Horsetooth Mountain is a beautiful mountain located just west of Fort Collins in Larimer County, Colorado. This is a heavily trafficed mountain in the Front Range of the Colorado Rockies with views of Horsetooth Reservoir, Fort Collins, and larger peaks to the west (including Longs Peak).
Difficulty – Intermediate
Distance – 5 miles round trip (8.04 km)
Height – 7,259 feet (2,213 m)
Elevation Gain – 1,400 feet (426.7 m)
Duration – 4 to 5 hours
Seasons – Year-round.
Trailhead Location – Horsetooth Mountain Open Space
There are quite a few paths to the summit of Horsetooth Mountain. Hikers can easily make a loop out of any of these trails by following a trail map like above. You will also see on the trail map where hikers can start on a trial, switch to another where they meet up, and continue on. An example would be starting on the south ridge trail, and then taking the Horsetooth Rock Trail to the summit.
It is also important to note that some trails are “multi-use” meaning, you will see bikers or horse riders.
Horsetooth Rock Trail – 2.5 miles to summit
This is the most common and direct route to the summit. Hikers begin at the right end of the parking lot on the trail, and stay on the trail all the way to the summit. You will cross various junctions, Horsetooth falls, South Ridge Trail, and the Soderberg trail. Often, hikers will see Mule Deer, and views are abundant all the way up.
Horsetooth Falls Trail – 3.5 miles to summit
This is a very well trafficked trail for hikers looking to see Horsetooth falls. When dry, the rock formations are cool, but not nearly as nice during more wet months. Hikers begin hiking on the Horsetooth Rock Trail, but turn right onto the falls trail. Hikers will then connect with the Spring Creek Trail, then turn onto the Soderberg Trail, before returning back to the Horsetooth Rock Trail.
South Ridge Trail – 2.6 miles to summit (multi-use trail)
This is also a well trafficked trail. This trail features great views the whole way, but it is also a shared path with bikers and horse riders. A great option is to start on the South Ridge, and then turn onto the horsetooth rock trail.
Directions & Parking
Hikers park at the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space area managed by Larimer County. Hikers will need to either pay a $9 daily parking fee, or have a Larimar county yearly permit. These can be found here.
Current Weather Conditions
Here is the next 4 day detailed forecast:
Fort Collins, CO
Mostly sunny. High near 50, with temperatures falling to around 40 in the afternoon. West wind 6 to 10 mph, with gusts as high as 16 mph.
Partly cloudy, with a low around 28. West wind around 6 mph.
Mostly sunny. High near 51, with temperatures falling to around 43 in the afternoon. Southwest wind 2 to 6 mph.
A slight chance of snow showers after 5am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 31. West wind around 3 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.
A chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 45. West southwest wind 2 to 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.
A slight chance of snow showers before 11pm. Partly cloudy, with a low around 27. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 48.