Explore 5-8mi Loop - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

5-8mi Loop Map

This was a hidden gem that I should probably write a bad review so no more people decide to visit! Really lovely hike and close by. Every turn was another breath taking view. This will become one of our regular hikes.

Perfect hiking weather today and only encountered a few other hikers on the trail. We took south ridge on the way up to Horsetooth Rock and I would say it was a moderate hike. The summit is gorgeous with views in all directions. I would definitely do this hike again.

I had a lot of fun on the trail. It was moderately trafficked and spaced out enough so I still felt alone for most of the trip. For a quick escape this is a great option. Will definitely come back again

Hiked all the way to the top of the rocks and the views were stunning!!! Highly recommend this hike. There was enough people to not feel isolated but not so many that you felt overcrowded.

Had to cut this hike short due to bears. There’s a sign at the trailhead about recent bear activity but there were a number of people on the trail so I started the hike. After passing several people warning of the bear spotted that morning, I looped over to meadowlark trail and called it a day. May want to wait on this hike for a while. (Bear was spotted morning of 9/26)

21 days ago

Golden Gate Canyon never disappoints. Another awesome solo hike. Did entire Mountain Lion trail / Quarry Site / Tallman Ranch Loop. It was closer to 10 miles than the 7 or so originally listed including a few trail offshoots. The Aspen leaves are all just about to fall off and the yellows are peaking out right now. Once the sun went down it dropped from about 65 degrees to 39 degrees in about 10 minutes.

mountain biking
22 days ago

I went her at the recommendation of my local bike shop and I had a great time. Was just by myself but decided to not look at the trail map and just go where I thought looked more interesting. Ended up staying and going up and down again and again for almost four hours. Next time I will have to bring my climbing shoes though as I found some nice bouldering spots just off the trails. Was fairly crowded and a fairly easy but pleasant downhill ride. The times I was going uphill wasn’t bad and I would say with some of the rocks and logs in the trail could be considered a medium.

Got pushed off Hessie this week due to parking space, so came back to brainard area. Always solid hiking. Completed the Waldrop, long lake, brainard winter loop circuit with the usual team. Great weather and trails are usually free from crowding regardless of number of cars in the lot. Will return to do other loops at other times

It was a beautiful trail. I highly recommend starting early on hot days. The top of the Rim has very little shade. Views were incredible and the waterfall was a pleasant surprise.

24 days ago

$7 to park at the trail head . Plenty of parking both times we visited .
Well signposted trail with options to switch or explore other trails on the route.

“Easy/moderate/hard are relative terms. I’m not a great biker, but I am a stubborn persistent hiker. This was Harder than I expected- especially at the end. I finished, but my feet are paying for it. Warm September day- drank all my water plus some. Views were beautiful and so was the company. Glad to say I have completed an iconic Fort Collins hike.

1 month ago

Trail was great. Didn’t see any mountain lions.

1 month ago

Went here last weekend, this is now my favorite trail in Colorado. Super well marked, not a high climb, wild flowers, aspens in bloom, just amazing!

Perfect hike! Good mountain feel for being so close to town. Usual routine is to go up to the rock and go down the falls trail afterwards as a cool down. A bit of scrambling on the rock trail. Use caution when it's snowy/icy or during the night as it's easy to get off trail in certain areas. The falls look the best when runoff is well underway.

easy, with some nice views

Again, misleading on the mileage. Not sure how they manage the miles on this website, but three people of varying gaite came to the same distance of ~7 miles. No big deal... The parking from Hwy 93 is located on the left side of the road, just before the red barn on the right. It's a small dirt road leading to the trail head parking. Good parking, but overflow is on the road, so no worries.
There are two ways to attack this trail, one is to the right and one is on the left. Depends on how you really want to tackle the hike. Both are pretty even in their ratings, and nothing too difficult. If you go left, from the parking, you will have an uphill for the most part. Both trails start with a small run through the hills, but soon become service roads. No real big deal, but they are both in the sun, so wear sunscreen or wear a hat. After that, they meander through the mountains. Agree that the streams run the path, but with the lack of rain fall, not much so. It's a nice hike, shared with bikers and others. Enjoyable, none the less. Nice hike and would do so again. Considering this is the second time as we could not locate Burro trail There are many junctions off this trail.

