Horsetooth Rock Loop Trail

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Moderate
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
4-5.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
12.7 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
594 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead

Hike through the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space and through a network of trails up to the summit of Horsetooth Mountain. The Horsetooth Rock Loop Trail is one of many scenic adventures in the Open Space, but with the perfect ratio of scenery and strenuous terrain, this one is at the top of our list.

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Route Description for Horsetooth Rock Loop Trail

Travel through meadow laden paths up to the geological wonder that is Horsetooth Rock. The Horsetooth Rock Loop Trail is a stimulating adventure through the Open Space. Enjoy uninterrupted views of the Horsetooth Reservoir, Eastern Plains and Fort Collins below as you trek along the ridges. This excursion is exposed to the elements, wear layers to safeguard against windy conditions and check the forecast to avoid getting caught in an afternoon storm. This adventure travels through a confusing network of paths, so we recommend using the trail GPS to help navigate the routes. Note that visitors are required to purchase a pass to access the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space. These permits can be acquired at the gateway toll booth and typically cost $9USD.

Begin your adventure around the Horsetooth Rock Loop Trail from the Horsetooth Mountain Trailhead. From the trailhead, take the path signposted for the Horsetooth Rock Trail. Take this route and shortly after your departure from the trailhead you will confront a junction, veer left. At the next intersection you can choose to complete the loop from either direction, but we suggested trekking clockwise. Continue hiking up the Horsetooth Rock Trail, note this section of the path is steep, so mind your footing on loose rocks. Eventually you will meet an intersection with the Wathan Trail, keep left and ascend the summit of Horsetooth Mountain. Enjoy the panoramic vistas from atop the rocky summit and explore the odd geological sculpture. Retrace your steps back down to the junction, this time taking the Wathan Trail north.

Stay on the Wathan Trail briefly before merging onto the West Ridge Trail. Follow this route along the ridge, keeping right at the next junction. Descend beneath sparse tree coverage and take a right onto the Towers Trail. This path will curve south to an intersection. Take the Spring Creek Trail and then eventually merge onto the Soderberg Trail. The Soderberg Trail will deliver you back to the first junction. Veer left and retrace your steps down the Horsetooth Rock Trail to the trailhead and parking lot.

Getting to the Horsetooth Rock Loop Trail Trailhead

The Horsetooth Rock Loop Trail is located within the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space off W County Road Road 38E.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    Yes, only at designated backcountry campsites. See rules and regulations.

  • When to do

    March-October

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    Older Children only

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Lollipop

Horsetooth Rock Loop Trail Elevation Graph

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