Updated: Oct 25, 2022
Located an hour from Boulder & Denver, Fort Collins is known as one of the craft beer capitals. With 70% of Colorado's craft beer being made in Fort Collins, it is home to over 20 award-winning craft breweries. The below itinerary outlines the perfect day in Fort Collins, which is an easy road trip from the Denver area.
Table of Contents
1. Grab some breakfast at Sam's No. 3
As you make your way to Fort Collins from Denver, stop at Denver's best diner serving a large amount of options (literally over 100) and HUGE portions that will leave you asking for a take-home box. Established in 1927 with locations in Aurora, Glendale, & downtown Denver, Sam's No 3 has a full menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, serving delicious food at any time of day. With over 3900 people served on a single weekend day, this diner knows how to satisfy their hungry customers quickly. See for yourself on your next trip to the Denver area!
2. Head out for a hike at Horsetooth Mountain Open Space
[2.2 Miles; 393 ft; Out & Back; Easy]
This fun and easy hike in the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space offers views of the valleys, countryside, and mountains. We saw the most wildlife on this trail based on the varying terrain and more remoteness of the hike.
If you are a fan of bird watching, this is the trail for you with many different species of birds to spot along the way. Check out Audubon for a guide to the birds you see on this trail or even download their app to determine and record bird sightings on the go.
We also recommend adding 0.7 miles to your hike by going up to the Southern Ridge Trail on your way back, taking you to an amazing vista of the surrounding area while allowing you to loop back around to the parking lot.
Also Read: Top 8 Hikes & Day Trips From Denver Colorado
3. Head over to Lory State Park for an amazing hike at Arthur's Rock Trail
[3.4 Miles; 1000 ft Elevation Gain; Out & Back; Moderate]
Located within Lory State Park ($9/vehicle entrance pass per day), this was one of our favorite hikes throughout our time in the Rocky Mountain Front Range. With a steep elevation gain and a fun scramble to get to the top of Arthur's Rock, the views from its peak were extraordinary. Once up on Arthur's Rock, make sure to explore! There are incredible views throughout the peak's platform, and many epic spots to stop for a lunch break. The views do not stop after the peak! We recommend having your camera out on the way back down for different views at every switchback (pictured below).
Also Read: 10 Hiking Essentials
4. Spend the afternoon on a Fort Collins brew tour beginning at Funkwerks
Featured Brew: Tropic King (Farmhouse Ale - Saison) (ABV: 6%)
Funkwerks is a quaint and small brewery in Fort Collins that specializes in Saisons and Sours. It first opened its doors in late 2010 by two gentlemen who met while studying brewery science at Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago. (BREWERY SCIENCE?? We picked the wrong degree). Pictured below is the Tropic King which has a burst of fruity tropical characteristics from the use of New Zealand hops. You may note the passion fruit, mango, pepper, and ginger flavors.
Also Read: Rocky Mountain National Park Complete Guide
5. Horse & Dragon Brewing Company is the next stop on your Fort Collins brew tour
Featured Brew: Sad Panda Coffee Stout (ABV: 6.8%)
H&D opened in the summer of 2014 by a couple similar to us who loved to travel and sample beers on their journeys. They made their dream a reality and opened H&D to unite beer lovers in their local community of Fort Collins. The staff are welcoming and accommodating which adds to its fun atmosphere. Sad Panda has a balanced sweetness of dark chocolate and vanilla flavors with a smooth coffee bitterness at the finish. Make sure to make H&D a priority stop!
Also Read: Top 8 Craft Breweries of Michigan
6. End your Fort Collins brew tour at Odell Brewing
Featured Brew: Mountain Standard IPA (ABV: 6.5%)
Odell is a well-known regional brewery known for its IPAs, but not limited to just IPAs! Outside it has beautiful plants and flowers with a plethora of outdoor seating (inside too) and often a food truck on site. Mountain Standard is an IPA that is a tribute to the backyard and the Rocky Mountain lifestyle. It has a citrusy and crisp refreshing flavor that will not be easy to put down!
Also Read: Asheville Brew Tour
7. Refuel before heading out of town with some dinner at The Blind Pig
Known for (you guessed it) their pork, The Blind Pig in Fort Collins is a local favorite for some pub grub. Our personal favorite was the BLFGT, a BLT with fried green tomatoes, red onions, pickles, and a heavenly chipotle aioli sauce. Come for the delicious food but stay for their 10 rotating taps with local Fort Collins and Colorado breweries. This is one of our favorite ways to sample a variety of breweries all in one sitting.