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  1. #1
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    Considering move to Ft. Collins: MTB season length? distance to trails from town? etc

    I'm debating a move to Ft. Colllins from Logan (hr north of Salt Lake) to run my vintage/used bike shop. I love the city (ft collins) itself, but I'm wondering about the quality/closeness/length of the mountain biking around town.

    1: When does the mountain biking season typically start and end? Both in the foothills and in the canyons. I hear the foothills are rideable much of the winter...how cold can I expect on average?

    2. I want to live near old town. How far is it to the trails? I'm assuming the trails on the east side of the reservoir are closest. Easy ride to the TH (bike paths? light traffic roads?) ?

    3: quality of trails. How good are the trails in the foothills and mountains? The trails around the reservoir seem a bit simple from descriptions (I'm used to pretty techy stuff of SLC, PC, Moab, and St. George)

    4. I did a small walk around the bike paths near the poudre river, and noticed a bunch of singletrack. Does that continue for a while? Worth mountain biking on? Anything else worth riding east of the reservoir trails?

    Thanks in advance!
    Justin

  2. #2
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    1. I ride year-round here. Even when the trails are snowed in (I don't have a fat bike) or muddy, the roads are cleaned off pretty well and there are plenty of low traffic roads to pedal. Often when the trails are muddy, you can still get out early enough that the mud is still frozen. The past few seasons there have been few days when the trails close to town were unrideable. The coldest temp I have ridden in around here was -7F, but it rarely stays that temp for very long.

    2. From Old Town Square to:
    Maxwell / Prospect trail - 4.5 miles
    Foothills Trail / CSU Foothills Campus - 4.3 miles
    Michaud Lane / Reservoir Ridge - 5.6 miles
    There are multiple routes across town on quiet city streets and bike routes, so these rides are easy. Much of the housing in the OId Town area is west of Old Town Square, so these distances may be shorter. Keep in mind that Old Town housing prices are higher than other parts of town. You can also ride to Lory State Park, Horsetooth Mountain Park, Coyote Ridge, and Blue Sky Trails from town, but the ride is just a bit longer. Because I ride trails several times a week and only go to Old Town abouut once a week, I bought my house on the west side of town based on its proximity to the trail heads. I am 4 blocks from the closest trail, but I can still ride my bike to Old Town in 20 minutes or less.

    3. There is a decent mix of trail difficulty around here. Crozier Mountain and Devil's Backbone west of Loveland are plenty techy. The Foothills Trail either direction from the CSU Foothills campus is techy, as well. Many other areas are smooth and buff.

    4. The trails along the Poudre are not long or varied. Sometimes if I am riding the path along the river, I will jump on them for some variation, but they are not a destination. East of the foothills, the town is pretty flat, so the mountain biking is not that exciting. With the ease of getting to the trails on the western edge of town, there is not much of a need for other trails farther east in town.

    Good luck in your search.

  3. #3
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    Here is a ride from town this past weekend that involved about 10-12 miles of pavement and about 25 miles of dirt. If I had the legs, I could have easily added another 10-20 miles and tons more climbing:

    Untitled by sgltrak at Garmin Connect - Details

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    Fort Collins is awesome for mtb'ing. I lived on the west side of town (on Stuart between Taft and Overland) and often rode from the driveway to the trails. I was still close enough to Old Town that I could ride the townie in for weekend festivities.

    Great town. I swear time slows down when you exit I-25 and go west on CO-14/Mulberry.

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    Thanks Sgltrak! Looks like a nice ride

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    Unless Ft. Collins riding is a lot better than the trails around Golden, I would say the SLC area definitely has the better trails.

    We moved from Draper to Golden about 3 months ago and I haven't found anything yet that would compare to PC, Millcreek, Wasatch Crest, American Fork Canyon or Glenwild. Even the Draper trails seem to be better that many trails around here. But then maybe I just haven't gotten around enough here. So far all I had a chance to ride has been Chimney Gulch, Apex Park, Centennial Cone, Lair o' the Bear, Mount Falcon, Green Mountain and North Table Mountain. Nothing there that would put a smile on the face like some of the trails in the SLC area.

