September 18, 2015
For every sunrise hike, you have to do a sunset hike.
Horsetooth Mountain, which gets it characteristic name from the rock formation looking like horse teeth, is a symbol of Fort Collins. I look out my window every day and see it, I’m walking around campus and can point it out, or I simply am driving on the highway and know it as a sign of home.
(The sunset hike was supposed to take us to the top of Horsetooth Mountain, but there wasn’t enough time.)
It is about a fifteen minute car ride to the trailhead (the same one as my Horsetooth Falls post). This time, where the trailhead splits off, one way for Horsetooth Falls, the other for Horsetooth Rock, I picked the latter. It starts off with a dirt trail leading you back and forth through an open field, then onto a rocky inclined path. This will get you to the rocky main trail which can well direct you with signs.
From there, its walking through the canopy of trees. It takes about forty-five minutes to get to the more open, top, rocky area. If you’ve ever seen the way the foothills are laid out, you’ll know what I’m talking about. It is wear Horsetooth sits, above the trees and forest area, and where only rock resides. You think the hike is close to over, but its not.
For this particular hike, being still so far from the top gave up little time for pictures and seeing the actual sunset. Instead, we cut our hike short and hauled our bags up a smaller rocky set. This part is actual rock climbing, there are no easy trails to the top of the rock formations, so you must have sturdy shoes and be okay with using all your body weight to get up. It is definitely worth it though, and the smaller climb takes five minutes tops.
Once there, the wind is awful. It drops about 15 degrees, and even in September that felt cold. It was okay for a little while when the sun was there, but once it set it was almost unbearable. The wind adds an element of surprise so just be wary of that and bring a jacket.
This hike can’t be labeled at a specific location, but the views are gorgeous. I would strongly recommend it, or Horsetooth Mountain, itself as a must on the to-do-list. Its what Fort Collins is known for when it comes to hikes. I would say the hike is moderately physical, the end being rock climbing though. Bring a jacket, water bottle, and even a snack as it can get a little long.
The pictures may not due the view justice, but it is completely worth it and definitely one to try.