Dowdy Lake sunset

County Offices, Courts and the Landfill will be closed on Monday, September 7 in observance of the Labor Day Holiday. Critical services at Larimer County will not be disrupted by this closure.


Horsetooth Mountain Open Space Conditions

Park elevation: 7255'
Report last updated: 8/31/2015

Current Conditions

Park situation



Larimer County Department of Natural Resources continually strives to maintain an excellent level of customer service. This includes checking trail conditions to keep a trails open when approriate and closing them to protect the natural resource. Our staff will continue to keep visitors abreast of trail conditions and open and close the opens spaces when trail conditions require. 

Allowing visitation and trail use during periods of extensive rain/snow fall causes significant damage to trail systems. When the ground is saturated and soft, running, horseback riding or biking on undeveloped dirt trails causes rutting,  and additional vegetation damage is caused  when users side step the extremely muddy areas. This loss of vegetation and rutting increases erosion by channeling water as it sheds off the trails. The Natural Resources Department and the citizens of Larimer County appreciate your cooperation and patience, during closures.  

The Horsetooth Mountain (upper lot), Soderberg (lower lot) and Blue Sky trailheads typically are overcapactiy during weekends and holidays.  We recommend carpooling, coming during non-peak times (before 9:00 am or after 4:00 pm) and trying out other less used open spaces.  Please plan accordingly.  Thanks


You can view the trailhead from our new webcam at :

Check out the new automated pay stations at the Horsetooth Mountain, Soderberg and Blue Sky trailheads. The pay station accepts credit and debit cards for purchasing daily permits. Daily permits are $6.00 for the day per vehicle. Annual permits can be purchased online, at several vendors around time or at the gatehouse on the weekends.

If extremely muddy conditions exist, please recreate only on the Towers, Swan Johnson, and Southridge roads/trails (two tracks) to help protect single track trails from damage. Help keep your trails stay in good shape. If there is a muddy area, do not walk around it as this expands the trails.

For Natural Resources events and activities, check out the Events Calendar.

Weather conditions can change rapidly in backcountry areas, especially during fall and winter seasons. Dress in layers, carry extra clothing, and be prepared for windy and wintery weather.


Backcountry camping is permitted at Horsetooth Mountain Open Space. There are three designated backcountry sites that can be accessed from the upper Horsetooth Mountain lot. Backcountry camping is on a first come, first served basis.  There is an informational sign along with a sign in sheet near the gatehouse at the trailhead.  You must sign in before you camp.  This is low impact, leave no trace camping. Fires are not allowed. Camping stoves only. To contact a county ranger or for more information call (970) 679-4570.

Trail conditions

Horsetooth Rock Trail and Horsetooth Falls Trail are foot travel only due to the high use.

Trail maintenance is an ongoing project at Horsetooth Mountain Open Space. All trails remain open, however, you may encounter workers during weekdays or select weekends. To assist with Larimer County's Adopt-a-Trail program, please call (970) 619-4552.

Please report any concerns or trail problems to a ranger. Rangers can be contacted at (970) 679-4570.


Mule deer, black bear, bobcat, foxes, and coyotes are fairly common sightings. Mountain lions also reside within the property of Horsetooth Mountain Open Space.  They are a rare sight even though they are year-round residents. Keeping small children close and dogs on leash while hiking is always a smart precaution.

See the Parks and Open Lands event calendar.
Background Image: Dowdy Lake Sunset by John Bartholow. All rights reserved.