What are the Best Running Spots in Fort Collins?

Whether you’re an experienced runner or someone trying to get into it, you know that where you run is a big factor in the quality of the experience. Having a convenient running route or fun trail can make all the difference! I rated these running spots around Fort Collins on a few things I find valuable as not only a runner who loves to get out in the mountains but also as a working student, which makes my schedule quite busy. This helped me create the categories that would determine when I would be able to get to these trails and how many types of runs they can accommodate, accessibility, parking and bathroom, views, and distance versatility. I hope this is helpful to anyone who is looking to enjoy all the routes available in Fort Collins!

Spring Canyon Park

Spring Canyon Park

Spring Canyon Park

View of Trails Connecting to Spring Canyon Park | Kaitlin Carmel, All Trails, 2017

The versatility and accessibility of this park is what puts it at the top of my list, personally. Whether you prefer trails, pavement, or even crushed gravel; Spring Canyon has it all. There are trails that start from the park and go toward Pineridge natural area as well as through Maxwell Natural Area and up to Horsetooth. In addition to the trails, the paved Spring Creek Trail around the park stretches for miles on either side of the park (about 12 miles). Although it can get busy when the weather is nice, the perks of having readily available bathrooms and free parking makes it worth it, plus, it’s only a 10-minute drive from Runners Roost!

Poudre River Trail

Poudre River Trail

Poudre River Trail

Segment of Poudre River Trail | Photo by Roamin’ with the Romes 2022

The Poudre is a paved path that often has crushed gravel running alongside it. This path runs east to west through town and past one of my favorite dirt roads called Rawhide Rd. Poudre River Trail runs for 21 miles and has many access points and bathrooms along the way. Whether you’re doing a short easy run or looking for a place to crush a long run, Poudre Trail is a great place to get your miles in.

Redstone Canyon Dirt Road

Redstone Canyon Dirt Road

Redstone Canyon Dirt Road

Redstone Canyon Road | Photo by Sarah Woods 2023

Just a 20–30-minute drive outside downtown Fort Collins is Redstone Canyon. With views of the exposed red rocks behind Horsetooth Reservoir, it’s a run on a winding dirt road, slightly uphill on the way out, and slightly downhill on the way back. This makes for a fun run with spectacular views and typically mild-er weather, being at a higher elevation. While this spot is a personal favorite of mine, it comes with some flaws. It is a bit out of the way if you’re in a time pinch and there are not a ton of options to run a longer route than 13 miles. While there is plenty of parking along the main paved road, there are no bathrooms. Probably the worst thing about this route is that although it is a public road the locals who live here are pretty grumpy about runners utilizing it, so make sure to stay to the side because they will NOT slow down.

Reservoir Ridge

Reservoir Ridge

Reservoir Ridge

Reservoir Ridge trail | Photo by Sarah Woods 2023

Reservoir Ridge

Reservoir Ridge

Reservoir Ridge trail | Photo by Sarah Woods 2023

Reservoir Ridge is a trailhead that connects to Maxwell Open Space as well as the trails that go down to Horsetooth. This trailhead is a convenient access point for the mountains because of the parking lot and bathrooms at the trailhead and the proximity to town. You get a great bang for your buck with how quick it is to get to the mountains from this trail!

Blue Sky Trail

Blue Sky Trail

Blue Sky Trail

Blue Sky Trail | Photo by Sarah Woods 2023

Blue Sky Trail is just west of Horsetooth Reservoir and has beautiful views of exposed red rock contrasted with surrounding greenery. This singletrack trail is a little longer than 15 miles out and back, and connects to surrounding trails. You can even connect it all the way to Devil’s Backbone! This trail usually has a few runners and mountain bikers but has a good-sized parking lot and bathroom at the trailhead. Keep in mind that this is a trail that requires purchase of a day pass or possession of the State Parks Pass.

Trail Accessibility Parking & Bathroom Views Distance Versatility

Total Score

Spring Canyon Park 10 10 8 10 38/40
Poudre River Trail 10 9 7 10 36/40
Redstone Canyon 7 5 10 7 29/40
Reservoir Ridge 9 10 10 9 38/40
Blue Sky Trail 7 7 9 8 31/40

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