Pineridge Natural Area was established in 1976 as one of the first protected natural areas near Fort Collins, Colorado. A result of the City Council’s open space plan of 1974, Pineridge Natural Area allowed for the preservation of the Colorado landscape from burgeoning residential and commercial development.
In 1992, the City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department introduced a new Natural Areas Program. Species of interest lists and education programs were developed to encourage visitors to engage with treasured natural area plants and wildlife. Bordering Fort Collins on the west, Pineridge is part of a group of Foothills Natural Areas including Reservoir Ridge, Maxwell, and Coyote Ridge. This scenic range hosts a tranquil expanse of recreational trails and reservoirs.
Miles of grassland, mountain mahogany shrubland, and patches of scrub forest make up Pineridge Natural Area’s foothills scenery. Wildlife inhabitants at Pineridge include western meadowlarks, elk, and black-tailed prairie dogs. There are many things to do at Pineridge Natural Area. Visitors can take a peaceful stroll down one of the many hiking trails, enjoying the fresh air and gorgeous views. For a more strenuous hike, try the 6.5-mile loop around Horsetooth Mountain Open Space. Or, go for a swim at Horsetooth Reservoir – one of Larimer County’s largest water recreation areas. picnicking, fishing, and birdwatching are also popular activities at Pineridge Natural Area. A mix of easy, intermediate, and challenging trails for walking, hiking, and biking make Pineridge a popular destination for the whole family. Leashed dog walking and horseback riding are also welcome along Pineridge trails.
Pineridge Natural Area’s trails include Reservoir Loop Trail(1.9 Miles), Foothills Loop Trail(9.6 miles), Valley Trail(0.7 Miles), South Loop Trail(0.7 Miles), Timber Trail(1.0 Mile), Ridge Trail (0.8 Miles), Viewpoint Spur(0.3 Miles), Park Trail(1.0 Mile) and Neighborhood Access Trail(0.2 Miles).
Pineridge Natural Area is the perfect place to come to relax and destress. The breathtaking views of the foothills will take your breath away and help you forget all your troubles. With so many different activities to choose from, there’s something for everyone at Pineridge Natural Area. Visitors can admire a full view of Dixon Reservoir along Reservoir Loop Trail. Nature lovers will enjoy the scenic half-mile of Viewpoint Spur between Dixon and Horseshoe reservoirs. For longer trail enthusiasts and more challenging mountain biking, Foothills Trail spans 9.6 miles from its southern loop in Pineridge up into the connecting natural areas of Maxwell and Reservoir Ridge.
Pineridge is also a popular destination for licensed fishermen and non-motorized boating on over 40 acres of peaceful Dixon Reservoir. Bass, bluegill, and grass carp are just a few of the native fish species Dixon offers.
There are also educational programs like themed nature walks and sky-gazing organized by the City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department. These programs take place between June and October each year. Access free parking for Pineridge Natural Area via County Road 42C, at approximately 2750 County Road 42C. Entrances into Pineridge include Dixon Canyon Road which is at the main entrance and Spring Canyon Park.