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Horsetooth Mountain Park. Twenty-nine miles of trails in Horsetooth Mountain Park offer easy to difficult hikes, some with views of the mountains to the west and the plains to the east. An easy 2.25-mile round-trip walk to Horsetooth Falls is a good hike that takes you into the foothills for a couple of hours. From the parking area, head up the Horsetooth Falls Trail and keep right at the junction with the Soderberg Trail. Go left at the next junction to get to the falls. Drive west on Harmony Rd., which becomes County Rd. 38E. Follow for about 5 miles to park entrance, Fort Collins, CO, 80526. 970/679–4570. www.larimer.org/parks/htmp.htm. $6 per vehicle.
Lory State Park. Wildlife, songbirds, and springtime wildflowers abound along the trails in Lory State Park, about 15 minutes west of downtown. 708 Lodgepole Dr., Bellvue, CO, 80512. Drive north on Overland Trail and turn left on Bingham Hill Rd. Turn left at County Rd. 23 north and go 1.3 miles to County. Rd. 25G and turn right. It's 1½ miles to park entrance. 970/493–1623. parks.state.co.us/Parks/lory. $9 per vehicle.
Arthur's Rock Trail. For unbelievable views of the Front Range and the city from 7,000-foot Arthur's Rock, take Arthur's Rock Trail. You climb fast on the switchbacks in the sparse woods before the trail levels off to cross the meadow, a breather before the final steep approach to the summit. Allow about two to three hours to hike the trail (3.4 miles round-trip and about 1,300 feet gain in elevation). Watch for poison ivy and be mindful of the occasional rattlesnake. Trailhead: Parking area at end of service road, Fort Collins, 80512.
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