- Food & Drink
- Meetings & Celebrations
Hopping on a bike is surely part of the Fort Collins charm. With relatively flat terrain and more than 280 miles of bike lanes and thirty miles of bike trails, Fort Collins makes it so stress-free to get around town—it’s a dream-come-true for novice and recreational bicyclists!
We encourage our guests to borrow a bike and pedal around our great city for the true Fort Collins experience! The Armstrong Hotel loans out cruiser bikes to our guests: first come, first serve. We generally have between six and ten bikes available. Just stop at the front desk if you’re interested and we can give you the quick details for how to borrow a bike from us. We have helmets and locks as well and can direct you to maps based on where you may like to ride.
The Fort Collins Bicycle Library, situated at 250 North Mason, lends bicycles as well. You will find them inside the Downtown Transit Center building, just four blocks from the Armstrong. Reserve ahead of time for a small fee if you want to make sure you have a bicycle for your visit.
From the Armstrong Hotel, have fun exploring two of the main trails, which run parallel to the Spring Creek and Cache La Poudre River, in Fort Collins.
Part 2: Spring Creek Trail
From the Armstrong Hotel, I recommend riding south on Remington Street, which is a very wide street, for about a mile and a half to get to the Spring Creek Trail; you’ll have a bike lane the entire way. At the intersection of Remington and Spring Park Drive, you will merge onto the Spring Creek Trail.
Before you connect with the Spring Creek Trail, you will pass the CSU Annual Flower Trial Garden. The majority of the garden is on the west side of the street between Pitkin and Lake, although there are plants on the east side as well. Definitely worth seeing, the garden bursts with a spectrum of colors during the summer and fall. Up until the first snow falls, you will find petunias, begonias, geraniums, roses, and more! Sometimes just before evening falls, you can spot dozens of dragonflies swooping above the grassy knolls, hunting insects; it’s lovely to relax in the cool grass, as dusk settles in, to watch them.
In addition to the Trial Garden, check out the University Art Museum, located directly across the street, inside the University Center for the Arts (UCA) at 1400 Remington. The current exhibits are around through October and November and part of December—and best of all, they’re free! The Art Musuem is devoted to “the enrichment of the cultural and intellectual life of Colorado through the presentation of artwork that is stimulating, relevant, and of high quality.” The UCA also hosts theatre, dance, and symphony performances. Check out their website for a schedule and prices.
If you go east on the Spring Creek Trail, you will pass through a couple of natural areas such as Spring Park and Mallard’s Nest, wending alongside the wavy path of the Spring Creek. You may spot ducks bobbing their heads beneath the water for food, and will pass behind CSAs and family gardens. Sometimes, you’ll spy a horse or two grazing in a grassy field or a rabbit darting across your path.
Stop at the Edora playground for a quick trip back to your childhood by taking a turn on the swings. This part of the trail rides through a section of a disc golf course located in the park. If ice skating or swimming sound fun, pull off the bike trail at the Edora Pool Ice Center, situated on the east end of Edora Park.
Eventually the Spring Creek Trail merges with the Poudre River Trail where you can take the adjoining trail that leads to the Environmental Learning Center (described in Part 1). Or you can continue northwest on the Poudre River Trail, in which case you will head back toward Old Town Fort Collins and the Armstrong Hotel.
If you go west, you will turn right onto the sidewalk at the intersection of Remington and Spring Park Drive, being careful to pay attention for pedestrians. Go through the underpass, emerging on the opposite side of College Ave. Stop at the local Dairy Queen just north of the trail—you’ll see it on your right—if you want a sweet treat to give you energy for the rest of your bike ride! There’s a community air pump for your bicycle just a little further on the bike trail if your tires need more pressure.
Continue along the Spring Creek Trail where you will briefly hook up with the Mason Trail. This area is not marked with a sign, demarcating the direction you should travel; for a short section, the Mason Trail and Spring Creek Trail are one and the same. Make a right, and you will head north on the Mason Trail until you see a reddish-tinted pathway, where you will take a left onto the Spring Creek Trail, heading back toward the Front Range.
Before carrying on along the trail, take a detour to visit the botanical gardens. Just after riding through the Centre Avenue underpass, you will turn onto Centre Avenue for a momentary uphill ride. The Gardens at Spring Creek are located at 2145 Centre, on your right, just south of the trail. Explore the Children’s Garden, the Garden of Eatin’, the Rock Garden, and the Dahlia Demonstration Garden, among others. They are free to the public and open May through September: Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm, Saturday from 9am to 4pm, and Sunday from noon to 5pm. October through April, they keep the same hours, but are closed on Sundays.
Back on the trail again, meander southwest and curve around Rolland Moore Park on your left with nearby natural areas: Red Fox Meadows, Fischer, and Ross. Watch out for snakes crossing the trail—sometimes I see garter snakes or bull snakes, harmless, but sunning themselves in the middle of the path or just slithering through. Kitties and rabbits hide in the grasses, and again you’ll see horses grazing behind some farms. If your eyes are keen, you’ll spy caterpillars and beetles using the bike path as well.
For people on mountain bikes, there are plenty of single-track dirt trails that branch off of the primary trail, before linking back up at regular intervals. The Spring Creek Trail actually has many offshoots that lead to subdivisions, natural areas, parks, and dirt or gravel single-track pathways (which simply run parallel to the central trail), so don’t be surprised if you get off track once or twice along the way. There are not always clear signs marking the direction and it’s easy enough to take one of these side trails. Don’t worry! You’ll never get too far off the main path. If you realize you’ve accidentally deviated, finding yourself in a neighborhood or on a natural area loop track, just turn around and pedal back to the central path.
Eventually, riding along the Spring Creek, you will find yourself in Spring Canyon Park—another sprawling, luscious Fort Collins park. This one includes a skateboard park, dog park, playground, basketball court, picnic tables, shaded pavilions, and more! There are public restrooms, a water fountain, and another air pump if you need to fill your bike tires. Nearby is the Pineridge Natural Area—great for hikers or mountain bikers. If you ride far enough on the Spring Creek Trail, you will ultimately end up in the Cathy Fromme Prarie, on the outskirts of Fort Collins. However, if you’re on a cruiser bike, I recommend turning around at Spring Canyon Park and heading back the way you came. One way from the Armstrong to this Spring Canyon Park is about six miles.