By Steve Johnson
Larimer County Commissioner serving all of Larimer County.
Summer is my favorite time of the year. The days are longer, driving in snow is gone, and it’s warmer. But the main reason is all the fun things there are to do in Larimer County during the summer.
It’s a great time of the year to be outdoors. We have some very best parks and open spaces in the state. Horsetooth Reservoir is one of the most visited destinations in Colorado. This reservoir has it all: fishing, boating, camping, picnicking, swimming, paddle boarding, scuba diving, rock climbing, and water skiing. Check out the new Visitor Information Center’s displays or the recently added cabins you can stay in if you’ve had enough tent camping like me.
Horsetooth Mountain Open Space just west of the reservoir is our most popular open space. Its 29 miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails connect to the Blue Sky Trail and Lory State Park trails.
My favorite hike is to the top of Horsetooth Mountain. For a shorter hike, Horsetooth Falls will be especially beautiful with all the recent moisture we’ve had. Devil’s Backbone Open Space just west of Loveland has great trails and contains one of the most impressive and visible geologic landmarks in Larimer County.
I suggest you avoid the crowds and check out some of our hidden gems, our less visited open spaces like Red Mountain Open space 25 miles north of Fort Collins. It’s worth the trip, and you may even see the bison herd which roams there and on Soapstone Open Space. You can get more information on all of these options as well as see current trail conditions and parking availability in real-time by visiting www.larimer.org/naturalresources/parks.
The Larimer County Fair & Rodeo will be held at the Ranch Fairgrounds August 2-6th this year. The Fair offers entertainment, exhibits, animals, 4-H projects, food, a marketplace of great vendors, carnival rides, fireworks, and one of the best PRCA Rodeos in the nation. Best of all, parking and admission are free!
Every Saturday from now through October 26th stop by the Larimer County Courthouse in Fort Collins from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. for a wonderful Farmer’s Market. Support local producers offering fresh, delicious produce and fresh baked goods. You can even buy treats for your four-legged friends! With over 80 vendors you’ll also find craft goods, flowers, information about gardening, and live music. The market accepts SNAP benefits and will double the value of your food dollar. Tell them how much you want to spend with your EBT card, and they’ll give you double that in Double Up Food Bucks to spend at the market.
Summer is also a great time to get outside and work in the yard, too. If you’re like me, you probably need help with lawn and garden issues. In connection with Colorado State University Extension, over 120 Master Gardener volunteers can give you advice on your flowers, trees, shrubs, and garden.
Most important, remember to be safe in whatever you’re doing this summer. Remember to use care with combustible materials and be aware of proper water safety. Have a great summer! For more information on these and other summer fun ideas, visit www.larimer.org.