While this recreation area may be about an hour north of Denver, it’s totally worth including for Denverites and visitors to the area, due to its multi-sport opportunities, world-class bouldering reputation, and the fact that it gives you an excuse to go to Fort Collins and visit the New Belgium Brewery - a critical part of any visit to the Front Range.
What Makes It Great
I actually learned to climb here, when I was attending Colorado State University in “the Fort” in the mid-1990’s. At that time the climbing and bouldering here was really just becoming known and quickly developing a following. Especially given the temperate climate and laid-back nature of Fort Collins, climbers just flocked here.
Regarding the climbing specifically, pick up a guidebook specific to Horsetooth at one of the outdoor shops in town, and you’ll easily find what you’re looking for. The climbs are all pretty straightforward and accessed right off the road. Other climbers can show you the bouldering areas vs. the top roping areas. We’re not talking about massive trad climbs here; it’s all under 40 or 60 feet, overlooking the Horsetooth Reservoir.
Who is Going to Love It
It’s gorgeous, I highly recommend a trip up here, even if it's not solely for climbing purposes, because there's also excellent fishing, swimming, camping, and hiking. The Inlet Trail and Foothills Trail, for example, are both beautiful, totaling about 3 miles between the two of them and offering great views of the six-mile-long reservoir and surrounding valley.