Horsetooth Falls near Fort Collins, Colorado

Horsetooth Falls are located in the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space west of the reservoir of the same name and the city of Fort Collins, Colorado. A 1.2 mile trail leads from a large parking area, with restrooms, running water, and maps, to a forty foot tall (approx.) waterfall in the foothills. The trail winds up and down gentle hills, over a wooden footbridge, and past a few benches on its way to the falls. Views of snow-capped mountains can be seen to the west and the plains and red rock cliffs can be seen to the east. The Horsetooth Falls Trail is a hiking only trail. Pets are allowed.

Horsetooth Falls

To reach the trailhead to the falls, head west from Fort Collins on W County Road 38E (W. Harmony in Fort Collins) for about six miles (from S. Taft Hill Rd.) and look for the parking area on the right. There is a fee of six dollars per vehicle to enter the park. Credit cards and cash can be used at a payment kiosk upon entrance. On nice days and especially weekends, the parking area can be crowded. When I went, I had to drive around the lot several times waiting for an open space. If you’re looking for a secluded hike, Horsetooth Falls may not be ideal for you.

The trail starts out going uphill, drops into a valley where it crosses a small bridge, and then heads back uphill on the other side. the trail splits towards the top of the hill. A sign directs hikers to the top or bottom of the falls. At the top of the falls, the stream cascades into a few rocky pools and colorful cliffs can be seen to the east. At the bottom there’s a bench to sit and view the waterfall. The volume of water coming over the falls varies greatly depending on the time of year and recent precipitation. As can be seen in the photos, the waterfall wasn’t much more than a trickle in early April (2013).

The Horsetooth Falls Trail is only one of many trails in the Horsetooth Mountain Park. Twenty-six miles of trails traverse the park. Many are open to mountain biking and horseback riding. Camping is prohibited, but is allowed at Lory State Park which borders Horsetooth Mountain Open Space to the north.

Related posts – Bobcat Ridge Open Space (about 4 miles south of Horsetooth Mountain Park)

Horsetooth Falls Trail west of Fort Collins, Colorado

Horsetooth Falls Trail west of Fort Collins, Colorado

top of Horsetooth Falls

A pool near the top of Horsetooth Falls

View of red cliffs from the Horsetooth Falls Trail

View from the Horsetooth Falls Trail

Climbers near Horsetooth Falls

People climbing the rocks beside Horsetooth Falls

Flowers on the way to Horsetooth Falls

Signs of spring at Horsetooth Mountain Park

Trail to Horsetooth Falls near Fort Collins

Horsetooth Falls Trail near Horsetooth Reservoir

Peas of the Rockies to the west of Horsetooth Falls Trail

Horsetooth Falls Trail and the Rocky mountains to the west.

Footbridge on the trail to Horsetooth Falls

Bridge along the trail to the falls

One thought on “Horsetooth Falls near Fort Collins, Colorado

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge