3 Day Trips from Fort Collins You'll Love

Here are the best day trips from Fort Collins that are just a short drive outside of our great city!

A favorite home base for many visitors, Fort Collins is one of the best cities to visit in Colorado because of its close proximity to other destinations. 

Golden, CO (1.5-hour drive from Fort Collins)

What makes it special

Golden, Colorado started as a gold rush town. As you walk through their downtown area you’ll still get the feel of that historic west! Today it’s famously known as the home of the Coors Brewery headquarters, and the beautiful campus of the Colorado School of Mines. 

Things to do

Rent an e-bike

Hop on an e-bike and ride the trails around Golden, including Clear Creek Trail through downtown. Adventure West Rentals is located along the trail so it’s easy to grab your bike and head out. 

Shopping

If you’re looking to take home some special Colorado souvenirs for the whole family, stop at Red Wagon Gift and Garden Shop. To find sculptures, pottery, paintings, or jewelry with a truly western flair, visit Spirits in the Wind Gallery. There are over 75 shops in Golden to provide you with a great day of shopping!

Lookout Mountain

Take in the views of the surrounding area by driving a short distance to Lookout Mountain. This will give you the best view over Golden and the surrounding Denver area. There are also great hiking trails in the area including the Windy Saddle trail on Lookout Mountain, which is only 4.4 miles, round-trip. 

How to get there

Take the back highways from Fort Collins and enjoy the view from farmlands to foothills to mountain peaks. Take Hwy 287 to Longmont and then through Boulder to Hwy 93. It’s a beautiful drive.

Saratoga WY (2.5 hours from Fort Collins)

What makes it special

It’s all about the drive. Just a short distance north of Fort Collins, you’ll begin to climb in altitude on your way to Laramie, WY. Then head west through the winding tree-lined road through Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest.

Things to do

Stop along the way

The drive through the National Forest provides scenic stops all along the way. At the top of the pass, it might be a little windy, but that’s what Wyoming is known for! Seeing the tall crags of rocks jutting out as you drive gives you a sense of being on a mountaintop.

Soak in the hot springs in Saratoga

The gem of the area is the hot springs. Bring your suit and towel and relax at the Hobo Hot Springs, free and open to the public 24/7. At a steamy 120 degrees, it’s sure to ease away any stress or tension from your travels.

Dining

Small towns are known for good food and good hospitality and Saratoga has both. If you’re looking for great Italian food, visit Bella’s Bistro. Or try delicious comfort food and a good whiskey at Firewater Public House. Some restaurants are closed on certain days, so check this list of restaurants for hours when planning your day trip.

How to get there

Drive north on Hwy 287 to Laramie, then west on Hwy 30, and then north into Saratoga. 

Cheyenne, WY (45 minutes)

What makes it special

It still feels like the Old West as it’s home to Cheyenne Frontier Days, “The World’s Largest Outdoor Rodeo and Western Celebration”, that takes place every July.

Things to do

Visit the Museums

Western heritage is on display at the many museums in the area. For railroad enthusiasts, visit the Cheyenne Depot Museum. History buffs will enjoy the Cowgirls of the West Museum and the Nelson Museum of the West. If you can’t be in town for Cheyenne Frontier Days, visit the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum for all the rich history.

Do a scavenger hunt…Wyoming style

If you come to Cheyenne, you can’t miss going on a scavenger hunt to find the Big Boots! Painted by area and local artists, these boots each have a story to tell. It includes an audio tour so you can discover the story by the artists themselves.

Terry Bison Ranch

On your way back to Fort Collins, stop at the Terry Bison Ranch at the Colorado/Wyoming border. This is a working bison ranch and provides plenty of activities that everyone will enjoy; see the bison riding on the train, maybe go horseback riding or hop on an ATV, then stay for a bison burger or BBQ beef brisket at the Tombstone Grill

How to get there

It’s easy, just head north on I-25. Be sure to visit the Southeast Wyoming Visitors Center on your way into Cheyenne to get you immersed in the western culture.

Looking for More Great Things to Do in Fort Collins?

Plan to take one or all three of these day trips. Each one is a great experience! And if you’re looking for a whole list of things to do in Fort Collins, check out our list of 101 best things to do in our great city!