Getting Outdoors in Northern Colorado
Summer is here. The outdoors beckons. Mind that calling and you’ll be rewarded with various health benefits as well as a boatload of fun. Here are four great activities that you can participate in this summer…
Get out into nature and see new things all while bettering your body and your mind through various health benefits including:
- Lower risk of heart disease
- Builds strength in your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and the muscles in your hips and lower legs
- Improves blood pressure and blood sugar levels
- Fresh air and a good source of vitamin D from the sun
- Great cardiovascular exercise
Northern Colorado has some of the best easy and accessible options for hiking so all can enjoy. Grab some friends or family, make sure you wear proper footwear, bring sunscreen, water, and experience some of these great locations for yourself and your health!
Lory State Park - Bellvue
Variety of trails great for short or long hikes, mountain bike rides, horseback rides, bike rides, and trail runs. Trails range in difficulty, choose the best for you!
Horsetooth Mountain and Open Space - Fort Collins
29 miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails connect to the Blue Sky Trail and Lory State Park trails. Beautiful views and great for a family hike.
Oxbow Natural Area - Loveland
Surrounded by the beautiful Mariana Butte golf course, the Oxbow Natural Area is great for hiking, biking (on designated trails), and fishing.
Kingfisher Point Natural Area - Fort Collins
Recreationists on the Poudre River Trail, anglers and people looking for a nature break in the city enjoy Kingfisher Point Natural Area.
You may think of fishing as a hobby, a way to unwind, or even a way to put food on the table but did you know that you also receive health benefits from fishing? These effects on both the body and the mind include:
- Exercise such as low impact cardio
- Combats stress and anxiety
- Improves your concentration and patience
- Builds strong relationship bonds with friends and family
You may have to make an investment to acquire fishing gear, however, that gear can last upwards of 20 years allowing plenty of opportunities to maintain good health and have a blast. If you are 16-year-old or older, you will also need a fishing license. Just like hiking here in Northern Colorado, we are extremely lucky to have plenty of great lakes, ponds, and reservoirs to fish in. Get out and enjoy yourself!
Boyd Lake State Park - Loveland
The park is packed with visitors actively fishing from shore or fishing from a boat. Great family-friendly location allows for the whole family to have a great time. Fish species include walleye, white bass, catfish, and trout.
Sheldon Lake (City Park Lake) - Fort Collins
Sheldon Lake is a great family friendly fishing environment and is usually dotted with anglers most days of the year. Fish species include Bass, sunfish, crappie, trout, and channel catfish.
Prospect Ponds Natural Area - Fort Collins
There are several ponds as well as the Poudre River running through the natural area to fish. Anglers catch species such as largemouth bass, crappie, and channel catfish in the ponds and trout in the river.
North Shields Ponds Natural Area - Fort Collins
Popular for Anglers with the Poudre River running just south of the area allows for fishing of both. Fish species include black bullhead, channel catfish, bluegill, hybrid sunfishes, largemouth bass, and black crappie.
Biking is a healthy and fun activity for people of all ages. You may not feel it but biking is a vigorous activity that helps to promote fitness and general health, including some benefits like:
- Strengthening of the heart muscles and reducing your resting pulse to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases
- Increasing muscular strength and flexibility
- Decreasing body fat levels
- Improved posture and coordination
- Prevention or management of diseases
Most natural areas include trails compatible with biking, but you can also simply ride your bike to work or wherever you are headed. Remember to stay safe by wearing a helmet and pads, staying hydrated, and paying attention to your surroundings.
Poudre Trail - Fort Collins
Friendly to walkers, bikers, and horseback riders. This asphalt trail spans 12.3 miles all the way from Bellevue in northwest Fort Collins to the CSU Environmental Learning Center.
Fossil Creek Trail - Fort Collins
Offers over 8 miles of paved pathway (in two disconnected segments) on the southside of Fort Collins. Connects western Fort Collins with south-eastern Fort Collins.
Spring Creek Trail - Fort Collins
A 7.9-mile asphalt trail that’s popular to bikers and walkers. Running right through the heart of Fort Collins the trail connects plenty of destinations as well as provides great scenery along the way.
Recreation Trail - Loveland
A 19-mile loop from Wilson Avenue along the Big Thompson River, the route carries riders through fields, over and under streets, and along the Big Thompson River, north to Boyd Lake State Park and west to Highway 287.
Soak in the sun with your favorite water activity. Traversing yourself through a body of water is the perfect way to get some fresh air and exceptional views. These activities provide great low-impact alternatives to running, biking, and hiking.
- Great low impact cardio workout, reduces risk for cardiovascular diseases
- Builds muscle all over the body
- Stress reduction and mental clarity
- Plenty of Vitamin D, allowing for natural growth and development of bones
- Improving blood pressure and heart rate by clearing your lungs with fresh air
A great amount of Natural spaces in Northern Colorado are multi-purpose including water activities of any kind however there are some locations that are better than most. Remember to wear sunscreen, stay hydrated, and follow local guidelines in order to ensure your safety.
Windsor Lake - Windsor
This Location provides several family-friendly activities including paddle boarding, kayaking, swimming, canoeing, fishing, and much more. Right in the heart of Windsor, you will find the excursion you are seeking.
Horsetooth Reservoir - Bellvue
6.5 miles of water attracts many people for activities such as paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing, and many more. You will find yourself right next to Lory State Park and Horsetooth Mountain Space.
Boyd Lake - Loveland
A family-oriented site, with a 1700 acre reservoir friendly to all water activities including, paddle boarding, paddle boating, canoeing, or kayaking. No matter what activity floats your boat, you can participate at Boyd Lake.
Dixon Reservoir - Fort Collins
Just south of the CSU Foothills Campus and the Maxwell Natural Area, tucked into the Pineridge Natural Area Dixon Reservoir is a great spot for water activities of any kind, as well as a multi-purpose natural area including a popular fishing and hiking area.