Located just west of Loveland, this scenic open space is a nice foothills hike. It's open all year but it can be very hot in the summer and is much more enjoyable in the fall and spring. During winter when the higher mountains are snowy, the Backbone is usually snow free and satisfies the cravings of those wanting to get out and hike. The terrain is a mixture of nearly-treeless desert foothills and large rock formations that includes many level stretches and also a fair number of steep Rocky hills. A good short hike goes from the parking lot to to "the keyhole," where there is a scenic view of the distant mountains through a large opening in the uplifted rock formation. Although there are some houses visible along the trail you still feel like you are on a genuine hike. Ambitious hikers and mountain bikers can also travel many miles north, eventually ending up at Horsetooth Reservoir just west of Ft. Collins. Unlike many Larimer County hikes, parking at the Loveland trailhead is free.
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