Join me for my fourth entry in the series Footrails and Food in Fort Collins! I’ve got loads of suggestions for restaurants across the city in this post, along with some great, in-town hiking options. The trails included here range from city park trails to great training options at the edge of town. Give it all a try here!

Hiking

River’s Edge and Salyer Natural Areas

hiking in Fort Collins

(c) ABR 2022

River’s Edge and Salyer Natural Areas are linked to eachother via Lee Martinez Park. All together, these make for a great place to walk. There are great views of the Poudre River. And loads of of options for side trails and places to sit and take it all in. Throughout the seasons, you can see different kinds of wildlife – from birds to mammals and of course, all the little guys too (insects, reptiles, etc.).

As long as you respect seasonal signage for sensitive wildlife, this is also a great area for walking your dog. With bridges, nice flat trails, and views of the river, it’s a nice place to come with the family too. (Just mind the water!).

hiking in Fort Collins

(c) ABR 2022

Unsurprisingly, there is also a lot to do in Lee Martinez Park. It’s a really big area with playgrounds, links to the Poudre River Trail, and even a farm!

If you want to make the day of it, you can get a meal in Old Town and then spend some time strolling through the park and natural areas with a warm drink in hand.

There is no fee to visit these areas!

Reservoir Ridge Natural Area

hiking in Fort Collins

(c) ABR 2022

Reservoir Ridge has a very nice lollipop route which I use for training somewhat regularly. The trail is about 3.6 miles and involves about 400 ft of elevation gain. There are several access points to this natural area, but I typically park near the lake and leave from there. This trailhead has a bathroom and trail map. Out of the parking lot, the trail is fairly flat for a time, before you start ascending the hills. The route will loop around the top of one of the hills. I typically travel clockwise on this route, but either way is fine. Around the back of the hill, you will catch some beautiful views of Horseshoe Reservoir and the mountains. I’ve also enjoyed running into a small herd of deer on this trail, especially in the winter.

hiking in Fort Collins

(c) ABR 2022

It’s important to check the City’s website for this natural area, or CoTrex for trail conditions before heading out to Reservoir Ridge. They often close this park for mud, particularly in the winter. It’s important to respect closures to protect the trail and the surrounding lands, but it’s also good to stay out of trouble.

It’s free to visit!

Soaring Vista Natural Area

hiking in Fort Collins

(c) ABR 2022

I’m going to be honest, Soaring Vista Natural Area is misnamed, in my opinion. I think it is great that the City of Fort Collins is looking to preserve landscapes that aren’t as charismatic as some of the others. But in terms of hiking… this spot is not somewhere that I would come back to. There is a very small loop trail here that is 1 mile. It crosses through flat prairie, ringed by neighborhoods. In terms of experience, this is a better spot for a neighborhood walk than a hike.

That all being said, there is more than meets the eye here! And even if it isn’t a great hiking location, it is an important piece of land. There is a wetland in one corner, and the City also uses it for some agriculture. Farming is a very important element of Fort Collins history, and key to the well-being of our community.

hiking in Fort Collins

(c) ABR 2022

The approximate address is 4200 E County Rd 30, Fort Collins, and Google managed to get me here.

It is free to visit! 

Food

Colorado Kolache Company

(c) ABR 2022

Before I came to Colorado, I had never had a kolache, and that is sad to say, because I am half Polish. Now, the treats at Colorado Kolache Company aren’t Polish, but they are SO good. They bake both savory and sweet kolaches, and their flavors shift a bit with the season. This is a favorite spot for me and many others, so if you are looking for the most variety and options, be sure to come in the morning.

Address: 1717 S College Ave, Fort Collins, CO 80525

The Colorado Room

The Colorado Room is a great place to go if you are looking for sliders, sandwiches, and a nice tap selection. They are perched right across from CSU, so it can get a bit busy, and they have a small place. However, I love the rotation of seasonal sandwiches and complex combination of flavors that they come up with.

Address: 642 S College Ave, Fort Collins, CO 80524

Nuance Chocolate

(c) ABR 2022

It pays to have a world class chocolatier calling your town home. And lucky for me, Fort Collins has just that. Tucked back on the northern edge of Old Town, Nuance Chocolate is a must-visit. They sell many varieties of chocolate, from truffles, to chocolate bars, to drinking chocolate and more. The people that work here are also very knowledgeable and can answer all of your questions about their selection. I like coming here as a special treat and I love bringing visitors to try their luscious, hometown confections.

