The Lamb feeding Capital of the World: Really?

Fort Collins: A Rural City

This is the first time I’ve spent any length of time in Fort Collins so it has been fun getting to know the town. Surprisingly, with just over 150,000 folks, it is the 4th largest city in Colorado (behind Denver, Colorado Springs and Aurora).

It certainly has many of the things you would expect in a city — great restaurants, lots of sports stores (REI, Sports Authority, and more local bike shops than you can shake a stick at). But it doesn’t feel like a city. You can drive or cycle around town and you will see old barns and farms just down the road from malls and upscale shops.

Cattle farm

Cattle farm about 2 minutes from downtown

Old farm in the midst of the city

Old farm in the midst of the city

Located only about an hour north of Denver and 45 minutes south of Cheyenne Wyoming, Fort Collins was named Money magazine’s Best Place to Live in 2006, No. 2 in 2008, and No. 6 in 2010. I can see why.

Early Days of Fort Collins

It all started in 1864 as a military outpost, settled by the Army. The fort was decommissioned 3 years later but settlers colonized here to grow crops — agriculture was definitely the early draw to this area.What was the biggest crop? Beet tops! What? Yep, beet tops were used them to feed sheep and Fort Collins became known as the “Lamb feeding capital of the world“. Who knew?1

Colorado State University (CSU) was founded in 1870 and is now the reason for Fort Collins’ growth. It was originally an agricultural school as evidenced today with a big “A” laid with rocks in the mountains that overlook the football stadium.

CSU

Colorado State University

CSU

Colorado State University

Old Town

Great care has been taken to combat the urban feel of Fort Collins as evidenced in the most popular part of the city referred to as “Old Town”. You won’t see lots of high rises. Instead, it has a sort of town-center type of feel.

Old Town at dusk

Old Town at dusk

Old Town

Old Town

Old Town

Old Town – Union Pacific Railway Building

Old Town

Old Town Square

A Healthy City

Fort Collins, like most Colorado cities, rewards a healthy lifestyle with tons of biking, hiking and running trails. Most streets have a dedicated bike lane. You will see people biking, running and walking even when the temperature is in the teens — now that’s dedication! These are all pictures I took while cycling:

Hiking and biking trails

Hiking and biking trails

Old farm encountered while biking

Old farm encountered while biking

Old weathered house

Old weathered house

Thriving farms

Thriving farms

Old farms

Old farms storing grain

Lots of Lakes and Ponds

In addition to hiking and biking trails, there are also lots of ponds and lakes where you can boat, fish, and admire nature. The largest lake is Horsetooth Reservoir — you can bike to the top if you have the stamina — a mere 1,500 foot climb.

Horsetooth Reservoir

Panorama of Horsetooth Reservoir

Horsetooth Reservoir

Horsetooth Reservoir

Horsetooth Reservoir

Horsetooth Reservoir

Tons of geese on the lake

Tons of geese on the lake

Frozen Lake

Frozen Lake

Tree along the shore of a frozen lake

Tree along the shore of a frozen lake

Brew Pubs Galore

If you like brew pubs, Fort Collins hits the spot.  New Belgium (Fat Tire) is headquartered here and has daily tours and tasting rooms. Odell’s (think Easy Street Wheat beer) is also here and offers tours and tasting rooms where you can sit by a fire and listen to a local band. Other breweries include Black Bottle Brewery, Equinox Brewing, Fort Collins Brewery, Funkwerks, Horse and Dragon, and Pateros Creek Brewery — just to name a few!

From the tasting room at Odell's Brewery

From the tasting room at Odell’s Brewery

Close to Great Skiing

Fort Collins is also close to world-class skiing in Vail, Breckenridge, Keystone, Copper Mountain and Winter Park. Cameron (my oldest son) and I spent a ski day in Breckenridge, which is about 2.5 hours west of Fort Collins. We drove up for the day and had a spectacular time. Breckenridge has opened Peak 6 since we last lived here, with an elevation of 12,300 feet, it offers some really great advanced ski options. Cameron and I skied Peaks 6,7, and 8 while there and had really great snow. Too much fun!

Beautiful day at the slopes

Beautiful day at the slopes

Cameron skiing

Cameron skiing

At the top of Peak 6 (12,300 feet)

At the top of Peak 6 (12,300 feet)

At the top of Peak 7

At the top of Peak 7

Breckenridge Mansions

Breckenridge Mansions

I will leave you with a couple more pictures taken while biking, you can really start to appreciate the beauty of Fort Collins. We will be spending the next couple of months in Florida, soaking up some sunshine and enjoying the flat biking trails!

Ducks swimming next to the biking trails

Ducks swimming next to the biking trails

DSC_0015

Working windmill

Biking and hiking trails

Biking and hiking trails

1From Wikipedia

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “The Lamb feeding Capital of the World: Really?

  1. Robert & Robin Charlton

    Didn’t know about the beet tops! Nice to see a writeup on our home state of Colorado. Sorry I missed the skiing adventure, it sounded fun (although I’d have been sticking to the blue slopes). We leave in four days for Southeast Asia but will be in Maine in June and Colorado from July onward, so if you happen to be in either place, let us know. Our schedule should open up after this big trip.

    Reply
  2. Steve Miller

    Hey Robert,

    You must be psyched for the SW Asia trip, I know I would be (I admit I am bit envious). Sounds like you will be there for a few months, I know you guys will have a great time!

    We will definitely be back in Colorado in July and some of August, so let’s plan an outing so we can hear about your Asia travels.

    Give Robin our best.

    Steve and Lynn Miller

    Reply
  3. Pingback: 2014 In the Rear View Mirror | WeBeTripping Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s