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Landscape. A road runs along the left side of the frame, and a dry field along the right.

Looking for local route recommendations? We got you. This is a curated collection of the very best road, mountain, and family rides in the area, complete with digital route maps!

Spring Canyon and Edora Park

Distance: 13.9
Elevation gain: 306
Difficulty: Easy

This route showcases some of the reasons the League of American Bicyclists designates Fort Collins as a platinum level bicycle-friendly community, and why the city earned the top spot in PeopleForBikes’ city ratings. You’ll cruise along some of the prettiest car-free bike paths in Fort Collins, including Power Trail and Spring Creek Trail. The route winds through residential neighborhoods and the city’s park system where you can picnic and use the restrooms. Start and finish at Boltz Middle School.

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Boltz Middle School

Distance: 16.4
Elevation gain: 340
Difficulty: Easy

This nearly pancake-flat route through south Fort Collins makes for a reliable, low-stress weekday lunchtime ride. You’ll pedal a combination of designated bike lanes and paved, car-free bike paths, including Mason Trail and the Fossil Creek Trail extension, a 1.7 mile paved recreational trial that connects the east and west sides of the city via a newly completed 14-foot tunnel/railway underpass. Start and finish at Boltz Middle School.

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Edora/Cathy Fromme Prairie Loop

Distance: 17.5
Elevation gain: 499
Difficulty: Easy

If your time is limited but you want a quintessential Fort Collins spin that proves why this city is consistently named one of the best places in the country to ride, this loop’s a great choice. You’ll get great views and little to no traffic, and you’ll pass through The Gardens on Spring Creek—a true local treasure. Plus, most of the loop winds through FoCo’s parks and green spaces on car-free bike path, making it an excellent go-to when you want to clear your head or just do a chill ride.

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Fort Collins East

Distance: 18.3
Elevation gain: 297
Difficulty: Easy

Super flat. Super chill. A classic easy FoCo ride with a few bike paths, some bike lanes, and plenty of food stops along the way. You’ll ride through two adjacent preserves that together form one of the city’s best greenspaces for bird watching. Riverbend Ponds and Kingfisher Point Natural Areas feature several ponds and wetland trails where you can explore and look for native species like osprey, screech owl, and red-winged blackbird. Start and finish at Boltz Middle School.

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Fort Collins North

Distance: 18.9
Elevation gain: 403
Difficulty: Easy

This straightforward cruise starts through FoCo’s historic Old Town district. (Fun facts: The main drag is the inspiration for Disneyland’s Mainstreet USA, and the neighborhood is home to the only original trolley car west of the Mississippi.) As you ride north, the cityscape gives way to wide-open ranchland vistas on some of the more rural and suburban roads north and east of Fort Collins. Swing back into town through Riverbend Ponds and Kingfisher Point Natural Areas (primo bird-watching spots). Start and finish at Boltz Middle School.

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Boyd Lake State Park

Distance: 22.8
Elevation gain: 592
Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

This is a super chill ride to Boyd Lake from Fort Collins that mostly follows car-free bike paths. It’s an excellent option for a recovery ride (with a dip in the lake to soothe sore muscles) or for anyone who prefers their rides to be as free from traffic as possible. Pack a picnic and plan for a day in any one of the nature preserves you’ll pass along the way or at the lake itself.

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Southern Fort Collins Loop

Distance: 25.5
Elevation gain: 572
Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

In summertime, there’s almost nothing better than an easy cruise to a lake. This flat route starts at Boltz Middle School and is pretty much a straight shot for nine or so miles to the lake. Loop around the south shore to the west side of the reservoir, and from there it’s another straightforward ride back to town. The route also makes an excellent weekday lunch ride from old town, but on summer weekends, chill out at the 1,700-acre lake and make a day out of it.

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Spring Creek Loop

Distance: 28.9
Elevation gain: 840
Difficulty: East/Moderate

Escape the city on this chill route that starts at Spring Park and follows car-free bike paths and quiet country roads. Head southwest out of Fort Collins on the Spring Creek Trail, then toward Bellvue past Claymore Lake and the undulating Rocky Mountain foothills to your left. You’ll climb gradually until around mile 14, where you’ll pass the Noosa Yoghurt headquarters and the Howling Cow Cafe, before crossing the Cache la Poudre river (Colorado’s only designated National Wild and Scenic river) and looping through Laporte. Hop on the Poudre Trail around mile 17 and follow it all the way back to Spring Creek.

