Today, I had the opportunity to hike Devil’s Backbone in Loveland (the next town over) with some of my APO brothers. Friendship is one of our three pillars, so getting to do some of my favorite activities with them makes it all the better.
The drive to the trailhead can be between 10 and 30 minutes depending on where you live in Fort Collins. This specific park is open when the sun is up, has no entrance fee (thank goodness!), and is a very popular trail with limited parking (we saw tons of people along the way). With 12 miles of trails available, this hike/bike/run/walk/whatever else you are doing can be exactly what you make it. Horse-riding is also allowed!
For today, my group and I stuck to the trails closest to Devil’s Backbone itself, the rock formations protruding towards the skies. Although odd in look, the rocks are actually an amazing symbol of culture and geography in Loveland. The trails stay pretty flat throughout the open space, but there are rolling hills and definitely places you could climb if you wanted to. The Keyhole was my favorite spot to rest, rehydrate, and just enjoy the view. It was the only place where I was actually using my arms to get up, but it wasn’t anything someone with moderate physicality couldn’t handle. It reminded me a lot of Hole in the Rock, in Arizona that I was able to go to and write about last spring break.
The trails aren’t shaded for the most part, so remember to bring lots of water. I would say this is probably one of the places where exceptional shoes aren’t needed, even though the trails are rocky, there aren’t many places where you need to worry about traction. We arrived 9:30 today, when the temperature was the 40’s and 50’s and there were sunny skies. But 20 minutes into the hike, we were shedding layers and enjoying the nice weather.
We hiked around three miles today within a two hour time span, talking and surveying the scenery the whole time. It was a relaxing hike and something I would definitely do again if I needed an easier workout or something close to town without heading into the mountains. I would really love to try to run these trails, they seem perfect for training without too many rocks (like Horsetooth Reservoir) or too many steep hills (some of the natural prairie lands).
I would recommend this hike to anyone looking for a relaxing morning and rank it 4/5 stars. I can’t wait for my next hike!