Fort Collins, CO

Fort Collins, CO

Fort Collins was founded as a military outpost of the United States Army in 1864. Settlers began arriving in the vicinity of the fort almost immediately. The fort was decommissioned in 1867 but the area continued to grow and thrive. Today the city is the fourth most populous city in Colorado with a population of 169,810 at the 2020 census.

Situated on the Cache La Poudre River along the Colorado Front Range, Fort Collins is located 56 miles north of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver. Fort Collins is a midsize college town, home to Colorado State University and Front Range Community College’s Larimer campus. Much of Fort Collins’s culture is centered around the students of Colorado State University. There is a local music circuit which is influenced by the college town atmosphere and Fort Collins is home to a number of well known microbreweries. The Downtown Business Association hosts a number of small and large festivals each year in the historic Downtown district. The Fort Collins Lincoln Center is home to the Fort Collins Symphony Orchestra and regularly attracts national touring companies of Broadway plays.

Outdoor activities abound with hiking, kayaking and whitewater rafting, cycling and running being prevalent. The Colorado Marathon is a yearly event running down the Poudre Canyon and finishing in downtown Fort Collins. The FORTitude 10K run, a partner running event of the Bolder Boulder, is held on Labor Day each year. The Horsetooth Half Marathon has been a fixture of the local running scene since 1973.

We visited the area for a week in June 2023. Fort Collins reminds us of Springfield Missouri in many ways with old restored homes surrounded by large mature trees. It’s also like a larger version of some of the cool small towns we have seen in the mountain areas around the state. While there we visited three of the area attractions including the Larimer County Farmers’ Market, Old Town and the Cache la Poudre River Canyon.

Larimer County Farmers’ Market

Started in 1975, The Larimer County Farmers’ Market is the oldest farmers’ market in Northern Colorado. It supports local growers and is a staple of Old Town Fort Collins. The market operates on Saturdays from late May to the end of October.

Old Town

Old Town in Fort Collins is a well-preserved downtown district of 23 historical buildings that are part of both national and local designated historic districts. Included is the Armstrong Hobeing Hotel, a Fort Collins landmark that was restored in 2004 to its former Art Deco elegance. You’re likely to notice a strong resemblance to Disneyland’s Main Street USA here as it was modeled after Fort Collins old downtown! Old Town Fort Collins is lined with nature, tourist, antique, retail, and candy and confectionery shops as well as a variety of restaurants (over 80 of them) to provide a taste for any craving, and countless places to dine outdoors. Additionally, you can ride the only original trolley car west of the Mississippi through a beautiful historic Old Town neighborhood. And on any given day, you can enjoy the sounds of live music drifting through the square. The image at the top of this post is from the Old Town area.

Cache la Poudre River Canyon

Taking CO 14 (Poudre Canyon Rd.) west into the mountains off of US Highway 287 brings you through Poudre Canyon, a narrow verdant canyon, approximately 40 miles long, on the upper Cache la Poudre River (called the “Poudre” for short, which locals pronounce as “Pooder”). The canyon is a glacier-formed valley through the foothills of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains northwest of Fort Collins. The Poudre is Colorado’s only nationally designated “wild and scenic” river. Highway 14 is designated a Colorado Scenic and Historic Byway between Fort Collins and Walden. Hiking, picnicking, winter sports, hunting, fishing, whitewater rafting and wildlife viewing await you along the route.

Due to recent rains, the Poudre River is really flowing
Rocky peaks in the canyon
An unexpected tunnel along Poudre Canyon Rd.
More rain on the way!

Park Review – Fort Collins Lakeside KOA Holiday

Our site (#79)
Paddle Boats
Rental Bikes
Jumping Pad
Shuffle Board
Swimming Pools
Park Map

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Location:  Fort Collins, CO
Type: Commercial Park
Check-in/Check-out times: 1:00PM/11:00PM
Site Quality / Amenities: Concrete pads and gravel roads. Cable TV is also available. Additional site amenities are available depending on the site type you book. There is a pool along with a splash pad, exercise room, rest rooms, showers and laundry room available on site. For families, there is a train that runs through the park, a fishing dock, paddle boats, bike rentals, pickle ball, basketball, shuffle board, horseshoes, mini golf, a jumping pad and a large playground.
Access: Take I-25 exit 269B (Highway 14/Mulberry Street) west. Take Mulberry street west about 5 miles to Riverside. Turn right. Take Riverside to College Ave/Highway 287 and merge right/going north. Take Highway 287 to the roundabout. Follow the left lane and go through the roundabout towards the town of Laporte. At County Road 54G/Taft Hill Road, there is a stoplight. Turn left on Taft Hill Road. The park is .6 miles south on the left.

Staff: We had minimal interaction with the staff but they were always professional and helpful.
Cellular/WiFi: WiFi was available but we did not use it. Verizon was 4G at 6.5 Mbps upload and 2 Mbps download and tended to go down occasionally. AT&T was slower and often non-functional.
Restaurants: Pueblo Viejo – OK Mexican food near Old Town. Serious Texas BBQ – Pretty good Texas style BBQ. There were lots of other places in the area but we didn’t end up eating out that much.
Nearby parks: We didn’t look at any nearby parks. In researching the area there just aren’t a lot of places around here we’d stay.
What we liked: Fort Collins is a really nice place to visit and there are a lot of outdoor things to do in the area. As KOAs go, this is one of the nicer KOAs we have camped in.
What we didn’t like: The area gets crowded on the weekends and if the university was in session I can imagine it being even worse. The KOA is a typical KOA, high price for what you get. To be fair, this is a Holiday park and to really get your money’s worth you would need to come with younger kids who would use all the family amenities. You need a lot of sewer hose to connect up as most if not all of the connections are at the back of the site. We used 30′ of hose.
Verdict: We’d stay in the KOA here again but only after closely looking at other options. There are many campgrounds along the Cache la Poudre River Canyon but we’d have to make sure we could fit into the spaces.

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