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Masonville Loveland Loop

Distance: 34.2
Elevation gain: 1540
Difficulty: Moderate/Hard

Put the climbing work in early then cruise through Loveland and back to FoCo on this loop that highlights the Rocky Mountain foothill landscape and the preserved prairielands just southwest of the city. From the Trek Bicycle Fort Collins South store, swing around the southern end of the Horsetooth Reservoir Overlook and on to Masonville. From there, you’ll descend into Loveland, then hang a left and head back along the east side of the Cathy Fromme Prairie Natural Area, a 240-acre preserve with sweeping shortgrass meadow views.

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Horsetooth Reservoir Loop

Distance: 34.4
Elevation gain: 1572
Difficulty: Moderate

Head east from the Trek Bicycle Fort Collins South store, loop south, and jump on the Fossil Creek Trail for a few miles in the Cathy Fromme Prairie Natural Area before climbing toward Horsetooth Reservoir Overlook. It’s a mostly gradual grade, with some steep ramps to keep you on your toes. The highlight of this route is the seven-mile stretch just after you leave Cathy Fromme on the way to Bellvue. Shimmering reservoir and mountain views to your left, endless nature preserve with occasional glimpses of the city and plains to your right. Descend along Rist Canyon Road toward Laporte, then hop on the Poudre Trail for seven miles to cross the Cache la Poudre River (Colorado’s only nationally designated Wild and Scenic River) and make your way back into town.

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Southeast Fort Collins

Distance: 36
Elevation gain: 1049
Difficulty: Moderate

The climbing on this route to Boyd Lake through southeast Fort Collins is minimal and the scenery is A-plus. You’ll head out of Fort Collins along the Cathy Fromme Prairie Natural Area, through Hazaleus Natural Area, past Fossil Creek Wetlands, and along Pelican Marsh—any of which are worth exploring if you have time. Follow trails through the state park south toward Loveland where there are plenty of snack stops, as well as the Trek Bicycle Loveland on Thompson Parkway for mid-ride repairs or energy bars. Loop north past Ptarmigan Country Club and back into FoCo. Start and finish at Harmony Library, where you can use the restrooms post ride.

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Owl Canyon Loop

Distance: 38.1
Elevation gain: 915
Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

This is a mostly flat route—aside from the nearly seven-mile grind up North Taft Hill Road—that takes you north of Fort Collins from the Colorado State University campus neighborhood. Enjoy nearconstant Front Range views as you travel through the plains and ranchland of Larimer County. Head due east on Owl Canyon Road for about five miles, then hang a left on County Route 9 into Wellington where you can stop to refuel or sample what’s on tap at the town’s two breweries (Old Colorado Brewing and Soul Squared), before heading back to town. Start and finish at Trek Bicycle Fort Collins North.

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Fort Collins Loveland Loop

Distance: 44.4
Elevation gain: 1743
Difficulty: Moderate/Hard

This southern approach to the Rocky Mountain foothills through grasslands, ponderosa pine forest, and glimpses of dramatic red-rock cliffs is an excellent way to wake up on a weekend morning. You’ll start south through Loveland and climb steadily up Glade Road to Masonville, where you’ll pass the quirky Masonville Mercantile, then head northeast and continue climbing toward Horsetooth Mountain Park Open Space. Follow County Road 38 around the southern end of Horsetooth Reservoir Overlook, before looping back into Fort Collins via Taft Hill Road.

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Loveland Laporte Loop

Distance: 47.2
Elevation gain: 2658
Difficulty: Moderate

If you’re looking for several challenging hours, this route’s got you covered. You’ll travel counterclockwise from the Trek Bicycle Fort Collins North store and climb toward Bellvue, then along Horsetooth Reservoir Overlook to the Horsetooth Mountain Park Open Space, before descending through Masonville along Buckhorn Road. The climbs aren’t killer, but they’re pretty relentless for the first half of the ride. You’ll earn your views— bushy sagebrush, ponderosa and lodgepole pines, dramatic sandstone outcroppings—and your postride meal.

