1. Rotary Park (Bouldering)
A 30 minute bike ride away from Old Town followed by a quick hike, this bouldering spot has some of the best views in Fort Collins. Whenever you get frustrated by the hard problems that John Gill easily ascended in his slippers in the 50's and all without a crash pad, just take a look around you and take a deep breath. Life is good.
2. Duncan's Ridge (Top Rope/Easy Trad)
This short cliff that overlooks Horsetooth Reservoir is the place I take people who are to climb. It's super friendly and lends itself well to top roping. A short ten-minute hike from the Piano-Key's parking lot put you tight above 5 routes with shiny-new bolted anchors. Set your rope up and hang a right to hike down to where you'll climb (or just rappel). Duncan's Ridge is also a great place to learn to place trad gear and have some of your first leads. There are tons of short but sweet cracks and lines that are perfect for getting into traditional climbing!
3. The Palace/Crystal Wall (Sport)
Only 45 minutes up the Poudre Canyon, this sport climbing crag is one of the Fort Collins' gems; with routes ranging from 5.6-5.13 there is something for everyone here! After you get your feet wet crossing the Poudre (if the river is too high, you can opt out and climb on the other side of the canyon at Crystal Wall). Don't miss out on some of the classics of the area: Churchill's Rejects (5.9), Rapunzel (5.10a), The Sceptre (5.10a), Ballet of the Bulge (5.11).
End your day with a beer at the Mishawaka.
A 30 minute drive up the canyon followed by a lovely hike brings you to the base of Fort Collins little Yosemite. While most people opt for the easy and beautiful hike up to the summit, this granite extrusion has a number of 4-5 pitch trad climbs to the top, as well as a number of fun bloted slab routes at its base. You'll top out with a vista into the Mummy Range & RMNP. The best part, the hour hike scares most climbers away, offering you a feeling of remote solitude
5. Miramont North, Inner Strength, CSU Rec Center
It's dumping snow, in May, but that doesn't mean your climbing training has to be put on the back burner. With routes challenging enough for beginners to professional climbers, each of these gyms are home to Fort Collins' climbers in the winter. Miramont has a huge bouldering area as well as a crack machine, and a wall for top-roping or leading.
After a long day of crimping hard, throwing huge dynos, or dancing up some of Colorado's finest cracks you'll want a place to rest your head and take a shower. Let's face it, you haven't had one for a week and a bed sounds beautiful. The Fernweh Inn and Hostel is the perfect place to plan your next grand adventure out into the mountains and find a home away from home.
Photos by Sarah Hamilton / Polilla Photography / @polilla.photography