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Rocky Mountain vistas with the benefits of a city

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By Wayne Lazarus on August 23rd, 2010

Categories: Linda's Travel Articles

Looking for that perfect vacation spot? One with all the outdoor recreation you could handle, yet good restaurants, theater and art in a town small enough you won’t spend all your time in traffic? That would be Fort Collins, Colorado.

The town of around 150,000 has been recognized twice by Allstate Insurance in its top ten list of Safest Drivers. It is 35 miles from Rocky Mountain National Park, with its 18 peaks over 13,000 feet. For a beautiful drive, take Highway 14 west from Ft. Collins into the Roosevelt National Forest. It runs along the Cache la Poudre (pronounced Pooder) River, Colorado’s only National Wild and Scenic River. Lory State Park and Horsetooth Reservoir are also popular destinations. People come to this part of the country to fish, hike, backpack or ride horses. Others come just to kick back and soak in that Colorado state of mind.Cache la Poudre

Because the sparkling Cache La Poudre runs right through town, you’re as likely to see a fisherman walk by as shoppers. (Use our maps to make your reservations near the river if you’re bringing a fly rod.) Ft. Collins was named by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of its Dozen Distinctive Destinations for 2010. The restored historic downtown includes bookstores, galleries, restaurants and shops. The town also has a number of performing arts venues, several museums and a symphony orchestra. Ft. Collins’ Tri-Media Film Festival celebrates its fifth year in September, 2010. The festival is different from most in that it honors film, television and theater.

OldTown OHaraDowntown is very pedestrian friendly, or enjoy it from the seat of an old-fashioned trolley on the weekends. Several years ago, the town instituted a bike library. Thursday through Sunday, you can check out a bike. Most of the roads have bike lanes, or take the Poudre River Trail, a fairly flat, comfortable ride. The 23-mile hiking and biking path goes from Ft. Collins all the way to Greely.

Beer-lovers flock here as well. Calling itself the “Napa Valley of Beer,” the town boasts five craft breweries and an Anheuser-Busch brewery. All are open for tours.

Photos: Courtesy Ft. Collins Convention and Visitors Bureau. Used with permission.

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