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Rist Canyon Climb

Distance: 53.3
Elevation gain: 5042
Difficulty: Hard

This climb-packed route features some of the area’s most scenic roads. Head out of Fort Collins, then hug the eastern shore of Horsetooth Reservoir Overlook with undulating foothills on your right and preserved prairieland and city views to your left. Swing around the southern end of the lake and head toward Masonville. The climbing really begins as you twist and turn through the rocky, ponderosa-studded landscape on Buckhorn Road toward Stove Prairie. The average grade over the long climb is three percent but gets steeper at the top. Around mile 29 you’ll hang a right onto Rist Canyon Road for a final push before descending through Bellvue. There’s another climb along the reservoir before the flat approach to Fort Collins.

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Carter Lake Loop

Distance: 60.5
Elevation gain: 3376
Difficulty: Hard

This is a solid half-day outing with challenging (but not insane) climbs and screaming downhills— especially the section from Carter Lake to County Road 29. The road tilts up again toward Masonville, then once more to the southern edge of Horsetooth Reservoir Overlook before you drop back into Fort Collins. Along the way, take in classic Front Range vistas—undulating foothills, pine-studded canyons, and shimmering alpine lakes with red sandstone cliffsides. Start and finish at Trek Bicycle Fort Collins South.

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Bellvue, Masonville, Loveland Loop

Distance: 65
Elevation gain: 4194
Difficulty: Hard

Rist Canyon Road is one of the area’s most popular climbs—an 11-mile serpentine between Bellvue and Stove Prairie in the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest. The average grade is around five percent with some steep ramps, but you’ll probably be distracted by the breathtaking canyon views spotted with ponderosa and lodgepole pine, sagebrush, mountain mahogany, and aspen. Descend gradually into Loveland for roughly 15 miles, past the Devil’s Backbone Open Space, Lake Loveland, and the Benson Sculpture Garden, before the final, deadflat 10 miles back to town. Start and finish at Trek Bicycle Fort Collins South.

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Stove Prairie Climb

Distance: 68.5
Elevation gain: 4001
Difficulty: Hard

You’ll get a long warm-up and cooldown on mostly flat terrain when you tackle this route that climbs Stove Prairie through rugged alpine wilderness. (Watch for cars and RVs as you ascend Poudre Canyon Road, a twisting scenic drive that hugs the river and is popular with motorists.) The full climb is about 14.5 miles with an average grade of 3 percent, but your legs will really start feeling it during the last mile on Rist where the pitch averages 10.7 percent. Descend through Bellvue and back into town via the car-free Poudre Trail. Start and finish at Trek Bicycle Fort Collins South.

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Masonville, Berthoud, Windsor Loop

Distance: 70.2
Elevation gain: 2496
Difficulty: Moderate/Hard

The good news is you’ll get the climbing out of the way early. The not-so-good news is it pretty much starts right away. You’ll head out of Fort Collins toward the Horsetooth Mountain Park Open Space (known for the iconic protruding, tooth-shaped rock formation) before descending into Masonville against a stunning Front Range backdrop. As you head out of town, the climbing starts again, but this time it’s more gradual. Leave the mountains behind you on the descent east into Berthoud and the rolling prairieland of Weld County, then head north to Windsor and finally back to FoCo. Start and finish at Trek Bicycle Fort Collins South.

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Fort Collins to Estes Park

Distance: 119
Elevation gain: 8346
Difficulty: Hard

Calling all mountain goats: This blockbuster treats you to some of the best climbing in the area. Try not to spend too much time staring at your stem because the alpine scenery is spectacular, including glimpses of Longs Peak, the northernmost fourteener in the Rocky Mountains and the highest point in Rocky Mountain National Park. You’ll climb steadily for most of the first 50 miles, past Estes Park (home of the iconic Stanley Hotel, which inspired Stephen King’s “The Shining”) until you reach Twin Sisters. Descend (with a little more climbing into Masonville around mile 107) around Horsetooth Reservoir Overlook back to the city. Start and finish at Trek Bicycle Fort Collins South. Bike-pack this ride and overnight at one of multiple campgrounds along the route.

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