Fort Collins, Colorado
At first impression this appears to be a well off northern suburb of Denver with what must be fairly strict sign ordinances for the city. Also, there are trees everywhere. It makes for a beautiful city and even the historic core has infill development that is quite complementary to the historic structures. The downtown is quite active and there is a creative feel to the entire city.
Having Colorado State University well within the city limits probably helps the creative vibe. Electrical junction boxes, called transformer cabinets here, have been adorned by artists. The Welcome Center in the old town square even had a map of these with the artists name and a thumbnail of the art along with a walking tour map.
In addition to the art on the transformer cabinets, there is the traditional art in public places that is evident throughout the downtown. A walking tour and map is also available in the welcome center. And if that’s not enough, the ghost signs throughout downtown are a fascinating look into Fort Collins’ past. There is a walking tour map of those as well. Oh, and the public piano or two we saw was pretty cool. It was a rather gentrified place.
The city is not very RV-friendly. In fact, you aren’t allowed to park a vehicle over 20 feet in the city according to a tweet I got when I asked about RV parking. Additionally, while it appears to be bike-friendly, you must dismount your bicycle in the downtown area. Certainly someone who uses a bicycle due to a handicap is in trouble here. Plan on walking. It is relatively flat so that’s a plus.
We had to grab lunch near the old town square so we opted for Cooper Smith’s Pub and Brewing at 5 Old Town Square. There is outdoor seating in two areas here. We both got a watermelon and feta salad with shrimp at $14 each. The shrimp arrived after our salads but the server apologized that they should have come on the salads and not on the side after the salads were delivered. They were really quite good and the shrimp were just right though the dish could have been just as good with the shrimp being cold.
Inside there is a nice bar. The outside area we sat at was on the square which also featured a splash pad for little children. Plenty of parents and kids were there on this hot day. We would have stayed longer and explored a bit more but we ended up walking our bicycles through most of the downtown with an apparently illegally parked RV on a side street.
There is acceptable transport in the city and the MAX route, basically an express bus, runs with decent headways. We probably should have used it and parked the RV near a bus stop if even that were allowed.
We spent the night at the Horsetooth Reservoir on the west side of the city. It is accessible via some hilly roads and there are several county campgrounds around the reservoir. We stayed at the one on Shoreline Drive on the southern end of the reservoir in a waterfront campsite with gorgeous views for $25 plus reservation fee of $8.95 plus access fee of $7 entrance to the park which isn’t included in the camping fee. Well worth it though I mention for anyone where those add on fees can make a difference in a budget.
There is a small shop near the campground we selected and there were bathrooms/showers at either end of the camping area. It is easy to reserve online and you can select the campsite you want. We found one with a picnic pavilion on the water and were set. One of the worst parts of camping is not being able to reserve online so much of the time so it was a treat to be able to do it.
Worth a stop or an overnight or two. It is a place, like so many others now, that prides itself in in breweries so if you are into that this is a great place to visit. If not, it’s a great stop along the I-25 for a night or two.