There are more than 50 natural areas encompassing over 36,000 acres and 100 miles of trails near Fort Collins. These lands are maintained by The City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department. The 2019 resource guide is out and there are a few changes to note, and a lot of great information to consider, before enjoying the lands.
Tracks & Trails is Now the Natural Areas Explorer
The free guide, Natural Areas Explorer outlines free activities this summer in Fort Collins natural areas. Something to do for everyone from Skygazing to Nature Play Dates for kids, plus a Science Behind the Scenery series, outdoor art classes, and so much more.
The Explorer has trail recommendations and stewardship tips. Registration is required and new this year, registration opens 30 days prior to the activity.
As stewards of the land show responsibility and care for these special places. Many opportunities to share your time and talents as a natural areas volunteer. Volunteer days and events can be found on the calendar.
BUDDING YOUNG NATURALISTS
There are events for little ones to learn about nature through stories, activities, nature walks, and hands-on projects. Parents/guardians must be present at all times. Organized groups should schedule activities at a separate time. For the wee ones under 8.
JUNIOR NATURALISTS ages 8-12 can become a Junior Naturalist by attending all activities and receive a Junior Naturalist Certificate. One activity may be substituted by attending another activity in this booklet. Parents/guardians must be present at all times. Siblings are welcome, but the activities will be geared towards the stated age group. Organized groups should schedule activities at a separate time; contact
ROOTS Club youth 14-18 will establish ROOTS in your community. Participate in grass-ROOTS stewardship efforts. Stay true to your ROOTS while branching out with new friends. ROOTS meets Fridays, June 7- August 16, 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. ROOTS is for all youth 14-18 years old. Free, transportation is provided.
NATURAL AREAS AFTER DARK
Full moons hikes, campfires, and stargazing with the rangers is a superb way to enjoy the natural areas after the sun goes down. Throughout the summer months, there are plenty of scheduled events. Spend a cozy evening by the campfire, complete with stories and s’ mores. Suitable for all ages. Walks are offered near the full moon with lots of natural light—no need for flashlights. Enjoy a brief, family friendly astronomy activity followed by skygazing.
SCIENCE BEHIND THE SCENERY
These informative talks are designed for adults to learn more about research and science related to natural areas.
VOICES OF THE PAST
From ancient to modern times, northern Colorado has been a great place to live. Discover people of the past that have lived in and shaped the community.
CREATIVE BY NATURE
Focused and guided observations along with drawing, painting, and writing deepen your connection to nature. No art experience required. Beginners and veterans welcome.
Enjoy a variety of activities and hikes with trained naturalists.
GEOLOGY AND ECOLOGY EXPLORATIONS
Explore with experts in geology and ecology to uncover the secrets of the oldest to youngest rocks in Fort Collins.
Learn about some of the unique species that live in or migrate through Northern Colorado and the efforts to protect them. Our natural areas are full of diverse wildlife.
TEN YEARS AT SOAPSTONE PRAIRIE
Fort Collins natural areas are open from 5 a.m. until 11 p.m. except for Bobcat Ridge, Gateway, Reservoir Ridge, and Soapstone Prairie natural areas which are open dawn to dusk. Soapstone Prairie is closed December–February
For maps, calendars and more resources, download the Explorer booklet online now.
Printed copies available mid-May at natural area trailheads, Natural Areas Department headquarters (1745 Hoffman Mill Road, M-F, 8-5), and local businesses.