13 Best Day Trips from Fort Collins (in 2023)
In this post I’ll found up the best day trips from Fort Collins.
This guide covers exciting city attractions, mountain towns, outdoor activities, and so much more. I even share a trip across state lines, where you’ll find Wild West fun and a record-breaking rodeo.
Table of Contents
- 13 Best Fort Collins Day Trips
- FAQs About Day Trips from Fort Collins
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13 Best Fort Collins Day Trips
Rocky Mountain National Park
Get breathtaking mountain views and watch for wild animals
🗺️ Distance from Fort Collins: 1 hour 15 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Rocky Mountain National Park Website | 👉 Rocky Mountain National Park Tickets & Tours
Rocky Mountain National Park is one of four epic national parks in Colorado, and one of the state’s best places to visit. You can travel the highest continuously paved road in North America, hike to pristine mountain lakes, and do some wildlife viewing.
Experience the art, culture, and food of the Mile High City
🗺️ Distance from Fort Collins: 1 hour 15 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Things to Do in Denver | 👉 Downtown Denver Food Tour
There are countless areas to explore in Denver. The city has museums, galleries, botanic gardens, and plenty of activities for kids. Plus, there are award-winning Denver restaurants for every budget and type of cuisine.
Check out Garden of the Gods, the Olympic training center, and more
🗺️ Distance from Fort Collins: 2 hours and 15 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Things to do in Colorado Springs | 👉 Top Colorado Springs Tours
Colorado Springs is a fun day trip from Fort Collins. Although you’re still gazing at the Rockies, they look different than they do farther north.
Walk through Garden of the Gods, one of the best things to do in Colorado. Check out downtown Colorado Springs, or try one of the many hikes nearby.
Red Feather Lakes
Visit the less popular (and less crowded!) Red Feather Lakes area
🗺️ Distance from Fort Collins: 1 hour | 📍 Google Maps
Red Feather Lakes is an unincorporated community in the Roosevelt National Forest. Here, you’ll find plenty of fishing, paddle sports, and some of the best hikes in Colorado.
Visit the Great Stupa at Shambhala Mountain Center for rest or a retreat. You can also go horseback riding at Beaver Meadows Stables, or take a scenic drive along the Cache la Poudre/North Park Scenic Byway.
Spend a day on the lake paddleboarding, swimming, or fishing
🗺️ Distance from Fort Collins: 15 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Horsetooth Reservoir Website | 👉 Half-Day Cache la Poudre Canyon Tour
Horsetooth Reservoir is a year-round destination and one of the best lakes in Colorado. Mountain bike and boat in good weather, and enjoy snowshoeing and winter hiking when it’s cold. The reservoir is almost three square miles large, so there’s plenty of space for all kinds of outdoor fun.
Spend a day in this college town and get great views of the Flatirons
🗺️ Distance from Fort Collins: 1 hour 15 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Things to Do in Boulder | 👉 Top Boulder Tours
Boulder is another city where you get unique views of the Rocky Mountains! You can hike to the Flatirons, stroll Pearl Street Mall, or sip a beer at one of the many amazing local craft breweries.
Soak in hot springs and get great views of Denver
🗺️ Distance from Fort Collins: 1 hour 45 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Things to Do in Idaho Springs | 👉 Top Idaho Springs Tours
Idaho Springs is one of the top day trips from Fort Collins, and one of the state’s best mountain towns. Conveniently, this destination isn’t far from Denver. Swim and soak at the Indian Hot Springs pool, or stop at Lookout Mountain to experience some of the best hikes near Denver.
Boat on Lake Dillon or bike at the Frisco Adventure Park
🗺️ Distance from Fort Collins: 2 hours 15 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Things to Do in Frisco | 👉 Top Frisco Tours
Frisco is a great little town just off I-70, found along the shores of Lake Dillon. The lake has boating, fishing, and swimming in summer. In winter, you’re close to several great Colorado ski resorts, and there are hiking trails and tubing at the Frisco Adventure Park in town.
Lory State Park
Go backcountry camping, mountain biking, or geocaching at this park near Horsetooth Reservoir
🗺️ Distance from Fort Collins: 30 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Lory State Park Website | 👉 Top Fort Collins Tours
There are hiking trails, rock climbing routes, and lots of other outdoor activities at Lory State Park. Since the park is on the edge of Horsetooth Reservoir, you can also canoe, kayak, or paddleboard.
See the inspiration of The Shining and spend a day in a gorgeous mountain town
🗺️ Distance from Fort Collins: 1 hour | 📍 Google Maps | Things to Do in Estes Park | 👉 Top Estes Park Tours
Although Rocky Mountain National Park isn’t far from Estes Park, there’s enough to do in this quaint town to keep you busy! Visit The Stanley Hotel to see where Stephen King was inspired to write The Shining, go for a horseback ride, or paddle on Lake Estes.
📚 Related Reading: 21 Best Places to Live in Colorado in 2022 (By a Local)
A short drive away, Greeley has a host of things to do
🗺️ Distance from Fort Collins: 45 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Things to Do in Greeley
Visit the Centennial Village Museum to take a trip back in time, and continue the history lesson at the Colorado Model Railroad Museum. Greeley is a college town, so there are also great places to eat, a downtown distillery that hosts live music, and other fun places to go out.
Pawnee National Grasslands
This grasslands area is world-renowned for birding
🗺️ Distance from Fort Collins: 45 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Pawnee National Grasslands Website
The grasslands are home to lots of Colorado wildlife, and it’s especially known as a great birding spot. You can also camp, hike, go off-roading, target shoot, and visit the interpretive areas to learn more about the natural, national grasslands.
Spend a day north of the state line
🗺️ Distance from Fort Collins: 1 hour | 📍 Google Maps | Cheyenne Website | 👉 Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum Tickets
In summer, Gunslinger Square shows Wild West skits and Cheyenne Frontier Days, the world’s largest outdoor rodeo, draws a crowd. But there’s plenty to do in Cheyenne year-round. Take the railway trolley around town, visit the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens, or check out the Cheyenne Depot Museum for some western history.
FAQs About Day Trips from Fort Collins
What is there to do between Fort Collins and Denver?
There are many things to do between Fort Collins and Denver. Visit Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre, explore Boulder, or visit one of Colorado’s best outlet malls in Thornton. You can also go to St. Vrain State Park, one of the best state parks in Colorado.
How far are the mountains from Fort Collins, CO?
The mountains are not far from Fort Collins, CO. The city is in the Rocky Mountain foothills, and there are countless hikes near Fort Collins. For even more spectacular mountain scenery, Rocky Mountain National Park is just over an hour away.
Hopefully, these day trips from Fort Collins have inspired you! Whether you head north, south, west, or east, you’re surrounded by interesting places to explore near Fort Collins.
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