    Most of the trails around here seem to be intended as hiking trails and are not built with bikes in mind. They like to use water bars instead of grade reversals and most of the trails here don't have any flow going downhill. (Don't really need flow on a hiking trail, right?) Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of potential here, but it would take a change in thinking and trail building to make it a great place for mountain biking.

    So if you come here mainly to mountain bike, I would stay in the SLC area or at least spend some time riding the trails here before you make the decision to move. If you come here for other reasons, like we did, welcome to CO and enjoy the biking as much as you can.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by fisico View Post
    Unless Ft. Collins riding is a lot better than the trails around Golden.
    Ding, ding, ding... the trails everywhere on the Front Ranger are better than Jeffco.

  8. #8
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    I can speak to #2 as I live in Old Town and never drive to the local trails. My standard lunch loop is a 90 minute ride that includes the trails east of the Horsetooth Rez. On weekends I do 3-4 hour rides that include Lory, Horsetooth Mountain Park, and/or Bluesky, always riding from home.

    There are low traffic ways of getting to the THs, but not bike paths (EDIT: the Poudre Trail is an option from the north side of Old Town to access Michaud, but a pretty big detour from where I live). I generally have two routes I take from Old Town and they're 90% in mellow neighborhoods and 10% on low traffic roads with wide shoulders.

    Certain roads around the Rez get busy on weekends during boating season, but you learn to avoid those roads/times.

    There's always some place better, but Fort Collins has great trail access, variety, and volume.

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    Glad to hear Jradin! Great info, thanks. How is the trail east of Horsetooth?

    Fisico, no, I don't expect riding to be as good as SLC. It really is pretty epic here. But, the culture (scratch that....society of oppression is more accurate) absolutely sucks here! I do disagree with Centennial cone not matching SLC trails. I'd say it's better than anything in SLC save Wasatch Crest (cause what trail beats that? maybe Monarch Crest or PNW stuff but thats bout it).

    How do FC and surrounding (Poudre, big Thompson) trails compare with Centennial Cone? I love that trail?

  10. #10
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    also, how far is it really to get to the trails in Poudre, Big Thompson? Any good riding in Loveland?

    And the big question......When does the snow usually melt out of the canyon trails? May? June?

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    Cone's an OK trail (but I always end up riding it). The Elk Meadows fireroad sucks, Travois is fun, but limited on the tech.

    The thing that I loved about FoCo was having Horsetooth & Lory in your backyard. I used to MTB between classes while I was in grad school at CSU. Can't do that in Denver (everything is a 30-45 min drive) You could also link some sweet 2-3-4 hr rides from the upper or lower Horsetooth parking lots.

    Want variety? Head up the Poudre... or to Curt Dowdy... or to Lyons/Boulder County.

    Bobcat Ridge (SW of FoCo) is possibly one of my favorite trails in CO. Up the fire road to Mahoney Park and down Ginny Trail. I make a point of riding it everytime I'm in NoCo. Hall Ranch in Lyons and Mary's Loop/Horsethief Bench in Fruita/Kokopelli are up there as well.

    For the record, haven't ridden Monarch Crest or Crosier Mountain.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by fadetoblack6902 View Post

    And the big question......When does the snow usually melt out of the canyon trails? May? June?
    The snow melts in Feb or March or April or May. Sometimes in Feb and then it comes back in March and then melts in April, or it melts by April and them snows in April, or melts in April then snows in May. Last year melted in mid Feb. Not sure this year though.

    In any case you can ride most of the time in early spring unless there's snow. Sometimes you can ride almost year round. Sometimes there's snow. But usually you can ride, unless there is snow in May up to 10k, over 10k usually you can ride in July except for some years when you can ride there in June, unless it doesn't snow much then you can ride in May.

