Timber/Kimmons Loop | Lory State Park
Fort Collins, CO | 01/02/21 | 7.56 miles | 1,293′ gain
For my first hike of 2021, I chose a nice loop close to home in Lory State Park. The Timber and Kimmons Trails seemed to always be closed due to muddy conditions and I’d been waiting for a day they were open so I could check them out. A recent snowfall had covered up the mud and the trails had been reopened so I set out for an afternoon hike.
I parked at the Timber Group Picnic Area and started on the Timber Trail. The Timber Trail ascends gradual switchbacks up the side of PT 6835. While the name “Timber” brings up images of forests and tall trees, the lower section of the Timber Trail is open shrubland.
At about 6,000′, the trail stops climbing and contours around the east side of PT 6835. The trail was shaded here and pretty snowy.
The trail reached a high point before descending slightly and crossing Well Gulch. Signs warned that the Timber Trail was rugged and rocky and users should take caution. I didn’t find it terribly difficult on foot but bikers and horseback riders may want to skip it. The Kimmons Trail intersects here and heads down to the east, giving an easier alternative.
On the opposite side of Well Gulch, the Timber Trail ascends steep switchbacks. It was cool and snowy in the forest, and although the trail was well tracked, I didn’t see many people.
Around 6,700′, the trail came to an open area with great views across Soldier Canyon. A few of the park’s backcountry campsites are up here and I stopped at an empty site for a snack break.
From here, the Timber Trail continues another 0.8 miles to Arthur’s Rock. I didn’t feel like going any further so I backtracked back down into Well Gulch and up the other side to the Kimmons Trail. Similar to the earlier sections of the Timber Trail, the Kimmons Trail gently switchbacked down the hillside through open shrubland.
The bottom of the Kimmons Trail connects with the West Valley Trail, which parallels the road. I followed this about 0.8 miles back to the car.
It was already getting muddy now that the sun had some time to melt the snow, and by the next day the trails were closed again due to muddy conditions. I had a one day window to hike the Timber/Kimmons Loop and I felt lucky to have timed it just right!