Guest post from fellow blogger and father, Andy Hawbaker, you can check out his site here and more information at the bottom of this post.
Coyote Ridge Natural Area is a wonderful spot for a fun family hike. My kids enjoyed seeing a snake, prairie dogs, and lots of birds. The Natural area is a City of Fort Collins Open Space located between Fort Collins and Loveland about 1 mile south of the Larimer County land fill. Visit the Larimer County Site for information about this trail.
This particular open space does not allow dogs and I have seen Fort Collins police ticketing people with dogs, so please leave the four legged ones at home.
Getting there: The Larimer County site provided this information on location. Coyote Ridge Natural Area is open to the public and is an example of a transition zone between grasslands and montane forests sometimes called montane shrublands. This property is located between Loveland and Fort Collins approximately 1 mile south of the Larimer County Landfill on the west side of County Road 19 (Taft Hill Road from Fort Collins - Wilson Street from Loveland)
It is an easy one mile hike up to a cabin where a restroom is available. There are informational signs located along the first part of this trail as it is often used for outdoor education programs for elementary students. If you continue hiking one more mile past the cabin, you will reach the top of the ridge. From the top of the ridge you can overlook all of Fort Collins and Loveland on a clear day. It is truly a beautiful spot to look back at the open plains and many lakes.
The trail continues on from the overlook down into the valley and connects with the Blue Sky Trail. You could follow the Blue Sky Trail north to Lory State Park or south to Devil’s Backbone Open Space.
The area is dry and open grass land. There are very few trees but it is precious habitat for rattle snakes, prairie dogs, spotted skunks, coyotes, mule deer, golden eagles, bald eagles, hawks, and other birds. This is truly a gem and easily accessible for families to get out and enjoy the natural areas along the Colorado Front Range.
-Andy Hawbaker lives in Northern Colorado with his wife and two daughters. As a family they enjoy hiking, camping, and exploring the Rocky Mountains. He blogs about the outdoors at http://hub.sierratradingpost.com
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