When hiking with kids, it’s guaranteed, you’re going to win some, and lose some. On Sunday, we lost. But graciously, I hope.
A Perfect Day for a Hike (Unless you are a disgruntled almost six year old)
It was an unseasonably warm autumn day with blue skies and a light breeze. We wanted a trail close to home so we could be back in time to watch the last St. Louis Cardinals baseball game of the season. We settled on Arthur’s Rock in Lory State Park, literally 10 minutes from town.
L doesn’t always start a hike on the right foot, but usually she’s having fun before too long. Not this time. She was in a foul mood. A “I’m too tired”, “hiking is boring”, sit down in the middle of trail mood. After just three quarters of a mile of the 1.7 mile one-way trail, we gave up and headed back down towards the car.
And here I thought L might make it to the top. Silly mommy.
Arthur’s Rock is a Fort Collins staple, a hike we’ve completed many times pre-kids. We often visit in spring, before it gets too hot and too crowded due to it’s lower elevation and easy access from town. On the first Sunday in October, it was busy, but not too crowded. As we made our way up the stairs and switchbacks we saw other families, and hikers and trail runners of all ages.
Although we’ve hiked here often, this was our first trip in fall and the color did not disappoint. The trail leads upward from the grasslands to the montane coniferous forest with red shrubs and golden leaves popping among the pines and a meadow of four feet tall grass the color of a latte. It’s fun to visit trails different times of years giving fresh reasons to come back each season. This was also the first time we visited and were not immediately reminded of the Galena wildfire in 2013. The forest comes back.
And lucky for us you don’t have to go too far to enjoy the great views of Fort Collins and Horsetooth Reservoir.
Lory State Park
Arthur’s Rock is just one of many trails in Lory State Park and the most popular due its quick access to views and immediate immersion in the pine forest. There are over 20 miles of trails in the park and another one would have probably been better for our little hiker, but it was a warm sunny day and the flatter trails are more open with far less shade. Lory State Park is not quite as busy as Horsetooth and is a great alternative when getting out of town isn’t an option. There are a ton of picnic tables and most trails are accessible to horseback riders and cyclists in addition to foot traffic although Arthur’s Rock is foot traffic only. There is access to Horestooth Reservoir and some trails in the park have dispersed campsites as well.
Despite a win for our Cardinals, they were edged out of the post season when the Giants won Sunday as well. It was a good day despite some epic whining and no playoff baseball for our team this year. At least we got out and played.
Drive Time: 10 minutes from Fort Collins
Day Time Pass Required: $7
Trail Length: 1.7 miles one-way
Designated Rating: Moderate to Difficult (Agreed)
Usage: Medium to Heavy
Elevation Gain: 5600 ft to 6780 ft
Trail Highlights: Views of Fort Collins and Horestooth Reservoir! So close to home!
Trail Lowlights: Heavy usage
Optimal Time of Year: Spring and Fall are optimal, and even nice winter days, we’ve hiked in the snow with yak tracks. Summer- too busy and too hot for us.
Would we go back? Yes, it’s definitely one of our favorites, we’ll give L another shot at this one.