My only complaint about Nuance is that when they get busy, the small store can get a bit crazy. The last time I was there, it was packed with people Christmas shopping and I got cut in line trying to pay – twice. If you’d like to go in and chat with the chocolatier and Nuance staff, you might try to visit right when they open.

Address: 214 Pine St, Fort Collins, CO 80524

Persimmon

(c) ABR 2022

I had Persimmon in Old Town suggested to me by a friend, so I went in expecting a lot. (And they have really good reviews!) However, for a dinner spot, I wouldn’t suggest it. When I visited, I got a cocktail, a sandwich and soup. The cocktail was just fine, but I was not a fan of the food at all. In particular, the tomato soup that I got was just like eating tomato sauce. And the sandwich was very salty. To add insult to injury, it was not a cheap meal, considering what we got.

Since their reviews are actually really great, I might think that I ordered wrong when I visited. So, you might still consider giving it a try. As for me, I don’t think I will be going back unless I go with my friend and they steer me right. Let me know if you’ve been and gotten something better!

Address: 251 Jefferson St, Fort Collins, CO 80524

They are closed Sundays and Mondays.

Rally 5

(c) ABR 2022

Rally 5 is one of a few restaurants in town that are run by the same company. They aren’t actually one of my favorites. They’ve got a very… franchise-like feel to their interior. However, I really appreciate their seasonal menus, and American favorites. It makes them a nice spot to come if you’ve got folks more interested in burgers with just a little flare for Northern Colorado flavors. I am particularly fond of their bison chili. One thing I would avoid is getting cocktails here though, especially if you are one for the craft cocktail scene. They aren’t really worth the price. They kind of feature their tiki drinks, but I don’t consider this a tiki spot either.

Address: 2310 E Harmony Rd, Fort Collins, CO 80528

The Regional

(c) ABR 2022

The Regional is a beautiful little restaurant that is tucked one road back from the main street of Old Town. They serve farm-to-table style and have both breakfast and lunch/dinner offerings. For me, they are my favorite spot for breakfast. And I especially love their biscuits and gravy. They also have really tasty cocktails, and run an oyster bar.

Address: 130 S Mason St, Fort Collins, CO 80524

Taqueria Los Comales

(c) ABR 2022

Los Comales is my favorite Mexican restaurant in Fort Collins, hands down. It has its own twist on the cuisine, but it is far more familiar and authentic to this Arizonan than a lot of the other Mexican food I’ve tried in FOCO. (No shade!) They’ve got chilaquiles, soups, tacos, enchiladas, and all the typical Mexican goodies. And their plates even have a little bit of a kick, which isn’t so common in Coloradan Mexican food, especially here in Fort Collins.

I am also crazy for their cocktail menu! They used to carry a cocktail that had Bacanora, and even now, their cocktails have regional Mexican inspirations. The balance of flavors are great, and far more complex than the margarita-heavy selections that I have found elsewhere in the city.

This place tastes like home to me. I adore it!

Address: 1094, 111 W Prospect Rd # A, Fort Collins, CO 80525

Union Bar and Soda Fountain

(c) ABR 2022

Union is a modern Americana restaurant. They’ve got a really nice selection of cocktails, and I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve gotten off of their menu. Although, my favorite thing to get there is a tuna melt sandwich with shoestring fries, with fried cauliflower for an appetizer. It’s also got nice, big interior and exterior sitting area. So, no matter the weather, it’s a nice place to stop by. Surprisingly, I’ve never explored their “soda fountain” options.

Address: 250 Jefferson St, Fort Collins, CO 80524

Other Guides to Fort Collins

This guide is the fourth in a series about Footrails and Food in Fort Collins.

If you’d like to check out the other ones:

Part 1 includes information on hiking at Pineridge Natural Area, Riverbend Ponds, Arapaho Bend Natural Area.

Part 2 has got you covered for trails at Fossil Creek Reservoir, Maxwell Natural Area, Environmental Learning Center, and Kingfisher Point.

Part 3 takes you out into Pinewood Reservoir and Ramsay-Shockey Open Space, and the Coterie and Spring Creek Trail.

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