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Northern Colorado offers a bounty of recreational activity, cultural hotspots and educational institutions. From Fort Collins to Firestone, discover why homebuyers are choosing to make this scenic area home.
Cache la Poudre River
This 76-mile river is the only one in Colorado to be included as part of the National Wild and Scenic River System. French for “powder cache,” its name derives from early 1800s French-Canadian trappers who stored their gunpowder near the river during a blizzard. Locals, however, usually just refer to it as the “Poudre.” Starting in Rocky Mountain National Park, the Poudre River flows down the scenic Poudre Canyon, into Fort Collins, and out east where it eventually joins up with the Platte River. Activities along the river include white water rafting, tubing and fishing.
Soapstone Prairie Natural Area
Purchased by the City of Fort Collins in 2004, this 28-square-mile swath of land near the Wyoming border comprises a stunning open landscape with natural and cultural significance. Here you’ll find the National Historical Landmark Lindenmeier archeological site, with excavated ancient PaleoIndian artifacts dating back 10,000 years. There’s also hiking, biking and horseback riding. And be sure to keep your eyes out for the area’s rich variety of wildlife, including pronghorn, bison, elk, fox, owls and eagles.
Big Thompson River
Like the Poudre River, the Big Thompson has its headwaters in Rocky Mountain National Park. From there, it winds its way through Estes Park and then follows the Big Thompson Canyon down to Loveland, eventually joining with the South Platte River. Fishing, tubing and kayaking are some of the activities enjoyed by visitors of this majestic waterway.
Lory State Park
This natural gem boasts 26 miles of trail for hiking, biking and horseback riding. The park also adjoins the east side of Horsetooth Reservoir, allowing water enthusiasts to launch kayaks, canoes and rafts. Fishing, backpacking, educational programs, hunting and rock climbing are other activities that attract visitors to Lory State Park.
Named after a prominent rock formation resembling horse teeth, this stunning mountain reservoir is just a short drive from Loveland and Fort Collins, sitting at a foothills elevation of 5,420 feet. Here, you can enjoy water sports, fishing and camping along the shoreline, in addition to plenty of hiking in the surrounding Horsetooth Mountain Open Space.
Boyd Lake State Park
Located in Loveland, Boyd Lake offers 1,700 acres of water with captivating Front Range views. Water activities include everything from jet skiing and sailboating to stand-up paddleboarding and fishing. Off the water, you can also hike, hunt, ice skate, geocache and camp.
An 1,100-acre reservoir buttressing the foothills southwest of Loveland and northwest of Berthoud, Carter Lake and its surrounding open space offer camping, rock climbing, fishing and all manner of water activities—even scuba diving!
Located in the town of Windsor, this lake features a 2.25-mile trail around its perimeter, a dog park, plus the charming Boardwalk Park—boasting a swim beach, playground, fishing and volleyball. Boat rentals are also available.
Island Grove Regional Park
Dating back to Greeley’s founding in the late 1860s, this historic park sits on the banks of the Poudre River. With 145 acres, Island Grove Regional Park boasts the space and facilities to host several big events throughout the year—including the Weld County Fair, Greeley Blues Jam and the Greeley Stampede. In addition to event buildings, Island Grove features sports fields, a splash park, a playground and a picnic shelter.
Union Reservoir Nature Area
This natural lake on the east side of Longmont features a swim beach, boating activities, paddleboarding, kayaking, windsurfing and more. Union Reservoir also hosts athletic events and festivals.
Colorado State University (CSU)
Colorado’s only land grant university, CSU began in 1879 as Colorado Agricultural College, which was later modified to Colorado Agricultural & Mechanical College, or Colorado A&M. While retaining its agricultural roots, the university eventually expanded to include business, engineering, athletics and liberal arts programs, among others, and finally settled on the name of Colorado State University. The university’s flagship campus is located in Fort Collins, but the CSU system also includes a campus in Pueblo as well as a global online program.
University of Northern Colorado (UNC)
Located in Greeley, UNC has been regarded as a premier institution for aspiring teachers since its early days during the turn of the 20th Century. But today, the university also offers a broader range of academic and athletic programs. UNC also has extended campuses in Loveland, Denver and Colorado Springs.
Front Range Community College (FRCC)
One of Colorado’s largest community college systems, FRCC has campuses in Fort Collins, Brighton, Longmont, Boulder and Westminster. The school offers two-year degrees and certificate programs.
Aims Community College
With campuses in Greeley, Loveland, Windsor and Fort Lupton, Aims Community College specializes in two-year programs, offering hundreds of degrees and certificates.
Fort Collins Museum of Discovery
This dynamic museum has a lot to explore, from a music and sound lab to a fossil wall, a health exhibit, a space exhibit and much more. The museum also offers summer camps and other programs, and features educational movies, laser shows and more in a state-of-the-art digital dome theater with a 39-foot diameter screen.
Old Town Fort Collins
This picturesque downtown area was one of the inspirations for Disney’s Main Street, U.S.A. A central walking mall is flanked by restaurants and boutique shops on surrounding side streets—all housed within historic preserved buildings. Colorado State University, city government buildings and the Cache la Poudre River are all nearby, imbuing the core of this rapidly growing city with a charming, tight-knit vibe.
This music venue in Old Town Fort Collins resides in a 1906 building with past stints as a furniture store and movie theater. Today, it’s one of the city’s largest and most popular places for live music.
When you hear about live music in a scenic Colorado location, it’s most often in reference to Morrison’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre, but The Mishawaka has its own charms that are hard to top. Advertising “classic eats and river beats,” this iconic music venue boasts an outdoor stage right along the banks of the Poudre River, less than an hour’s drive up the Poudre Canyon from Fort Collins. The Mishawaka also hosts movie nights and other events.
Part of the larger Ranch Events Complex in Loveland—host of the Larimer County Fair—the 7,200-seat multi-purpose Budweiser Events Center is home to the minor league Colorado Eagles hockey team. It’s also a year-round venue for a wide variety of concerts and other live shows.
Budweiser Events Center
This master development in north Loveland features a large promenade with shops, dining, a movie theater, a sculpture park, outdoor trails, fitness centers and bodies of water.
Northern Colorado is home to a multitude of breweries, including one of the flagship beer makers of the craft movement, New Belgium Brewing. Other notable beer companies in the region include:
As a Colorado local homebuilder, Richmond American has been building new homes in Colorado for over 40 years. It’d be our honor to build yours next. And with hundreds of personalization options—from cabinets and flooring to home technology—you’ll have a new home uniquely suited to your tastes and lifestyle.
Sources: https://www.visitftcollins.com/, https://greeleygov.com/, http://www.cityofloveland.org/, https://www.fcgov.com, https://www.longmontcolorado.gov/, https://www.colostate.edu/, https://www.unco.edu/, https://www.frontrange.edu/, https://www.aims.edu/, https://www.centerra.com/, https://www.treventscomplex.com