Last year, I traded the Appalachians for the Rockies and moved west to Fort Collins, Colorado. Boasting 300 days of sunshine per year and situated in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Fort Collins is the “Choice City” that many outdoor enthusiasts, like me, call home. Welcome to FoCo!
Starting high up in Rocky Mountain National Park and emerging just north of Fort Collins, the Cache la Poudre River drops 7,000 feet in elevation as it winds through Poudre Canyon. My first Colorado hikes took place on the canyon trails shared with campers, fly fishermen, rafters and kayakers alike.
2 | Bike Paths
When I moved to Fort Collins, a co-worker told me that there are two requirements for living here: owning a bike and owning a dog. I’m still working on the latter, though the bike paths in town are enough to stay occupied. Fort Collins is one of five platinum-rated bike-friendly communities in the U.S., with over 200 miles of dedicated bike lanes and 50 miles of marked or signed bike routes to explore.
3 | Horsetooth Reservoir
Named after the mountain that forms its western edge, the reservoir is surrounded by 1,900 acres of public lands — a go-to for boating, swimming, biking and rock climbing.
FUN FACT: Much of the water provided to eastern Colorado is diverted from the Western Slope under the Continental Divide and through a system of dams and canals. Water rights and conservation are hot topics as water becomes a more precious resource.
4 | Old Town
Put on the map when the railroad came to town in 1877, present-day Old Town was the business district of historic Fort Collins. Today, it’s the place to go for a night out, with more than 80 restaurants to choose from.
PRO TIP: Get an ice cream cone from Churn, a shop designed after an antique ice cream churn bucket, and stop into Sense of Place for a gift to take home.
5 | Breweries
The Napa Valley of Beer, the Brewmuda Triangle, the Craft Beer Capital of Colorado — there’s something about that Rocky Mountain water that attracts breweries to Fort Collins. The city ranks fourth in the nation for number of microbreweries per capita, with some of the big names including New Belgium Brewing, Anheuser-Busch and Odell Brewing Company.
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