With near-constant blue skies, relatively flat terrain and more than 280 miles of bike trails and lanes, bikes and beer are natural companions in this town. In fact, Fort Collins produces 70 percent of all craft beer in Colorado, so whether you ride a cruiser, fixie or just a plain old bike, hop on, grab your ID and get pedaling!
Pick up your method of transportation for the day at the Fort Collins Bike Library; the loaner bikes may be checked out for free for one day. Then, kick-start your morning in Historic Old Town (the inspiration for Disneyland’s Main Street) and ride up to The Bean Cycle, where you can sip a steamin' cup of ethically sourced, freshly roasted coffee and peruse books at Wolverine Farm Publishing in the same building. Other places to investigate Fort Collins’ exploding craft-coffee arena include Harbinger The Coffee Spot, The Coffee Registry and Everyday Joe’s.
Spend the morning exploring Old Town’s shopes and galleries. Historic homes like the Victorian-style Avery House and the adobe Museo de las Tres Colonias tell stories of gold seekers, immigrants and sugar beets.
Stop by the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, focusing on the history of science and the science of history, blending science, history and culture into an interactive museum. From here, hop on the Poudre Bike Trail and point your handlebars east. Odell Brewing, New Belgium and the Fort Collins Brewery are cherished Colorado breweries that happen to be within very short pedaling distance of each other. Most of the city’s breweries offer free tours and tastings.
If you’re craving beaches more than beer, visit Horsetooth Reservoir. Red-stone cliffs flank the 6.5-mile lake, a favorite of hikers, bikers and rock-climbers. Or hop in a raft to ride the Class III and IV rapids down the Cache la Poudre, Colorado’s only nationally designated Wild and Scenic River. You can also catch a riverside concert at Mishawaka Amphitheater.
Or drive the Cache La Poudre/North Park Scenic Byway and look out at thick national forest and the tumbling Cache La Poudre River as you twist up the canyon. To really experience Colorado’s only federally designated National Wild and Scenic River, call ahead and book a guided fly-fishing or whitewater rafting trip. Catch a concert at Mishawaka Amphitheater, located right on the riverbank.
Thanks to 41 protected natural areas, the Fort is also a haven for birders, with the Fort Collins Audubon Society offering free field trips year-round as well as the Nature Conservancy’s guided birding hikes in the Phantom Canyon Preserve.
Stop by Fort Collins Brewery Tavern, whose farm-to-fork menu offers local fare. For rare brews, stop by The Forge Publick House, a local favorite located on Old Firehouse Alley. Don’t miss CooperSmith’s Pub & Brewing’s green chili beer, a golden ale with a fresh chili flavor and a hint of spiciness, or the town’s newest brewery: 1933 Brewing Company. Also new on the scene: Horse & Dragon Brewing Co. and Zwei Brüder.
See what band is playing at the Aggie Theater or, on Thursday summer evenings, head to New Belgium for the Bike-In Cinema Series — riders spread out on blankets beneath the stars to sip beer and watch a movie. You can also catch a riverside concert at Mishawaka Amphitheater.
Winter sends Fort Collins’ active residents into neighboring Roosevelt National Forest for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing and even snowy horseback rides.