There is loads to hike, taste, and experience in Fort Collins, Colorado. So far, I’ve already covered several city open spaces, trails, and restaurants in Part One and Park Two of this series. So, I am continuing the guide to the city here with coverage of new trails, restaurants and more!

Our hikes in this part 3 of the Fort Collins Foothills and Food series include the trails of Pinewood Reservoir, and the Coterie off of Spring Creek Trail from Edora Park. The restaurant spots include some of Fort Collins most unique spots, and this is the first part of this series to include other attractions here in the city.

Hikes in Fort Collins

Pinewood Reservoir and the Ramsay-Shockey Open Space

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Pinewood Reservoir is part of the Larimer County park system. And I better start out this section of my post by mentioning that it’s not actually in Fort Collins. It’s about 45 minutes away from town and close to Loveland. That being said, I am still going to include it here, because it isn’t too far from town, and Pinewood has some very nice hiking options.

In particular, I did two trails when I went – Shoshone Trail and Besant Point Trail, which can be combined to create a lollipop. This lollipop was roughly 3 miles and included walks along the lake and ascents into the rolling hills that surround it. To access this lollipop route, park at the southern trailhead, where the restrooms are. Then, from there, you will follow Besant Point Trail along the southwestern edge of the lake along the shore. It’s a great place to see wildlife and enjoy the general beauty of the calm water of the reservoir.

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Besant Point Trail ends when it conjoins with the loop, Shoshone Trail. We chose to hike up first, so we went into the hills as soon as we got to the junction. We took a clockwise direction. From there, the Shoshone trail is a bit more challenging than the shoreside trail, since it has some elevation gain. There are some great views from higher up, however, so if you are looking for a more challenging trek, I definitely suggest doing both trails.

To get here, you will take Taft Hill Rd/Wilson Road south from Fort Collins. Then you will turn west onto the 34. After that, you will need to head southwest towards Carter Lake, which you will pass while following County Road 18E. The easiest way to get good directions will be to put the lake into Google.

Need to Know Information

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Land Manager: Larimer County

Entrance Fee: $10 per vehicle

Difficulty: Moderate

Bathroom at the Trailhead: Yes

4WD Necessary: No

The Coterie/Spring Creek Trail

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The part of my post includes three different parts of the Fort Collins Parks system: the Spring Creek Trail, Edora Park, and the Coterie Open Space. When traveling on foot, I accessed the Spring Creek Trail via Edora Park and then took the trail to the Coterie and beyond.

Spring Creek Trail is a long, paved trail that runs through the heart of Fort Collins along Spring Creek. This trail links up with the Poudre River Trail, and is a great place for walking and biking. If you wanted to travel the entire trail to the Poudre River, you would need start at Spring Canyon Community Park. But Edora is close to the eastern end of the trail. I like starting from here when on foot because the rest of the trail is quite long.

From Edora, you can also access a lot of amazing recreation facilities, including playgrounds and sports fields. It’s also just a beautiful park, particularly when it is green. But between Edora and the Poudre River is Coterie Open Space. It isn’t a natural area that you can really hike, but you will walk by it on Spring Creek Trail. It’s a great place for wildlife watching, as it is home to prairie dogs, and anything that preys on them. The first time I visited here, I had the luck of seeing a hunting lynx. (We kept a very far distance).

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I think this is an especially great place for kids since the hiking is easy and there is plenty of variety along the trail. That being said, please be careful when bringing your children around water. The spring is shallow but could easily be dangerous and there are deeper ponds along the way.

To get here, you can access Edora just south of Prospect Street, between Timberline and Lemay.

Need to Know Information

Land Manager: City of Fort Collins

Entrance Fee: None

Difficulty: Easy

Bathroom at the Trailhead: Bathrooms are available in the park, but can be locked.

4WD Necessary: No

Fort Collins Food

Alleycat Coffeehouse

Alleycat is a FOCO staple and one of the first places that I got to hang out in when I came here. While I would not say that this little shop has the best chai/matcha in town… pretty far from it, especially when it comes to matcha. But there is something very very special about this cafe, and I enjoy visiting every time. The atmosphere in Alleycat is really unique, and eclectic. With drawings, art, and messages tucked into every nook and cranny of the shop, there is a distinctly “college-town” feel here. I love sipping on a sweet, hot chai from a well-worn booth and taking in all the notes and sketches. There is something new that I find every time.