    I've learned this over the past 20 years in Colorado, so I'm an expert on snow and trails
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by fadetoblack6902 View Post
    Glad to hear Jradin! Great info, thanks. How is the trail east of Horsetooth?
    The trails east of Horsetooth make for nice lunch rides, but are by no means "destination" trails. But they do all connect to create a nice trail system close to town. On weekends these are my "gateway" trails to the trail networks west and south of the rez. From south to north:

    Pineridge Open Space: Non technical, mostly flat riding. Nice area to ride when there's snow cover or you're just looking for something short and mellow. Or if you're introducing a new rider to the mountain biking. Connects to Maxwell...

    Maxwell Open Space: Similar to Pineridge, but with a nice ~500 foot climb that gets you to the road that parallels the east side of the rez. Connects to Shoreline Trail...

    Shoreline Trail: Fun singletrack that parallels and overlooks the rez. A few moderately techy bits, but mostly smooth with minimal elevation change.

    Foothills Trail: Some of the most technical riding in the area, IMO. Fun descents but climbing some sections of this trail quite frankly sucks. I hate to admit it, but I generally bypass most of the Foothills Trail on my way to....

    Michaud, AKA /Reservoir Ridge: Michaud, like Maxwell, offers singletrack that gets you from town, over the first hog back, to the road that parallels the east side of the rez. Characterizied by lots of loose rock and punchy climbs, but a fun, more technical, alternative to Maxwell.

    The standard lunch loop is to ride Maxwell-Shoreline-Foothills-Michaud, or vice versa (throw in Pineridge if you're starting/finishing on the south side of town).

    The city has a nice trail map here, click on "Map (PDF)":
    EDIT: Natural Areas: City of Fort Collins
    Last edited by jradin; 12-05-2012 at 08:41 AM.

  14. #14
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    Not only is the biking better in Utah, but the cops friendlier, bar scene better, ladies hotter and sarcasm lesserer.

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    Law enforcemet IS friendlier in Utah. I mean, almost every time I'm there they stop me... just to say hello, make sure I'm enjoying my stay.
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    I think you'll find a great culture in FTC (OK - I live here and am a bit biased). Very bike friendly and lots of breweries (which you may not find in SLC). Lots of bike brewery tours, so bring your cruiser!

    I live on the south side of town and a great ride with a ton of options from my house is to ride to Coyote Ridge (takes about 15-20 minutes), which has a good climb with not too much techy stuff and a good back loop which connects to Blue Sky Trail, a fast, fairly smooth, rolling trail that is great as a connector to Loveland's trails to the south (Indian Summer and Devil's Backbone) and Lory/Horsetooth to the north. So, I can ride 50+ miles of singletrack from my house with the only road portion being that to and from my house to Coyote TH, with a ton of options for whatever type of riding I have in mind (climbing, black diamond techy stuff, smooth and fast rollers, etc). Plus, if I take Blue Sky to Lory, on the return I can stop near the Blue Sky TH at the Canyon Grille bar for a nice thirst quencher. Plus, with the bike paths and just a bit of road, it's only a 20 minute ride to Spring Canyon Creek Park to start Pineridge/Maxwell/Shoreline/etc. Downside of living on the south side is that riding to Old Town is a bit of a pain so I usually drive.

    Some local trails are rideable around 80+% of the year, so basically year round except for the occasional snow that takes up to a week to melt off. Even then, you can still ride in the morning before the temps rise to melt it off. The trails up the canyons, though, usually take longer to melt out, depending on sun exposure. Of course, as Kaj perfectly stated, it all depends on snow conditions! We've had only one bit of snow this year and it is looking to be another dry year.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by fisico View Post
    Unless Ft. Collins riding is a lot better than the trails around Golden, I would say the SLC area definitely has the better trails.

    We moved from Draper to Golden about 3 months ago and I haven't found anything yet that would compare to PC, Millcreek, Wasatch Crest, American Fork Canyon or Glenwild. Even the Draper trails seem to be better that many trails around here. But then maybe I just haven't gotten around enough here. So far all I had a chance to ride has been Chimney Gulch, Apex Park, Centennial Cone, Lair o' the Bear, Mount Falcon, Green Mountain and North Table Mountain. Nothing there that would put a smile on the face like some of the trails in the SLC area.

