Best Day Hikes In Colorado: Devil's Backbone
It’s March and we are all tired of winter, right? There is nothing like a nice hike in the sun to chase away the winter blues.
Did we mention we love Colorado?
When you live in Colorado, day hikes are all around and many of them offer breathtaking views. Plus, we have 300 days of sunshine a year.
One of the spots only known to locals but it definitely worth checking out is Devil’s Backbone in Loveland, Colorado. It’s part of the Larimer County Open Spaces.
We love it because it's practically in our backyard, a short drive from Wild Zora Foods facility in downtown Loveland.
Devil's Backbone is one of many open spaces of Larimer County, Colorado.
Trying to get the kiddos away from all their electronics? Larimer County has a fun program called Passport to Your Open Spaces. You can pick up your passports at any of these locations and start collecting the rubbings. When you visit all 16 open spaces, you can win the grand prize. And since our friends at REI are one of the sponsors, you know the prizes will be great!
The name sounds a bit scary but the Devil's Backbone Open Space is a beautiful slice of nature that offers a variety of trails suitable for the whole family, including Grandma.
When you enter, you feel like you stepped away from the bustle and hustle of your everyday life. There is a surprisingly peaceful feeling. Stunning rock formations, grasslands, and high desert. A rugged, reddish rocky ridge protruding from the earth gave the area its unusual name.
A Piece of Colorado History
The rock formation is over 70 million years old.
It was frequented by Ute and Arapahoe tribes.
In 19th century, the area became a property of the Wild family. Alfred Wild started farming here and later opened a plaster mill. The mill was destroyed by a flood in 1965 but you can still see part of its foundation - just to the left of the main trail.
The Wild family sold the area to Larimer County in the 1990s. They still live in the area.
What to do
The trails range from a half mile to about 7 miles long. The whole area is beautiful but you should try to get to the famous Keyhole arch that offers stunning views of the Rockies.
If you are interested in wildlife, bring your binoculars and a camera. The crags of Devil's Backbone provide nesting space for a variety of birds, including red-tailed hawks, great horned owls, and barn owls.
Planning Your Hike
Even though most of the trails are suitable for beginners, you should still come prepared.
Plan your trip
The open space is opened year-round, from dawn to dusk. Certain areas are closed during the spring, to protect nesting ravens, so check here before you go.
Devil’s Backbone is a popular hike and the parking is limited. Larimer County installed a live webcam above the parking lot, so you can see whether it’s full.
Dogs are allowed on most trails but must be leashed at all times.
You will be entering a rattlesnake habitat. Wear appropriate shoes, watch your step and stay on the trails.
Take a walk on the wild side
This is not a difficult hike but it’s still a hike, not a stroll through a park.
You will need hiking boots or sturdy walking shoes. The trails are maintained but they are rocky in spots and can be muddy. There will be some uneven rocks on the trails, so if you like to use hiking poles, bring them along.
You are my sunshine…
Colorado weather can be rather unpredictable. There is a chance you will encounter sun rays even on a cloudy day. Be ready! There are no trees and no shady spots on the trail. You are above 5,000 feet, so sunburn can happen quickly. Hat, sunglasses and plenty of sunscreen are a must.
During the summer, water is available at the trailhead. Other than that, you are on your own. Remember, you are at a fairly high elevation, in an arid area with no shade. Grab your favorite water bottle or CamelBak.
Hungry, hungry again? Bring a snack!
The hike won’t take a full day but you are still going up the hill. You don’t need to pack a ton of food. Something little that fits in your pocket will do just fine. To keep your energy level high, go for a light protein snack. If you are tired of sticky, sweet sports bars, try a meat and veggie bar!
What is your favorite spot for a day hike? Where should we go when we visit your state? Let us know in comments!