Special Content Collaboration with Texas Lifestyle Magazine brought to you by Valencia Hotel Group
Photos by Tim Ohara, Ryan Burke, Richard Haro. Photos courtesy of Visit Fort Collins
Written by: Doug Flatt
Head to Fort Collins, Colorado, When The Mountains Call and You Must Go
Most Texans hear the call of the mountains, as John Muir said. Fort Collins is a quintessential mountain and college town with everything one would expect to find in the Rockies, access to a wild and scenic river and about an hour away from over 60 12,000-foot summits. In addition to Mother Nature’s grandiose designs, one will find mile-high culture in Fort Collins with its food, art and architecture.
A Breath of Fresh Air
There are so many fishing opportunities within 30 minutes of Fort Collins, and it all starts right in town. There are 16 City of Fort Collins Natural Areas that permit fishing. Most of these are right in town and are walkable or accessible on a bike from downtown. There are both pond and Cache la Poudre river fishing access. Pro tip: Make sure to read all regulations and obey all posted signs. If fishing on the Poudre (the Poo-der, as locals call it) in town is crowded, try driving up the canyon on Highway 14 West to the Gateway Natural Area, as there’s good fishing in this area and room to find a quiet place to cast. Be sure to stop by St. Pete’s Fly Shop, where they have experienced fly fishers working behind the desk to get you set up with all the right gear and flies you need.
Opportunities to grab your trekking poles and hiking shoes are plentiful throughout the Fort Collins area. There’s the Poudre Trail that accessible from downtown and runs from one end of town to the other. The trail offers 12.3 miles of paved and concrete trails for hiking and biking. For more scenic views, try the Greyrock Trail, a 7.1-mile moderate to strenuous loop hike that is teeming with fall foliage (and a bit quieter), with sweeping views of Greyrock Mountain and the Poudre Canyon, Rocky Mountain National Park and the Comanche Peak Wilderness Area.
Biking is always a great way to explore, whether you’re in the city or the mountains. Mountain biking can be intimidating in some locations, but the foothills near Horsetooth Reservoir has plenty of terrain for everyone from the first-time rider to the experienced shredder. Front Range Ride Guides has been guiding for over 20 years and specifically caters each ride to your experience and comfort level. Their team is passionate about mountain biking and educating riders. You’ll finish your ride with new skills that you can take back home. Your guide takes photos while on the ride, edits them, then sends them to the group at no extra charge. One of the highlights of the trip is the post-ride tailgate-style happy hour featuring locally crafted beverages to revel in the riding of the day.
Cruisin’ Around Town
The Elizabeth Hotel is located in the center of Old Town Fort Collins, making it the ideal accommodation. The hotel is moderately sized at 164 rooms and features an all-weather open-air space on the roof aptly named The Sunset Lounge. If you’re musically inclined and left your instrument of choice at home, just walk down to the lobby and check out their instrument library featuring several types of string instruments. Don’t feel like making music and just needing for some inspiration? Each room comes with a record player and you can choose from the property’s collection of over 1,000 records. Fort Collins is home to over 20 craft breweries featuring well-known spots like Odel Brewing Co. and New Belgium Brewing Co. as well as smaller shops like Gilded Goat and Funkwerks. As the weather cools down, the music moves indoors. Local craft beer and music go hand in hand at the aforementioned Odel Brewing Co. and New Belgium Brewing Co., both of which regularly host live music. There are also more traditional venues like the Lyric Cinema, Magic Rat, Washington’s, Avogadro’s and the historic Mishawaka Amphitheater.
Get In My Belly
The Exchange is a great place to park for the night and have one-stop food and entertainment choices. From tacos to pasta, there’s something for everyone and plenty of craft beer and local cocktails to sip. Cooper Smith’s Pub & Brewery located in Old Town, it features traditional pub fare like fish and chips, chicken sandwiches and unique burgers like The Ring of Fire with blue cheese crumbles, jalapenos and buffalo-wing sauce. Starry Night Espresso Cafe is a local coffee shop serving up traditional drinks for java junkies, but also sweet treats and stick-to-your rib varieties like breakfast burritos.
Doug Flatt is the publisher of Texas Lifestyle Magazine. When not running small businesses, you can find him on a mountain bike or a body of water with a fly rod in hand.