    Most of the trails around here seem to be intended as hiking trails and are not built with bikes in mind. They like to use water bars instead of grade reversals and most of the trails here don't have any flow going downhill. (Don't really need flow on a hiking trail, right?) Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of potential here, but it would take a change in thinking and trail building to make it a great place for mountain biking.

    So if you come here mainly to mountain bike, I would stay in the SLC area or at least spend some time riding the trails here before you make the decision to move. If you come here for other reasons, like we did, welcome to CO and enjoy the biking as much as you can.
    This post is pure fvcking GOLD!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by fisico View Post
    Unless Ft. Collins riding is a lot better than the trails around Golden, I would say the SLC area definitely has the better trails.

    We moved from Draper to Golden about 3 months ago and I haven't found anything yet that would compare to PC, Millcreek, Wasatch Crest, American Fork Canyon or Glenwild. Even the Draper trails seem to be better that many trails around here. But then maybe I just haven't gotten around enough here. So far all I had a chance to ride has been Chimney Gulch, Apex Park, Centennial Cone, Lair o' the Bear, Mount Falcon, Green Mountain and North Table Mountain. Nothing there that would put a smile on the face like some of the trails in the SLC area.

    Most of the trails around here seem to be intended as hiking trails and are not built with bikes in mind. They like to use water bars instead of grade reversals and most of the trails here don't have any flow going downhill. (Don't really need flow on a hiking trail, right?) Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of potential here, but it would take a change in thinking and trail building to make it a great place for mountain biking.

    So if you come here mainly to mountain bike, I would stay in the SLC area or at least spend some time riding the trails here before you make the decision to move. If you come here for other reasons, like we did, welcome to CO and enjoy the biking as much as you can.
    I have lived in both places 10 years in SLC and over 7 now in Golden. Personally I like the riding here better. And last time I checked Park City is not SLC.....if you use that logic here might as well include Breck and Winter Park as the Front Range.

    There are great trails up in Fort Fun and the riding season is way longer here. Not sure about the reference to Mill Creek.....Pipeline maybe? Not a very good trail by any standard....the Crest is sweet, aside from that the riding around the foothills of the Salt Lake Valley is pretty limited.

    I will say the riding on the Front Range is much harder in my opinion than SLC trails. When we first moved here I thought the same thing about Chimney and still have a love/hate relationship with it (as it is a b$tch of a climb), but it will get you in shape and continue to challenge you no matter how many times you ride it.

    Haven't ridden any of the Draper trails so can't comment on those, but have ridden in American Fork and around Timp.....good stuff down that way, but have heard motos have torn up much of the good stuff we used to ride down there.

    The reason to live in Utah is to ski.....if you want to ride, you can ride year round here, not so much in SLC. And there is just so much more trail here up and down the Front Range. What I really like about the riding here is the variety of trail within an hour drive.

    OP you will like the Fort.....tons of great riding up there and a lot of good beer....you can even buy a keg!!

    Oh yeah....Utah is weird don't miss living there at all.
    Last edited by steadyflow; 12-06-2012 at 07:43 AM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by fadetoblack6902 View Post
    I'm debating a move to Ft. Colllins from Logan (hr north of Salt Lake) to run my vintage/used bike shop. I love the city (ft collins) itself, but I'm wondering about the quality/closeness/length of the mountain biking around town.

    1: When does the mountain biking season typically start and end? Both in the foothills and in the canyons. I hear the foothills are rideable much of the winter...how cold can I expect on average?

    2. I want to live near old town. How far is it to the trails? I'm assuming the trails on the east side of the reservoir are closest. Easy ride to the TH (bike paths? light traffic roads?) ?

