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Horsetooth Falls Out and Back

Intermediate
 4.1 (18) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

This short route is the perfect way to spend time in the park and leads to a scenic waterfall.


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Map Key

2.3

Miles

3.7

KM

88%

Runnable

5,894' 1,796 m

High

5,727' 1,746 m

Low

378' 115 m

Up

379' 116 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (4°)

19%

Max Grade (11°)

Dogs Unknown

Features River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers

Overview

Visitors who are seeking a quick outing in Lory State Park won't be disappointed with this great out and back. The route provides runners with all of the highlights of the park including solitude, great views, and a variety of terrain without being too long or strenuous.

Need to Know

The best time of year to see the falls in their full glory is the spring, but this can make a pleasant outing any time of year.

Runner Notes

This shorter route has a lot of pay off, as you'll get a glimpse of a scenic waterfall in addition to your workout. This trail is pretty popular on the weekends, so be prepared and come early.

Description

To begin, access the route from the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space Trailhead, located at the southern end of the park. There is a large parking area with plenty of room, so it's unlikely that you'll be pressed to find a parking space. Picnic tables and a restroom are available.

Begin your journey by looking for signage for the Horsetooth Rock Trail. This trail can be found at the northeastern side of the parking lot, and will head northeast. You'll only be on this trail for a short while before the Horsetooth Falls Trail branches off to the east at a switchback. Take this trail to work your way out to the falls.

Along the Horsetooth Falls Trail, you'll enjoy a gentle downward slope, making the route to the falls easy and fast. The mile-long trail will wind through the high prairie at first, but will eventually make its way along a creek drainage. Enjoy the lush grasses through this section!

Near the approach to the Horsetooth Falls Spur, you'll descend into the Spring Creek Canyon, which is a novelty for runners of all ages. The canyon walls rise on both sides of the trail, providing interesting geologic features and pleasant shade in the summer months. Soon enough, take the spur trail that heads west to the waterfall to complete the outward bound trip.

Especially in the spring, the delicate falls are a lovely sight! Though the water doesn't thunder over the precipice, the gentle sound of the falls are a soothing treat. Even if the creek that feeds the fall is but a trickle, the pool at the bottom is still scenic.

Once you've enjoyed your time at the falls, you can head back the way you came. Visitors looking for a longer adventure can take the Spring Creek Trail to create a longer loop.

Flora & Fauna

Wildflowers fill the meadows surrounding these trails seasonally. Keep an eye out for deer in the area.

Contacts

Land Manager: Larimer County, Colorado

Shared By:

Mikhaila Redovian

Trail Ratings

  4.1 from 18 votes

#1991

Overall
  4.1 from 18 votes
5 Star
28%
4 Star
56%
3 Star
11%
2 Star
6%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#278

in Colorado

#1,991

Overall
60 Views Last Month
3,265 Since Oct 7, 2016
Intermediate

11%
0%
83%
0%
6%
0%

Photos

Horsetooth Mountain Park, Fort Collins, CO.
Feb 23, 2019 near Bellvue, CO
Horsetooth Falls – well-maintained trail.
Oct 9, 2016 near Laporte, CO
Approaching the Horsetooth Falls
Mar 18, 2019 near Bellvue, CO
Horsetooth Mountain Park, Fort Collins, Colorado.
Feb 23, 2019 near Bellvue, CO
Rocks on the trail that look like steps.
Aug 9, 2017 near Bellvue, CO
Trail back from Horsetooth Falls.
Oct 9, 2016 near Laporte, CO

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Dec 17, 2018
Natalie Hyde