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Horsetooth Reservoir, Ft. Collins (Colorado) + VIDEO

Horsetooth Reservoir Fort Collins Colorado - Happier Place

The beautiful Horsetooth Reservoir, just west of Fort Collins, is the perfect Colorado getaway: swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, biking, wildflowers, wildlife, stunning sunsets and lots of places for secluded picnics…

Horsetooth Reservoir was constructed in a valley of the Rocky Mountain Foothills in 1949. It’s 6.5 miles (10 km) long and 0.5 miles (1 km) wide. It features 25 miles (40 km) of shoreline – some of it accessible via Lory State Park on the west side of the reservoir where you’ll find most of the charming coves.

The whole area surrounding the reservoir is lovely throughout all four seasons… from the early spring wildflowers and summer fun, to colorful Colorado autumn and the serenity of a Colorado winter in the Rocky Mountains Foothills. You can observe this in the video Luci shot over four years and through all four seasons:

Horsetooth Reservoir is also the place where most of our ideas for the Happier Place tips and products were conceived. Needless to say, we spend a lot of time in and around the reservoir…

The name comes from Horsetooth Rock, a popular hiking destination, which overlooks Ft. Collins. But you’ll get an even better view of Horsetooth Reservoir, the town and the Great Plains beyond from Arthur’s Rock in Lory State Park.

Arthur's Rock - Horsetooth Reservoir - Colorado
View of Horsetooth Reservoir and Ft. Collins from Arthur’s Rock in Lory State Park.

The reservoir provides municipal water for Fort Collins, Greeley and smaller communities and for irrigation of the South Platte River Basin. It can hold up 156,735 acre feet (193,330,000 m3) of water. But the amount of water fluctuates quite a lot. It’s usually highest in late June after the snowmelt (when trees and bushes disappear in the water) and lowest towards autumn (when vast sand and rock beaches appear along the shore). Right now it’s so low that they’ve already closed the north ramp and the season of taking our little boat Slow Ride out into the coves is over. Boooh!

Colorado Wildflowers - Horsetooth Reservoir - Colorado - Happier Place
Colorado Wildflowers at Horsetooth Reservoir, Colorado.
Eltuck Cove - Horsetooth Reservoir - Colorado - Happier Place
Cruising into South Eltuck Cove on the Lory State Park side.
Baby ducks on Horsetooth Reservoir - Colorado - Happier Place
Baby ducks racing across the reservoir.
Deer - Horsetooth Reservoir - Colorado - Happier Place
Deer during an evening stroll along Horsetooth Reservoir.
Summer sunset - Horsetooth Reservoir - Ft. Collins - Happier Place
Summer sunset over Horsetooth Reservoir, Ft. Collins.
Fall colors at Horsetooth Reservoir near Fort Collins, Colorado - Happier Place
Fall colors at Horsetooth Reservoir near Fort Collins, Colorado.
Eltuck Cove - Horsetooth Reservoir - Lory State Park - Colorado
Autumn colors in North Eltuck Cove in Lory State Park.
Ice - Horsetooth Reservoir - Colorado winter
Ice on Horsetooth Reservoir!
Horsetooth Reservoir winter Colorado - Happier Place
Serene Colorado winter.

All photos in this post were taken by Luci Westphal. By clicking on an individual image you can see a larger version – and even order a print, if you’re so inclined. The music in the video is by Jason Shaw.

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