As temperatures begin to rise, the sun shines a bit more, and the days last a little longer, let’s take a look at the many things to do outside in Loveland, from kayaking and swimming to hiking and biking.
Home to Lake Loveland and Boyd Lake State Park, Loveland is perfectly positioned to enjoy the great outdoors — whether you prefer to explore on land or in the water. Slip on your hiking boots, lather on the sunscreen and spend the day adventuring through Loveland’s outdoor living room.
COVID NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there may be specific rules or protocols in place for various outdoor activities. We have noted the current requirements for each, which may change over time. Be sure to check each website to find the most updated information prior to your visit!
At this time, most outdoor recreation spots are open once again, including parks, trails, natural areas, golf courses, tennis courts and more. However, a few specific recreation centers and parks remain closed. Follow social distancing guidelines and wear a mask if in an enclosed area. To see the full list of closures outlined by the City of Loveland, click here.
Get the best of both worlds — artwork and the outdoors — at Benson Sculpture Garden, a scenic 10-acre park featuring 170 sculptures from world-renowned artists. The park was created with proceeds from the annual Sculpture in the Park (postponed until 2021), one of the finest outdoor juried exhibitions of three-dimensional artwork in the United States. Benson Sculpture Garden is a wonderful destination for a leisurely walk or picnic and is known as a public treasure. Alongside its local fame, the sculpture park has also been recognized as one of the most important modern and contemporary art sites around the world. It’s open year-round and there is no admission fee — so stop by on the next sunny day! To learn more about the art scene in Loveland, use our Complete Guide to the Arts in Loveland.
Photo courtesy of Richard Ernst via Larimer County
Wildflowers, red-tailed hawks, vast grasslands and towering rock formations steal the show at Devil’s Backbone Open Space. This natural getaway provides a haven for local outdoorsmen and tourists alike — all looking to get in touch with Colorado’s wild side. Come enjoy mountain biking, hiking or running through the 2,198-acre open space, and snap a few photos of the picturesque landscape! The 4.3-mile out-and-back trail is great for hikers of all levels and is lined with beautiful wildflowers in the spring.
COVID NOTE: This is a popular trail though so we recommend going early in the morning or later in the day to avoid the crowds as much as possible. If you arrive to find a packed trailhead, you may want to try to explore another nearby trail instead so you can follow the safety guidelines in place!
There is so much to do at Boyd Lake State Park. In fact, we created an entire guide to this massive park, which includes information about boating, swimming, biking, hiking, paddleboarding, camping, fishing and more. So essentially, you can just head to Boyd Lake State Park for a day filled with outdoor recreation. And if you’re looking for a day on the water, the park is a haven for water sports of all kinds, including swimming, kayaking, fishing, paddleboarding and more. All types of watercraft, including ski boats, fishing boats, jet skis, sailboats and canoes utilize the 1,700-acre lake.
COVID NOTE: The playground remains closed to the public at this time, but all non-campground outdoor areas of the park, including trails, boat ramps, marinas and shorelines remain open. Boyd Lake State Park is open for camping once again, while coin-operated showers and laundry facilities are closed until further notice. Please observe social distance guidelines during your stay at campgrounds. Make a campsite reservation here.
This 64-acre park is packed with amenities the whole family will love — including a “tree house” playground, a climbing wall, a skatepark, tennis, pickleball and basketball courts, a dog park, picnic areas, an arboretum, a recreation trail, a 9-hole disc golf course, and much more. Much like at Boyd Lake State Park, you can spend the entire day at Mehaffey Park and you still may not see everything the park has to offer. But if you’re looking for a peaceful place to enjoy a picnic, there’s plenty of grass to lay your blanket on while you watch the bustling activity of this popular community park.
Bobcat Ridge Natural Area is a scenic area filled with foothills, ponderosa pines, stunning red rock cliffs, a grassy valley and plenty of wildlife, such as elk, wild turkey and mountain lions. It’s also one of our favorite places to go on a bike ride. A perfect introductory trail for mountain bikers, Valley Loop offers enough switchbacks and technical difficulties to be entertaining, but plenty of smooth trails and very few obstacles so beginner riders can feel comfortable. For more manageable bike paths for beginners in the area, click here.
COVID NOTE: Please follow COVID-19 guidelines and maintain a 6-foot physical distance from others, including trail work staff. The Bobcat Ridge Natural Area parking lot may reach capacity daily; please check the webcam here and come at a different time or another day if the lot is full.
Complete with four park shelters, an amphitheater, playgrounds, baseball and softball fields, tennis and basketball courts, a seasonal swim beach, and more, North Lake Park is a great place to be — no matter what activity your family enjoys. It’s an especially great place to go fishing from the shore of Lake Loveland, as no boats or watercraft are prohibited on the lake, creating a peaceful and serene setting for casting a line. Looking for more places to fish in the area? Loveland has plenty of fishing locations to choose from.
COVID NOTE: As of June 17, the Lake Loveland Swim Beach is open seven days a week from 10:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. with a lifeguard on duty. Click here for the latest information.
Nestled between Loveland and Berthoud, Carter Lake is a beautiful reservoir just over 1,000 acres surrounded by 1,000 acres of public lands. Visitors love this lake for fishing, sailing, water skiing, swimming and even scuba diving! Enjoy all of the above for several days by camping near the lake at one of the 118 sites. During the busiest camping season (Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend), keep in mind that on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, the first-come, first-served sites are usually not available. Weekdays are your best bet for finding an open campsite! In addition to camping fees, you’ll need to purchase an entrance permit upon arrival, costing $9 per vehicle or $18 per vehicle and boat with a trailer. More information about permits and camping prices can be found here.
COVID NOTE: As of Monday, June 1, camping is available for tents and soft-sided/pop-up units at all campgrounds. All campground restrooms are open and same-day camping reservations are allowed during regular business hours. Until further notice, cabins and tipis remain closed, after-hours, walk-up camping is not allowed, all shower houses are closed, group picnic sites and pavilions are closed, and swim beaches remain closed. Click here for the latest information.
What outdoor activities do you love to do in Loveland? Let us know in the comments below.