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FORT COLLINS- Larimer County Department of Natural Resources (LCDNR) has constructed and opened the Stout Connector trail, a new 1.3-mile natural surface trail in Horsetooth Mountain Open Space.  With this new addition, Horsetooth Mountain Open Space now offers over 30 total trail miles for users to access and adds to the approximately 1,400 miles of trails available throughout Larimer County, which are managed by various public land agencies.   

Plans for the trail were developed through extensive public input during the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space Management Plan process, which was adopted in 2022.  The new 1.3-mile hiking, biking, and equestrian trail meets a key goal of the updated management plan and a community desire to experience a moderate-level trail connection between Stout and Nomad trails, while ensuring protection of the open space’s natural resources and ensuring sustainable operations.

The trail was designed with a 5% average grade to promote sustainability and provide an easier uphill option for trail users not wanting to travel on the extremely steep lower sections of Towers Road.  To maintain a 5% average grade, reduce habitat fragmentation, and maintain long-term sustainability, nine switchbacks were built gaining 322 feet in 1.3 miles.  The trail traverses from grasslands into ponderosa pine forests and offers great views of the many conserved lands in the region.  

Thanks to Larimer County trail staff who led and implemented this project, as well as the Larimer County Conservation Corp and many volunteers who helped construct this new trail.  Ten volunteer days between October 2022 and June 2023 were hosted to help build sections of the Stout Connector trail. 

Visitors are reminded that many recreationalists will be out enjoying the new trail.  LCDNR encourages responsible stewardship and the trail etiquette triangle: bikers yield to all, (downhill bikers stop for everyone including uphill bikers), and hikers yield to equestrians.  Visitors should check CoTREX (Colorado Trails Explorer app) at for current advisories or closures before heading out.

For more information, please visit


Click a photo to enlarge.

Published on: 
Monday, July 10, 2023 - 12:34pm
Contact Details:

Joel Schwab
Trails and Project Supervisor
Larimer County Natural Resources

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Fort Collins, CO 80521
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