When we spent our month in Denver, one of our favorite things was taking road trips. Denver is a great base to stay in when other Colorado towns. We visited Fort Collins, a small town about 65 miles north of Denver. This post will discuss what to do for a day trip to Fort Collins from Denver.
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 on a day trip and explore this fun town! And like the rest of Colorado, Fort Collins is super dog friendly. We brought our pup, Apollo, on this trip, and he had a blast!
Coming from Denver? Check out my Ultimate 3 Days in Denver Guide for things to do in Denver.
Ready for a road trip? Here's what I recommend when taking a day trip to Fort Collins!
To start your morning with a good workout, check out this popular trail in Fort Collins, Horsetooth Trail!
The one thing I love about Colorado is the number of hikes and trails you can find. For instance, in each town I visited, I would always try to hike one of the trails in the area. Above all, hiking is an excellent 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 popular trail near Fort Collins. This trail can be a short and easy 2.35-mile hike to Horsetooth Falls, or you can continue to Horsetooth Rock for 6.4 miles. We loved it!
Parking by the trailhead is a $9 fee, and parking can be limited. Because of this, I recommend coming in early, as the lot can fill up quickly, and you don’t want to scramble to find a parking spot. Also, this hike in many areas offers little to no shade. For this, I recommend going early in the day during the summer to try and beat the heat.
Apollo had a great time walking this trail with us! Make sure to bring enough water and snacks if you bring your dog.
After your morning hike, it’s time for some well-deserved ice cream!
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 an excellent place to recharge, grab a snack, relax, and watch people, as it often buzzes with activity.
My favorite ice cream I’ve had so far in Colorado comes from The Exchange. Right in the plaza’s center is a giant ice cream churn called Old Town Churn Ice Cream, 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!
We even got Apollo his pup ice cream cup that he thoroughly enjoyed after his hike.
Downtown Fort Collins
After you get your sweet fix and grab some food, get to Downtown Fort Collins to explore.
From The Exchange, it is easy to walk around Downtown Fort Collins. Filled with shops, restaurants, and breweries, there are endless places to go downtown. It’s a great way to fuel up on drink, grab food, and knockabout the shops to find knick-knacks. There are also kids’ activities in the center.
New Belgium Brewing Company
If you’re a craft beer lover, Fort Collins is your town.
After our long day, we checked out the one brewery we wanted to see, New Belgium Brewery. My husband loves craft beer, so coming to Fort Collins was a treat for him. If beer is your thing, and even if it’s not, it’s hard to go 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. This brewery is one of our books, only a quick drive or a short walk from downtown. A vast outdoor lawn was an excellent way to unwind outside and grab a couple of 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 check out a brewery tour to check out a few more spots on our trip to Fort Collins!