Monthly Archives: June 2014

Paddling Natural Areas in Fort Collins, Colorado

Old Town Penobscot 15 canoe on Beaver Pond

Old Town Penobscot 15 canoe on Beaver Pond in Arapaho Bend Natural Area

Summer weekend. Where to paddle kayak, canoe or SUP in Fort Collins?

There is a lot of paddling opportunities along Front Range in Colorado. Horseooth Reservoir is perhaps the most popular lake near Fort Collins. However, during a summer weekend, I am rather looking for something less crowded and away from power boats.

I would recommend one of city’s natural areas to play with your kayak, canoe or stand up paddleboard. Along the Poudre River there are several small lakes and ponds created in location of former gravel mining operations. These lakes are used mostly by fishermen. Water level doesn’t change much during a year. So, there is a lot of vegetation along shores and plenty of wildlife.

My favorite Fort Collins natural areas for paddling are Arapaho Bend and Riverbend Ponds, but you can explore other areas along the river as well. There is also Dixon Lake at foothills.

Related posts and resources:
City of Fort Collins Natural Areas finder
Paddling with a Camera
Paddling Canoe on Lonetree Reservoir near Loveland
Stand Up Paddling (SUP) in Arapaho Bend Natural Area

Corgi  dog in a canoe

Pixel, the water Corgi, in a canoe

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A Curious Baby Fox in Pawnee Grassland

baby fox in Pawnee Grassland

A curious baby fox, his sibling was more shy, mother was hunting nearby.

I am visiting prairies in Colorado more often than mountains. This year Pawnee National Grassland is very green and full of flowers. Check this great picture of primrose blooming by Michael Menefee.

I didn’t shoot any spectacular pictures during my last visit into Pawnee National Grassland, but have a lot of fun watching foxes, pronghorn and birds. And, I discovered this cattle water tank with a rock outcropping. I need to return there for a better light.

cattle water tank and rock cliff,  Pawnee Grassland

Cattle water tank and rock cliff, Pawnee Grassland

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3 Pictures from Horsetooth Reservoir and Foothills after Wildfires

Horsetooth Reservoir, Horsetooth Mountain Open Space and Lory State Park are popular recreational areas near Fort Collins. Horsetooth Reservoir is one of my favorite paddling destination, especially, off season or on weekdays during power boating season. During last years we experienced several wildfires west of Horsetooth. The first picture was shot from the Centennial Road while next two during my paddling workouts.

Heavy smoke from High Park wildfire

Heavy smoke from High Park wildfire obscuring the sun and sky over Horsetooth Reservoir and foothills near Fort Collins, Colorado, June 10, 2012

Galena wildfire in Lory State Park

Burnt yucca and bushes after Galena wildfire in Lory State Park – green grass starting to regrow, April 2013

Green springtime landscape on the shores of Horsetooth Reservoir

Green springtime landscape on the shores of Horsetooth Reservoir (Orchard Cove) with some reminders of the Galena Wildfire – June 2, 2014

Related posts and resources:
Paddling the Skeleton Coast
Winter Paddling with Sea Wind Canoe on Horsetooth Reservoir
Larimer County Parks, Reservoirs, Open Spaces, and Trails
Colorado Parks and Wildlife
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Stand Up Paddling (SUP) in Arapaho Bend Natural Area

SUP paddling, Colorado

SUP paddling in Beaver Pond, Arapaho Bend Natural Area

There are a lot of opportunities for paddling a canoe, kayak or stand up paddleboard (SUP) in the Fort Collins area. My first recommendation for an easy recreational paddling would one of Fort Collins Nature Areas. Several old gravel mining operation along the Poudre River were transformed into nature areas with numerous small lakes and ponds. My favorite are Arapaho Bend and Riverbend Ponds areaa.

The above picture was shot during my morning paddling workout on Beaver Pond – the largest lake in Arapaho Bend Natural Area. One lap around this ponds is approximately 1 mile if you follow the shoreline closely. The easiest access is from Strauss Cabin road between Harmony and Horsetooth. Since water level in these ponds does not change very much there is a lot of natural coastal vegetation and wildlife.

Related posts and resources:
City of Fort Collins – Natural Areas
SUP in Paddling with a Camera blog
SUP in Fitness Paddling blog
SUP in royalty free pictures

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