop offers enough switchbacks and technical difficulties to be entertaining, but plenty of smooth trail and few obstacles so beginner riders can feel comfortable.

 

Eden Valley Spur Trail | Bobcat Ridge Natural Area

Distance: 1.3 miles | Difficulty: Easy | Type: Mountain | More details from MTB Project 

Biking trails near Fort Collins Loveland Greeley for beginners

Continuing past the southernmost section of Valley Loop Trail, Eden Valley Spur Trail is a quick, out-and-back route that flows over rolling hills and has very few obstacles. Look out for rocks near the beginning of the trail then you’re set for a smooth ride!

 

Foothills-Pine Ridge Loop | Pineridge Natural Area

Distance: 7 miles | Difficulty: Easy | Type: Mountain | More details from MTB Project 

This loop on the east side of Horsetooth Reservoir is a multi-use trail for bikes, runners, walkers, and horses so keep your eyes out for fellow adventurers while you’re pedaling! If you start at the north end on the Water Tank Access Road, you’ll get to pass the old Sonny Lubick Field while riding the Foothills Trail. Then, the loop will take you around and past Dixon Reservoir for spectacular views of the surrounding landscape.

 

Do you have a favorite ride?  

Let us know in the comments below!


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