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Visit Horsetooth Reservoir

A rocky slope leading into calm water into still water in Horsetooth Reservoir

If you’re of a certain age, you may recognize “horsetooth” as a less-than-flattering thing to say to someone. Around the uxury Denver apartments, however, the term is better known as a reference to the Horsetooth Reservoir, a large body of water in Larimer County, just west of the city of Fort Collins. In addition to providing water for communities in the region, this outdoor expanse is a fun place to explore, with plenty to do and see if you’re the “one with nature” type:

“Located in the foothills west of Fort Collins at an elevation of 5,430 feet, Horsetooth Reservoir is 1,900 acres of water surrounded by 2,000 acres of public land. It is popular for fishing, boating, water-skiing, and camping. This 6.5-mile reservoir is open year round and is a part of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project operated by the Bureau of Reclamation and the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District.”

Sound intriguing yet? We’re thinking the answer is “yes,” and if so, you’ll probably want a bit more information about getting to Horsetooth Reservoir and enjoying what it has to offer. Read on, because today, we’re going to fill you in on all the details you’ll need to make a swift summer getaway to Larimer County and have a blast taking part in all the great activities out at Horsetooth Reservoir.

Some Background on Horsetooth Reservoir

Located north of Denver, Horsetooth Reservoir is perched between Horsetooth Mountain to the west, and Fort Collins to the east. About half-a-mile wide, it stretches north to south for about 6.5 miles, and was created back in the late 1940s as part of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project, an effort by the Bureau of Reclamation to divert water to populated areas in the state of Colorado:

“Knowing the water from the Poudre River was inconsistent, sometimes providing too much and at other times not enough, Horsetooth Reservoir was developed to solve the problem. The reservoir acquired its name from the unique rock formation that sits above the large body of water.”

Nowadays, the reservoir still serves this purpose, and the area around it is filled with natural wonders for visitors to come and explore. A popular destination for residents in Colorado and beyond, it brings in roughly 570,000 visitors every year, and offers each of them plenty to do — both on the water and off it.

Recreation & Activities at Horsetooth

One look at the list of activities and amenities around Horsetooth, and you’ll realize you’re in for an action packed getaway:

  • Boat Launch
  • Boat Launch Ramp
  • Boating
  • Comfort Station
  • Drinking Water
  • Dump Station
  • Fishing
  • Horseshoes
  • Lake
  • Parking
  • Picnic Shelter
  • Picnicking
  • Ranger Station
  • Restroom
  • Scuba Diving
  • Shelters
  • Showers
  • Volleyball
  • Water Drinking
  • Water Skiing
  • Windsurfing/Sailboarding

Among the myriad things to do here, hiking seems to top the list for many, and the trails around Horsetooth Reservoir offer plenty of diversity in terms of difficulty and the stunning views they provide. Perhaps the most notable, though is legendary Horsetooth Falls, in the open mountain space:

“Horsetooth Falls is a short, beautiful hike that resides in the stunning Horsetooth Mountain Open Space, just west of Fort Collins and provides some of the best hiking in Fort Collins. This trail takes you through sprawling meadows that are filled with wildflowers during the spring months.”

As if that didn’t sound beautiful enough, the Horsetooth Falls route also takes you through the canyon before you eventually end up at the falls, and get to marvel at the beauty of the rushing waters. All-in-all, it’s about 2.5 miles, and appropriate for beginner and moderately-skilled hikers.

Hiking isn’t the only big item on the menu here, though. If you love the water, you’ll definitely want to check out the boating and fishing action as well. Taking a boat out onto the water is a great way to spend a leisurely afternoon. Just make sure you’re in compliance with all the rules before you do. Boats entering Horsetooth Reservoir must be inspected for aquatic nuisance species (and this limits boating activities to specific hours). You can check which times boating is permissible through the Larimer County website, and stay abreast of all the other rules that apply to taking a craft out onto the waters of Horsetooth Reservoir as well.

As far as fishing is concerned, there are plenty of species you may want to hook, including walleye, bass, trout, and several panfish. Just be sure to stay within the daily limits of what you can catch, which are referenced in the 2019 Colorado Fishing Handbook. You can fish both from your boat or from the shore, which should give you plenty of flexibility and opportunities to catch the fish you’re after. You can learn even more by reading up on the recent Horsetooth Reservoir Fish Survey and Management Data, which provides information on regulations, amenities, the stocking of fish, and everything else an experienced angler would want to know before hitting the water.

If wildlife watching is your main thrill, you’ll want to get associated with the Birds of Larimer County (of which there are many dozens) and Mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and fishes that call this area home. Bring your camera, and you may well get to snap a few shots of these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.

Lastly, Horsetooth Reservoir is the site of many regular events, from outdoor cooking competitions to classes on how to become a better fisherman, so be sure to keep your eye on the calendar so you’re aware of when something fun and exciting is taking place. Oh, and before we forget, be sure to have a great time when you finally make your getaway to Horsetooth Reservoir!

Getting to Horsetooth from the Luxury Denver Apartments

If you call fine Denver communities like The Palmer home, you’ll be pleased to know that Horsetooth Reservoir is just about an hour-and-a-half drive north from the neighborhood. It’ll be a nice way to change up pace, and when all is said and done, you can return to the magnificent comforts of your city abode, and ease back into Denver life refreshed and rejuvenated. Interested in learning more? Be sure to reach out, learn more about The Palmer and what it has to offer, then get ready to make this Denver apartment space you’ve always dreamed of.