If you’re in Colorado and looking for a network of trails suitable to all mountain biking skill levels, then the Lory State Park trails are a good bet. Once you’re familiar with the territory, you can pick whichever trail section suits you best. However, for the more experienced riders, you can pick a trail and let it take you wherever. Some of the trails, e.g., the Timber and Hucka Yucca Alt Line, offer the highest difficulty levels in the area. Moreover, those unsatisfied with just the Lory State Park trails can connect to the Horsetooth Mountain Park trails to extend their rides.
The main trailhead for the Lory State Park trails can be found off Lodgepole Drive, south of the Lory State Park visitor center. It’s also close to the restrooms, so if you get lost on the way there, just ask for directions to the parking lot or the restrooms. There are several looping trails, so you should end up back here after exploring whichever trail you choose.
This trail network has plenty of smaller named trails, including options like Timber, West Valley, Quarry Ridge, East Valley, etc. However, for the most part, you’ll know what to expect based on the direction you take from the main trailhead.
If you don’t want anything too difficult, heading south from the entrance may be the best course of action. The general terrain includes a valley and fairly flat terrain. You will encounter some climbs here, and they’re mostly short and don’t require sustained effort to climb. The open view of the landscape may also be something to look forward to.
Those in the mood for a long ride should also use the same route, given that the trails to the south have branches leading to the Horsetooth Reservoir and its trails.
If you’re more in the mood for sustained climbs that lead to fast descents, the rolling hills west of the trail entrance are your best bet.
One of the hardest trails in Lory State Park is “Howard.” It’s less than 2 miles long. However, there’s a 255-meter elevation difference between the highest and lowest point. The gradient may not be the steepest, but you’ll have to deal with a fairly sustained climb. Furthermore, it has plenty of switchbacks.
Others, like the Shoreline and Timber Trails, have rocky sections requiring a technically sound rider to get through. You can always get off your bike and hike if necessary.
You will have to pay entrance fees to get into the park. However, once you do, you don’t need to pay extra if you branch off into the Horsetooth Mountain Park trails. If you’re from out of town, you can use the back-country camping facilities at the park if you need more than one day to explore the trails.
It’s also worth noting that some of these trails are used for horseback riding and hiking. Add the proximity to Fort Collins, and you may find a crowd on some of the days you visit these trails.
Most of the sights the park has to offer can be seen while you’re exploring on your bike, whether it’s the Horsetooth Reservoir or Mill Creek. There are plenty of rock-climbing options in and around the park if you’re a fan.
If you’ve never been to these trails, it’s better to get there in the morning so you have a full day of exploring.