Arthur's Rock is a formation of pegmatite granite that bulges out of the rolling foothills on Colorado's Front Range. Located in Lory State Park, Arthur's Rock is one of the more popular hikes near Fort Collins. It starts at an elevation of about 5,500 feet and rises to an elevation of 6,782 feet. During the ascent, you will find yourself walking through dense Ponderosa Pine forest. In a turn of a corner, grassy meadows will appear and beautiful flora will follow. During the spring and throughout the fall Lory State Park is glittered with wildflowers. Among the wildflowers a hiker can find over a hundred different species of butterflies floating around the meadows and up the hillsides. A large mass of steep, solid granite will appear without warning and may look like a daunting conundrum.
Do not fear. This hike is very moderate and technical-free. The crux of Arthur's is the last 50 feet.
A semi-steep rock gully takes you to the summit. However, it never gets harder than an easy class 2. You will have views of the whole Front Range all the way to Pikes Peak on a clear day- I recommend bringing a date. The peacefulness of this area as well as the continually active wildlife gives Aurthur's Rock a distinct and abrupt separation from the city. A hiker will feel miles away from civilization when venturing out into this beautiful area.
There are three routes that will lead you to the summit of Arthur's Rock. The most popular starts at Arthur's Rock Trail. This is located at the very end of the park (the dirt road will dead-end into a parking lot). From the trailhead hike 1.7 miles to the summit. There is an elevation gain of about 1,200 feet.
The second route adds some milage. Start at Homestead Picnic Area and head up Well Gulch Nature Trail. A few hundred yards up there is a conjunction with Overlook Trail. Head south on this flat hillside for 1.9 miles until it connects with Arthur's Rock Trail (it connects at the start of Arthur's Rock Trail). The most difficult part of this option is the added distance to the summit.
A third route will take you behind Arthur's Rock (the Northwest side). Park at the group picnic area and take Timber Trail. This route will lead you to the six primitive campsites the park has to offer. Timber Trail is the hardest of the three due to being longer (3.5 miles) and also because of steep switchbacks and rocky areas.
Lory State Park has over 25 miles of trails. This map
will show you all of them.
From Fort Collins head North on Overland Trail. Take a left on Bingham Hill Rd. From here head South on County Road 23. Follow the signs into the park.
There is a yearround entrance fee of $5.00.
Behind Arthur's Rock you can find 6 primitive campsites (no water/electric). The cost depends on the time of year. They are $7.00 per night during peak/off peak seasons and $3.00 per night for winter.
Though this park is open year round, snow makes the hike much more difficult. The Poderosa forests cast enough shadow to lock in snow and ice for weeks. Summer-time wildlife can also be problematic. Ticks are very common in the park as well as rattlesnakes. Check yourself and watch your step.