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Fort Collins Foothills Route Description

Ride north on Overland Trail, around Lee Lake, to where the road turns and heads due west. After about 0.1 miles, Overland Trail turns and heads north again - Michaud Lane forks off and continues west here. Follow it to the west, you'll find the Reservoir Ridge trailhead (aka: Lottery Trail) at the end of the road. (reset your odometer here)


Cross the bridge, and follow the trail southwest. The surface starts out easy, but becomes rocky very quickly...


The trail begins climbing more steeply as you get closer to the ridgeline. After 0.7 miles, another trail comes in from the left. Either direction will take you to the top of the ridge, I'll describe the route that continues straight. The trail climbs up a steep, loose grade until it reaches the top of the ridge. It dips briefly into little hollow before climbing again to a vantage point that offers views of Horsetooth Dam and the valley below.


From here, the trail descends and turns to the south. After 1.6 miles, it crosses the trail rising up from the Reservoir Ridge trailhead on Centennial Drive - continue straight until the trail empties out onto the pavement. Cross the road and take the first trail visible on the right through Skyline Picnic Area. Now in the Horsetooth Reservoir park, This trail follows the road for a short distance, then drops steeply...


Follow this narrow trail until it approaches Soldier Canyon Dam, then scramble up to the road. Cross the dam on the road, and begin climbing on the other side until the trail takes off again on the right. This trail drops away from the road down to a section known as Shoreline Trail...


This trail runs right along the edge of the normal waterline, and has become a bit sketchy... This area is prone to erosion, and large sections of the trail are beginning to slough off into the basin of the reservoir - be careful here. After 4.1 miles, the main trail leaves the edge of the water and begins to climb through the brush. After a very steep switchback and a rock ledge, the trail approaches the top of the ridge and empties into a parking lot.


Cross the parking lot here and look for a trail that drops down off the east side of the road. Drop to the bottom of the embankment and take the switchback to the left at 4.8 miles (now entering Maxwell openspace). follow the trail north for a short distance, and then turn to the east at 4.9 miles. Shortly, the trail comes to the edge of a steep descent.


Ride down this technical descent until you reach the valley floor. Follow the main trail as it continues to the south. The trail reaches County Road 42C after 6.4 miles, cross the road here and enter a wooded area at the north end of Dixon Reservoir.

This is Pineridge Natural Area, and it's criss-crossed by many trails - the map may be especially helpful here. Take the trails that stay to the west until you emerge from the trees. Next, take the trail that follows the shoreline at the base of the hill in front of you. Ride around the hill, through a rocky section and over a small bridge. At 6.9 miles, take a side trail that climbs off the main trail to the right. Follow this trail through a rocky section and along the edge of the trees.

(45K) (67K)

After 8.2 miles, the trail turns east, crosses the valley, then veers to the north.


At this point the ride is essentially done - there are several ways to exit the area. The first right turn after you've reached the east side of the valley climbs steeply over the eastern ridge and drops to the Southwest Regional Park trailhead. The next right climbs more gradually over the ridge and delivers you to Cottonwood Glen Park. You could also contine north around the other side of Dixon Reservoir and back out to County Road 42C.

The possibilities are numerous, take the map along and have fun exploring...

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Last updated Wednesday, June 15, 2005, 04:53:38 PM, -0400