Located within Lory State Park in Fort Collins, Colorado, the Howard Trail is a hidden jewel in the mountain biking community. Offering a dizzying elevation climb of about 1000 feet, this trail is not for the faint-hearted. With a route length of 2 miles and categorized as difficult, Howard Trail delivers an exhilarating ride for skilled mountain bikers in search of a challenging experience.
To start this cycling escapade, head west from anywhere in Ft. Collins until reaching Overland Trail Road. Turn right and proceed northward. Take a left onto Bingham Hill Road, continue for two miles until the road intersects with RD 23, and follow signs to Lory State Park. The Howard Trail can be accessed from the Mill Creek Link Trail parking lot.
While the trail can be approached as an out-and-back or in combination with other trails to form a loop, an effective strategy is to ascend Timber Trail and descend Howard. This approach avoids the demanding hike-a-bike sections on Howard's uphill.
As riders maneuver through the upper part of the trail, they'll encounter a narrow path weaving through a dense forest. This portion has the "fun factor" with its rolling terrain. The trail then pivots downward, presenting a series of complicated rock drops that are both rideable and potentially treacherous. Endo opportunities are plentiful, raising the stakes considerably.
Following a section of swoopy flow, Howard Trail amplifies the thrill by featuring a steep section laden with log drops. The bottom section offers medium-speed switchbacks, filled with just enough rocks to sustain the challenge. Tight switchbacks are a recurring feature, requiring advanced techniques for full rideability.
Howard Trail offers a superb MTB experience for those willing to tackle its technical challenges. While not advisable for novices, it promises an intense, rewarding adventure for seasoned mountain bikers. Make the trip to Lory State Park and put your skills to the test on this enthralling trail.