    3: quality of trails. How good are the trails in the foothills and mountains? The trails around the reservoir seem a bit simple from descriptions (I'm used to pretty techy stuff of SLC, PC, Moab, and St. George)

    4. I did a small walk around the bike paths near the poudre river, and noticed a bunch of singletrack. Does that continue for a while? Worth mountain biking on? Anything else worth riding east of the reservoir trails?

    Thanks in advance!
    Justin
    1. Justin, as many noted you can ride year round here. I'm either running 2.4" tires or my studded Nokian's depending on the snow conditions. The biggest storms of 12"+ put a damper on things for a week or two, but with all the sun we get things pack down and/or melt really fast. North facing slopes are sketchy for a while. I don't have a problem riding when it is single digits, so I typically ride mornings before it gets above freezing and things have a chance to thaw.

    2. I would live west of Shields. Close to old town and easy pedal to dirt. The picture here below (Maxwell Trail) is a 10 minute pedal from Shields/Prospect intersection. Old Town to dirt in 15 minutes or less by bike.

    3. Good enough to be named one of the best places to live, ride, drink beer and just live damn it! Lots of good stuff super close to town.

    4. Lee Martinez Park has some singletrack, but it's just that...good for walking the dog or looping. It was a favorite spot to take my son early on and he's gotten bored already at 8 years old.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Considering move to Ft. Collins: MTB season length? distance to trails from town? etc-1a-foco.jpg  

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  20. #20
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    Northern Colorado is not, I repeat not a good place for mountain biking. Specifically compared to Salt Lake City. I would say this "fisico" gentleman has contributed the most astute post in this entire thread.

    As he's stated, if you do decide on Colorado, enjoy the mountain biking "as much as you can".

    All we really have here are first world riding problems.

  21. #21
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    You guys rock with all the good info! I've gotten very excited about the Fort again after NYE I'm going to start a hardcore search to ffind a place (need somewhere I can run my mostly onlinne bike shop out of!) and move out there before spring hopefully.

    2Mellow, why live west of shields? Any reason other than closeness to dirt?

    To clear up SLC trail discusssions: SLC itself, does NOT have much riding. The shoreline trail is fun for a while, but it's nothing epic. Millcreek pipeline is too simple, The Draper trails (Corner Canyon) are pretty sweet, but from downtown it's a 30 minute drive. To get to the GOOD stuff, you have to go to the Wasatch Crest (best mountain trail in Utah, bar none), Park City (where theres 600 miles of epic trails of all sorts), Glenwild, or American fork. All of those are 45 min away or more. It's kind of like Portland. Not terribly much close in, but absolutely amazing and endless riding options with a 45-60 min drive

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleBitey View Post
    Northern Colorado is not, I repeat not a good place for mountain biking. Specifically compared to Salt Lake City. I would say this "fisico" gentleman has contributed the most astute post in this entire thread.

    As he's stated, if you do decide on Colorado, enjoy the mountain biking "as much as you can".

    All we really have here are first world riding problems.

    troll
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    Quote Originally Posted by jugdish View Post
    troll
    eastsider dayrider

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by fadetoblack6902 View Post

    2Mellow, why live west of shields? Any reason other than closeness to dirt?
    I just think if you are a mountain biker, the closer to trails the better. Also, access to Poudre Canyon is faster if you can go out Overland Hill Rd or better yet the dams rd (23) via Bellview.

    Nothing wrong with living further east, especially if you will have a business in the old town area. If I was young and single moving here (like when I moved here in 1999) I'd be looking in between the north/south running streets of Whedbee and Loomis and Pitkin/ Maple east/west close to the post-riding fun of downtown Fort Collins. I rented a house on Pitkin a few years and riding the cruiser to old town was so much fun.

    Best advice I could give is to stay away from the Harmony Road corridor east of College Ave. That part of town reminds me of the first 18 year of my life living on the east coast. We call it the Fort Collins Rat Race.
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    Quote Originally Posted by thump View Post
    Ding, ding, ding... the trails everywhere on the Front Ranger are better than Jeffco.
    Fair enough. What are the 3 best trails within 1 hr of Denver or Golden?

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