Prairie Ridge Park & Natural Area Connector
The Prairie Ridge Park & Natural Area is the regional connector between Fort Collins and Loveland. Once farmland, the park includes 792 acres and an open territory featuring ADA compliant trails. In addition, this Larimer County recreational space is ideal for biking, hiking and birdwatching. The incredible space now cultivates native prairie landscaping where homeowners and visitors can become familiar with Northern Colorado’s impressive scenery. Read on to learn why Prairie Ridge Park & Natural Area is a NOCO Best!
Location, Location, Location
You’ll find the trailhead off Taft Hill Road and West of Trilby if you’re coming from South Fort Collins. If you’re heading there from downtown Loveland, Colorado, take US-34 to Wilson, turn onto Taft Hill. The parking and entrance is due West. The park is very easy to access where you won’t find a lot of traffic once you’re on Taft Road. Before making the trip check for park closings. This trail is unique with wide open space and smooth surface, ideal for both novice and experienced hikers. Think twice if bringing your best friend. Rangers and park officials restrict dogs and e-bikes. Féfé and Fido will have to wait this one out. However, you will find the magnificent space is an oasis for wildlife which is part of the reason for denying access to the four legged.
A Bird’s POV at Prairie Ridge
The open space provides excellent viewpoints for a variety of birds such as Eagles, Hawks and Northern Flickers. Swallows, sparrows build nests in this part of the county, as there’s plenty of dry land and brush for them to use as materials during construction. Not to mention, birds who love to mud-nest are also making this property their home with a foundation of wetland to provide the mud. More important, the birds are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act where they feel safe to migrate year-round.
Wildlife Frequenting Northern Colorado’s Open Spaces
Other than birds, there’s a few mammals who like to frequent the area. It’s not uncommon to see deer, fox or a bobcat popping up through the brush. Besides the wildlife, you may need to be wary of snakes. Reptiles also like to slither along the dusty trail or soak up that hot Colorado sunshine. Snakes at the grasslands aren’t as common as what you’ll encounter at Devil’s Backbone, there’s always a reason for taking caution. The ‘Prairie’ is an excellent spot for fresh mountain air and enjoying the surrounding views. It’s also important to note, protection of animals at this refuge where there’s no hunting of any kind.
Best Park for Bird Watching
Birdwatching is a favorite activity among Coloradoans, and Prairie Ridge Natural Area which is ideal for hobbyists and ornithologists. (A person who studies birds) Be sure to turn your headphones to silent so you can take in the songbirds which fill the park with playful tweets and the call of the wild. Don’t forget to have your camera ready so you can record images of all the different varieties of feathered friends.
The Wetland is a Sanctuary Many Species of Animals and Raptors
This part of Northern Colorado is full of water saturation, creating welcoming wetland. The prolong presence of water at the surface creates a sanctuary for terrestrial life, birds and plants. While this is a positive result of the soil and ground, take some precautions staying on the trail as any human disturbance can create havoc for this environment. You’ll find plenty of signs along the way reminding you to remain on the trail, but it’s good to be mindful when traveling along Prairie Ridge Natural Park.
Mountain Mahogany Provides a Splendid Backdrop for Pictures
Mountain Mahogany is a signature flowering tree grown in Mexico and Northern States. These spiny plants can resemble an overgrown Bonsai tree. The park is full of these types of trees linking the ecosystem at Prairie Ridge. When in full bloom, the flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies, making a splendid scene for picture taking. In that case, be sure to bring a camera as there’s plenty of subjects that will show off for the lens.
The Meeting Connector for Fort Collins and Loveland
Another aspect just as exciting, is this trail connector to Coyote Natural Ridge in Fort Collins, Colorado. There’s 3500 acres between Fort Collins and Loveland dedicated to preservation of the prairie, its organic plants, ridges and shrubs. If you’re someone who advocates for saving the planet, the ideology should resonate. Moreover, this conservation area is to remain untouched by commercial or residential development which means good investments in real estate. In fact, the voters of Loveland provided much of the funding with the open space sales tax from Larimer County.
Residential Areas Near Prairie Ridge
Types of homes you’ll find near the grasslands are residential track homes as well as custom-built estates. Because Prairie Ridge Natural Area includes flat trails, and quiet traffic makes it a delightful spot for horseback riding where you’ll also find equestrian estates not too far off. The properties vary with endless possibilities. You’ll find plenty of new and mature developments along Wilson Avenue and 57th, giving you quick access by vehicle or bicycle. Subdivisions such as Plantation and the Verandas are newer communities for you to check out if you’re seeking single-family homes.
Check Out Our Other Blogs
Other than the spectacular range of styles and communities, Loveland provides plenty of open spaces, including those mentioned in our other blogs. Be sure to read about Viestenz-Smith where there’s more challenging hikes.
One of the Only Northern Colorado Trails with ADA Compliance
Hiking and biking along this massive trail will require some stamina if you will venture the entire distance. But this park is ideal for those needing wheelchair access. If traveling via wheelchair or scooter, be sure your equipment can handle the terrain. Sometimes, you may run into some loose gravel or rocks. Mostly, you’ll find it to be a breeze to see the open space. Since much of the trail is firm and stable, there shouldn’t be any issues if you stay on designated paths.
Everyone who loves the great outdoors is excited about Loveland’s newest recreational space opening, and who can blame them? Prairie Ridge Natural area is your connection to beautiful singing birds with peaceful views. With a stretch over 35-miles at the front range, you can’t deny this park is a ‘Must See’ as well as a NOCO Best Trail!
All we can say is see you on the trail!