COS vs Fort Collins trails
I've done some searching but can't find info to address my specific question. I lived in COS for about 7 years and cut my teeth on the local trails (Palmer Park, Cheyenne Canon, Ute Valley Park, Rampart, etc). I am planning on moving back to the front range but am highly considering Fort Collins. Can anyone with experience riding in both areas give me a comparison/contrast between riding in the two areas? I've been looking at a Fort Collins trail map and it looks like it has quite a bit of trails, but what I am looking for is how it compares to the Springs regarding soil (not sure I miss the decomposed granite of the Cheyenne Canon area), crowds, trail variety, general mtn bike scene, etc.
I have not ridden in COS, so can not give you a good comparison and contrast. I can tell you that the mtb scene is good. There are lots of local riders and opportunities to ride with others. Local clubs and shops have regular rides that run the spectrum from xc racing, to recreational rides to more gravity oriented. Local message boards and facebook groups are also a good way to connect with others for rides. New Belgium has a short track series in the spring and there is a local race series at Lory State Park in the summer. Overland Mountain Bike Club holds an endurance race during the summer, as well. Yourgroupride.com is a local website that covers most things related to cycling in our area, including some mountain bike coverage.
We don't have much here in the way of DH style riding, though there are private individuals making headway on that front on private land nearby. You'll find that most trails have a more XC type feel, with some techy sections, but few large natural features like I see in pix of Palmer. There is fast and flowy and there is climbing. A short drive brings you to Crozier Mountain on the way to Estes Park and that descent has some more technical sections. Young Gulch, up the Poudre Canyon, also has some tech sections, but is currently closed as a result of last summer's wildfires.
Trails close to town are crowded on weekends, and especially warm winter weekends when the higher stuff is still muddy or snowy. However, when I ride during off hours (early on weekends and mid-day during the week) and when I ride the trails in the north part of Horsetooth Mountain Park, I rarely see others.
Soil conditions vary quite a bit, from some decomposed granite in Horsetooth Mountain Park to sticky clay-like dirt in the valleys at Lory State Park and on the Blue Sky Trail. There are also lots of rocky sections. The back loops at Devil's Backbone remind me a bit of some of the ledgy red rock sections on Porcupine Rim. Summer often means dusty and loose trail conditions unless we are having regular rains.