Running at Bobcat Ridge

I ran at the city's Bobcat Ridge Natural Area for the first time this week and loved it. It's a little too far from my home office for a lunchtime run, and because my dog is not allowed at all I always pick other destinations for a weekend outing with my family. I found myself in the neighborhood and jumped at the chance to check it out.

The City of Fort Collins bought 2600 acres (1050 hectares) of land west of Masonville in 2003 and opened it to the public in 2006. It's at the very edge of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, where long linear hogbacks of the oldest local sandstone (from the Permian period) frame the uplifted granite bedrock.

Parking at the Buffum Canyon entrance

The trail that loops around the small valley the settlers called West Glade is 4.5 miles (7.5 kilometers) long. The best stretches roll through Ponderosa pines and over the granite toes of the Rockies on the west side of the valley.

Looking east across West Glade to Milner Mountain from the foot of Green Ridge

I'm definitely going to get back to Bobcat Ridge this season if the dry and mild weather continues. There are many more trails, and a hanging valley, to explore higher up on Green Ridge. I was only there for 45 minutes, but could easily spend half a day or more on the park's singletrack trails.

Valley Loop trail, looking south