Horsetooth Mountain (also refered to as Horsetooth Rock by the locals) is a small mountain that sits just 15 minutes outside of Fort Collins. The mountain gets its name from its distinctive shape which looks much like a giant horse’s tooth with rough chewing surface and groove. The best vantage point to see this shape is Horsetooth Road in downtown Fort Collins.
Because Horsetooth mountain dominates the western horizon of Fort Collins and is such a recognizable feature, many things and places in Fort Collins use Horsetooth in their logos and names: hotels, athletic teams, sporting events, outfitters, bowling alleys, the reservoir, Fat Tire beer etc.
About the hike: Horsetooth Mountain sits in Horsetooth Mountain Park which is administrated by Larimer County. The park encompasses roughly 2,500 acres and contains 28 miles of trails. There are several route variations to get to the summit of Horsetooth Mountain and all involve a couple mile class one hike up a well maintained trail (choose from many combinations of the following trails: Horsetooth Falls, Soderberg, Audra Culver, Horsetooth Rock, Wathen). All these trails lead to the same basic place at the base of the rock outcropping which makes the distinctive tooth. Once at the base, you can either climb the south portion of the tooth or the north portion. (You cannot get from one to the other without climbing all the way down first.) Both are class two scrambles, but I believe the north portion has a little more exposure and a smaller summit.
The summit offers awesome views of the Fort Collins/Loveland area. On a clear day you can see a long ways (sometimes you can even see Pikes Peak). And of course to the west Longs Peak and Meeker Peak dominate with the Mummy Range also prominent.
Horsetooth Mountain Park Trail Map
List of Trails
Audra Culver Trail
Hiking Suggestions (as recommended by Larimer County—time and difficulty estimates probably don’t apply to most SPers)
From Fort Collins take Harmony Road west. Once you pass Taft Hill Road Harmony becomes 38E. Continue along 38E as it climbs over the Hogback and skirts around the south end of Horsetooth Reservoir. 38E climbs up another ridge, descends down to the marina and then climbs another hill. At the top of this hill you'll find the parking lot for Horsetooth Mountain Park on your right (north side of the road). Horsetooth Mountain should be visible for almost all of the drive.
Park Entrance Permits
Ringing Horsetooth Reservoir there are numerous good toproping and bouldering areas. A few of these are Duncan's Ridge, Piano Boulders, Torture Chamber, and Rotary. Rotary Park is a fee area but the rest are free.
Due to it's low elevation and it's easy access, Horsetooth Mountain can be climbed all year round. Click on the icon below for current, detailed weather conditions. Also, you can try this link for park conditions. However, it's not updated very often