Lots of great views!
We hiked up to Horsetooth Rock starting at 8:40 AM on a Sunday. The parking lot was almost full as we arrived. $6 to park and in we go.
The hike starts along gradual switchbacks and slowly gets steeper, picking up rocks and wood steps. It doesn’t get difficult until you’re near the top and climb up the rock itself. That requires hands.
All the way up you get views over Horsetooth Reservoir, Fort Collins and the plains. At the top, the view is 360 with views out to a big Rocky.
Nice trail for families, groups and going further into the hillls.

Narrow at times. Difficult to pass.

1 month ago

good variety of terrain. lackluster views despite a long and grinding climb through the forest - good workout. stream was a mere trickle on labor day, but i can imagine how much nicer this trail would be if was in full flow.

Wife and myself absolutely loved it

Nice hike...lots of people and mountain bikers. My advice is to stay on trails that bikers arent allowed if you are hiking. Nice views but didnt see a waterfall.

Great hike for first timers! Pretty okay scenery and nice amount of inclines to feel like you did something.

Trail is tough but worth all the effort for the view at the top. Look forward to hiking it again in the future.

1 month ago

Great hike and wonderful views. I started my hike there on Wednesday, 8/29/2018 at 1:30PM and saw 5 people the entire way, and then only on parts of the hike within a 10 minute walk from the parking lots. The trail is well-marked and maintained - the trail simply follows the canyon all the way around, either on the rim or along the bottom near the stream so you can't get lost or sidetracked if you're paying attention.

The hike is more than 5.8 miles...my hike was 6.5 miles without roaming off the trails much, and the only heart pumping part is just past the dam as you ascend to the rim of the canyon for a quarter mile or so. NOTE: there is poison ivy along all parts of this trail right along the edge of the trails (poison ivy thrives on disturbance). If you are sensitized to it like I am - and have had it many times like me - then you'll notice it pretty quickly. I'm a field botanist so I was turning sideways on a few of the narrower portions of the trail because I was in shorts. If you have kids with you just be careful that they don't handle random vegetation along the trails.

Overall a great hike - I'm coming back to do the eastern loop, which is a preservation area and will be of more interest to biologists and environmental types.

Just finished this hike with my fiance and our dog and it was incredible! We took the Black Bear trail from the Ralston Roost parking area and followed the loop clockwise. I'm really glad we did this because it starts off really steep and rocky, but after you make it to the top and start down on the Horseshoe trail it's less steep and a bit easier. It's nice to get the hard stuff out of the way first, while I'm fresh.

There's some rock scramble areas, and areas where the trail isn't clear due to boulders, but the signage is really good, so keep your eyes open for those. The Meadows are incredibly beautiful and the flowers are starting to bloom. No snow at all on this trail, that was a concern since some of the higher up trails are still snow covered.

We'll definitely add this trail to our repertoire!

Hiked 6.9 miles, took us about 4 hours. Took the falls route and then cut across and headed up to the rock. It was about 4 miles to the rock coming from that way. Unless you want to get in your steps I wouldn’t take the falls route unless it’s the time of the year where water is actually there...no water this time of year. Saw 5 deer and a rattle snake, lots of wildlife, beautiful trails, and so many options and directions to take. Highly recommend grabbing a map before you head up.

mountain biking
1 month ago

This was a pretty and fun ride but it is definitely rated wrong. I got here thinking this would be a green level ride and the exact trail shown is mostly blue with some black, we walked our bikes for a good portion of the up hill and some of the down hill because it was way too steep! Overall a good ride but I wouldn’t bike it again.

Great hike! It took my wife, daughter, a friend, and me 6.4 miles to complete the route. My device recorded a 1876.1 elevation gain. It was a little longer than we expected but a great hike. Beautiful views with wildlife. We saw plenty of deer, chipmunks, and a bear hiding in a tree. Advice for others, bring and use your sunscreen.

Great hike - I was able to bring my dog and she loved it! I will say I’m a bit out of shape but I was very tired and breathing hard at times, so this felt more difficult than I planned. That being said, I will definitely do it again!

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