The Poudre Trail’s numbers are straightforward – 10 feet wide and 12 miles long. This is not to be confused with the Poudre River Trail, which is almost 22 miles long and is in Greeley, CO. Fort Collins’ city fathers (and mothers) broke ground on the trail in 1994 and completed it in 2008. There are few bells and whistles to the trail, though it is a bit tricky finding the trailhead. It’s about a ½ mile down a dirt road off a paved cul-de-sac at the end of a road-to-nowhere, about five miles east of downtown. Once the trail is located, it starts off in what looks like a light industrial setting, but instead is an “environmental facility.”
The early stretch is mostly concrete, perhaps not environmentally friendly, but biker friendly to those who are just getting their morning bike legs. Early on, the Poudre does not appear to be a powerful river, presenting itself more like a shallow stream. Soon, the trail approaches downtown Fort Collins, much quieter during the daytime than it is at night. Later, the trail heads around a large pond. It turns out that is the town reservoir, and the reason why the Poudre River flow is so gentle. From the reservoir west, the view is outstanding, much more dramatic than the prairies east of town. And just beyond the edge of the official trail, the road starts its climb toward the Rockies.
A nationally known brewery is right off the bike trail in downtown Ft. Collins.