Horsetooth Trail in Fort Collins Colorado

Day Trip to Fort Collins

Fort Collins, Colorado is an easy day trip from Denver, Colorado! That was one of the things I loved about staying in Denver, was how easy it was to make weekend day trips. Fort Collins is a small town about an hour and a half from Denver, known for its craft beer! From hiking, food, and brews, it is easy to pack in a day trip and explore this fun town!

Ready for a road trip? Here's what I would recommend when visiting Fort Collins!

Horsetooth Trail

Girl and dog at Horsetooth Falls in Fort Collins Colorado

The one thing I love about Colorado is the number of hikes and trails you can find. For instance, each town I would visit I would always try to hike one of the trails in the area. Above all, I think hiking is a good way to start the morning. From here you can get a workout in and work up an appetite for good food and drinks later in the day!

Horsetooth Trail is a popular near Fort Collins. This trail can be a short and easy 2.35-mile hike just to Horsetooth Falls. Or, from the falls you can continue to Horsetooth Rock for a total of 6.4 miles. Since we felt like a little longer hike, we did the whole 6.4 miles and loved every minute of it!

There is a $9 fee to park by the trailhead and parking can be very limited. Because of this, I recommend coming in early as the lot can fill up quickly and you don’t want to get scrambling to find a parking spot. Also, this hike is a lot of areas offers little to no shade. For this I recommend going early in the day during the summer to try and beat the heat.

The Exchange

Dog ice cream at Churn in Old Town Fort Collins

After a good morning hike, head towards Fort Collins Old Town and park near The Exchange. Here, The Exchange has food, drinks, and shopping in an open area central plaza. This is a good place to recharge, grab a snack, relax and people watch as it is often buzzing with activity.

My favorite ice cream that I’ve had so far in Colorado comes right from The Exchange. Right in the center of the plaza is a huge ice cream churn, called Churn, selling the most delicious ice cream. Inspired by Denver’s famous Little Man Ice Cream, Churn offers ice cream and malts. Here, my personal favorite was the salted cookies and cream!

Downtown Fort Collins

Downtown Fort Collins in Colorado

From The Exchange, it is easy to walk around Downtown Fort Collins. Filled with shops, restaurants and breweries, there are endless places to go in downtown. From here, it’s a great way to fuel up on some drink, grab some food and knockabout the shops to find little knick knacks. There are also kids’ activities in the center where we saw a lot of families playing with their kids.

New Belgium Brewing Company

Dog at New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins Colorado

My husband is a lover of craft beer and coming to Fort Collins was such a treat for him. Without a doubt, if beer is your thing, and even if it’s not, it’s hard to come to Fort Collins and not check out their breweries. After all, it is one of the things they are most known for! 

One of our favorite breweries that we got to check out was New Belgium Brewing Company. Only a quick drive or short walk from downtown, this brewery is one of the tops in our books. With a huge outdoor lawn, it was a good idea way to unwind outside and grab a couple brewskis. 

While we were a bit tired, as seen with Apollo in the photo below, New Belgium was all we had time for. However, if we had some more time there were a couple more, we would have checked out including Odell Brewing Company which is supposed to be popular. Next time we will definitely check out a brewery tour to check out a few more spots on our trip to Fort Collins!

I hope this post helped you plan out your day trip to Fort Collins. Next time you head to Colorado be sure to include this town on your next visit!

11 Comments

  • Jen Nilsson
    Posted June 24, 2021 1:29 am 0Likes

    I adore Fort Collins, and you captured it so well! One of my favorite humans in the world used to own a smaller ice cream stand in the middle of town. I’m not sure if she had salted cookies and cream, though! Great post. Thank you.

  • Elyse
    Posted June 24, 2021 5:36 am 0Likes

    it looks so lovely here! Especially the hiking opportunities

  • Ashlee Fechino
    Posted June 24, 2021 8:53 pm 0Likes

    Fun read! We used to live in Colorado and when I was in college – New Belgium beer was all the rage!

  • Petsitter Barbara
    Posted June 24, 2021 10:00 pm 0Likes

    I’m with you – I like to find a hike and/or a walking tour wherever I go! And Colorado definitely has a lot of them. My official International Petsitter opinion is that Apollo was, in fact, worn out in that photo. Good for you for giving him a break!

  • Denise
    Posted June 25, 2021 9:42 pm 0Likes

    What a cute downtown! I’ve heard it’s also a great place to live!

  • Josy A
    Posted July 18, 2021 5:00 pm 0Likes

    Oooh the Horsetooth Trail near Fort Collins looks lovely, especially with that gorgeous waterfall to cool you down along the trail.

    I have to admit, when I saw the photo of your icecream, I thought it was meant to be for your doggy! I mean, you always find the best dog friendly spots, and the bone made me think you found a dog-ice-cream stand!

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  • Aireona
    Posted September 8, 2021 4:25 pm 0Likes

    I have yet to visit Fort Collins, but I love your list of things to do there. It looks like such a lovely place to visit for a weekend of urban exploration.

  • Brittany
    Posted September 8, 2021 6:49 pm 0Likes

    Fort Collins looks like such a dog-friendly destination! I would love to visit with my golden retriever and check out the hiking and the breweries. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • Laura
    Posted September 8, 2021 6:50 pm 0Likes

    Fort Collins looks like the perfect place to take a trip. I love all of the hiking opportunities you mentioned and of course, a brewery reward at the end is a must!

  • Shafinah
    Posted September 10, 2021 3:00 am 0Likes

    Fort Collins looks beautiful – definitely looks like something that would be on my list if I ever find myself in Colarado!

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