Reservoir Ridge Natural Area | Fort Collins Natural Areas
Fort Collins, CO | 12/31/19 | 5.04 miles | 595′ gain
The last day of 2019 was reserved for hiking. Kyle chose Reservoir Ridge from my ever increasing list of “must-do” hikes. Reservoir Ridge Natural Area has 4 different trailheads, a large number when compared to the size of the park. We’d done a section of the Foothills Trail from the Overland Trailhead a few years ago, so we picked a new trailhead for this trip.
From the Michaud Trailhead, we followed the Michaud Spur Trail as it angled away from the private Claymore Lake. The spur trail was short and flat, crossing a section of prairie before hitting the Foothills Trail which would take us up Reservoir Ridge.
The elevation gain was surprisingly gradual and we switchbacked all over the hillside without seeming to get much higher. But the scenery was pleasant and the weather was perfect, so we could afford to take our time.
After about a mile on the Foothills Trail, we reached a junction with the North Loop Trail that loops around the top of Reservoir Ridge. We went counter-clockwise.
As we crested the ridge and came around the western side, the foothills made an appearance. And then Horsetooth Reservoir (the reason this ridge is named Reservoir Ridge) became visible in the distance.
The trail continued in a southerly direction, and we followed it for 1.5 miles along the west side of Reservoir Ridge. We had to navigate a few unmarked intersections but found our way with relative ease.
The trail entered another small valley with a rocky ridgeline on one side and a grassy hill on the other. There were signs on a wildfire through this area.
Once we came parallel to the Horsetooth Reservoir, our route turned left (east) and we crested the ridge once more. Once again on the Foothills Trail, we finished up the loop before reaching a familiar junction. We followed the Foothills and Michaud Spur Trails all the way back to the car. A quick and easy hike for a gorgeous last day of 2019.