Unless you are looking for the best tea/coffee in town, I would highly suggest giving Alley Cat a try. It’s a very special place.

Address: 120 W Laurel St, Fort Collins, CO 80524

Notes on Hours: Alley Cat is open 7 days a week from 7:00 am – 11:00 pm (as of 2023)

The Moot House

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The Moot House is one of my favorite spots in the city because it has amazing, English atmosphere. I can truly imagine that I am a world away in the UK when I come to this spot, and I love places that help whisk you away when you are home.

When it comes to food, the Moot House offers what I would consider to be American/European fusion. Everything here is pretty reliably good, and the staff is great.

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Address: 2626 S College Ave, Fort Collins, CO 80525

Notes on Hours: The Moot House is open 7 days a week from 11:00 am – 9:00 pm (as of 2023)

The Farmhouse at Jessup

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The Farmhouse at Jessup is a great place to escape for seasonal, fresh fare. I enjoy their changing menus, and really adore some of their standard fare – particularly the goat cheese caprese appetizer. I also have a go-to cocktail from the Farmhouse, and it is reliably delicious.

Along with the fresh, yummy food, the Farmhouse has a great atmosphere, having been built in a very cool farmhouse building. I really adore being here when it is rainy, cloudy, or cold. Being inside the farmhouse, eating cozy food, with moody weather outside is just so perfect.

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That being said, the Farmhouse can be hard to get into during peak meal times. If you are set on going here, make sure to have a reservation. They are easy to get online.

Address: 1957 Jessup Dr, Fort Collins, CO 80525

Notes on Hours: Closed Mondays, and closed midday between major meal times.

La Creperie and French Bakery

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La Creperie is your Fort Collins spot for all things delicious French food. Of course, from the name alone, you should know that crepes are their number one offering. I indulged in a sweet crepe when I visited, and it had to be one of the best crepes I’ve had. I felt the respect and love for French cuisine while visiting.

Along with their simple sit-down restaurant, there is a walk-away bakery that you can visit to enjoy their baked goodies. It can get busy here, so be sure to come early if you want to sit down without waiting. There is also very limited parking available in this area.

Address: 2722 S College Ave, Fort Collins, CO 80525

Hours Notes: Closed on Monday; open all other days from 7:30 am – 2:00 pm

Fort Collins Attractions

Old Town Fort Collins

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Old Town Fort Collins is probably one of the most famous attractions in town. I’ve heard it said that this historic part of town inspired Walt Disney’s Disneyland Main Street USA. So, you might imagine that this is a picturesque place to walk around and enjoy the architecture that can be found in many small towns in the United States. It is also a very lively place, with loads of shops and restaurants.

If you are just visiting Fort Collins, I would absolutely encourage you to prioritize visiting Old Town. There is just so much to enjoy in this part of town. In summer there are performances here on the weekends, and in the winter there is an exceptional light display. That’s all on top of amazing, local shops, and tasty food.

When visiting here, be prepared for downtown parking. There is street parking with time limits, and if you aren’t able to find any spots, not to worry, there are very affordable parking structures throughout the Old Town area. You will spend just a couple dollars to park in any of these unless you are staying for a very long time. And on Sunday they are free!

Fort Collins Museum of Discover

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The Fort Collins Museum of Discovery is FOCO’s largest museum. It covers natural and human history in the area as well as science. With some amazing interactive exhibits throughout the museum, this is an amazing spot for families with kids (although I thoroughly enjoyed it here without kids too).

With so much to see and learn about, I think you could easily spend 2-3 hours here, and even longer if you take the time to read everything. Definitely don’t try to rush this attraction; there is so much to enjoy and the exhibits are beautifully done. Also be sure to hike up to the top floor, where you can get onto the roof for amazing views of the city and surrounding mountains.

The Museum is closed on Mondays, and open the rest of the week from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. It is $12.50 for an adult ticket.

Planning Your Trip to Colorado

My growing Guide to Colorado has a variety of posts on hiking and culture across the state to plan your trip. One of my most recent posts is on the small town of Golden, just outside of Denver. Learn more about Golden, CO and why you might want to visit.

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