Friday, August 04, 2006

Arthur's Rock Trail, Lory State Park, Colorado

As you may have read in yesterday's post, I'm currently visiting my hometown of Fort Collins, Colorado, and exploring good running trails in the area. I ran a new trail, the Blue Sky Trail, yesterday. Today I revisited an old classic: the Arthur's Rock Trail in Lory State Park.

Lory is a little gem of a park, just across Horsetooth Reservoir from Fort Collins. Its numerous interconnected trails mean that you can mix and match to your heart's content, creating as long (or short) a run as you like. For example, the Arthur's Rock Trail is a mere 1.7 miles one-way, but it's easily accessible via many other trails in the park, so for a longer run, one could approach the Arthur's Rock Trail via the Timber Trail, the West Valley Trail, or the Overlook Trail. You get the idea!

The trail begins with a few switchbacks, gaining some elevation as you leave the trailhead, and quickly opens up into a meadow that is absolutely stunning when the wildflowers are blooming. Arthur's Rock is visible the entire way, urging you up the trail.

After crossing the meadow, you'll quickly gain altitude again as you approach Arthur's Rock itself. The trail also becomes more rocky and less runnable; there are enough roots and rocks to twist the ankle of even the most sure-footed runner -- so be careful!

As you gain altitude, views expand all around you. To the south and east, Horsetooth Reservoir and conifer-covered foothills are visible.

A series of switchbacks later, you'll find yourself at the top, but on the west ("back") side of Arthur's Rock. To reach the east side, and savor views that extend past Fort Collins and across the plains, you'll need to scramble up a series of rocks, through a narrow opening in Arthur's Rock. The trail is well marked, so you can't miss it.

Arthur's Rock is close to Fort Collins, but a world away. The trail offers a taste of the Colorado mountains, close to home. Give it a try sometime, and enjoy the view from the top.

See you on the trail!
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Blogger Robert J Miller said...

Thanks for sharing. I am now inspired to hike Arthur's Rock myself. I am a blog writer too chronicling hiking, biking, and camping in Colorado. Do you think I can climb Arthur's Rock with my daughter on my back in a child carrier backpack? Specifically, are there any spots that require using your hands to climb?

8:36 AM  

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