Larimer County has some of the most beautiful open lands in the entire state. To enjoy these natural resources responsibly, follow these simple tips. This way, you and those around you can have a memorable and safe experience while minimizing the impacts on our natural resources. 

COVID-19 Suggestions

  • Feeling sick? Stay home if anyone in your household is sick, such as fever, coughing, or shortness of breath.
  • Keep your group small.
  • Practice social distancing and don’t congregate at overlooks, rest areas, or trailheads.
  • Share the trail: Step aside, do not walk off when passing others to avoid damaging our trails and natural spaces.

CotrexKnow Before You Go

  • Before leaving, check the weather and make sure you are bringing the right equipment for the day. Colorado has variable weather conditions. On hot days, bring enough water, sunscreen, food, and a hat. On colder or stormy days, bring enough layers to stay warm.
  • To avoid disappointment at the trailhead, check COTREX for live trail conditions and updates.
  • Larimer County webcams also provide a real-time look at parking conditions at popular destinations.

Go early/late to avoid crowds

  • To avoid crowds, parking trouble, and disappointment at the trailhead, try to go to Larimer County open spaces during non-peak hours.
  • Head to your destination earlier (before 8 am), or go later in the afternoon (after 4 pm). The middle of the day (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) is the most common time people are turned away. 

Have a back up plan

  • When you reach the trailhead, and the parking lot is full, have a back up plan in mind.
  • Consider other areas close by that might not be as busy.

Stay on TrailStay on trail

  • The vegetation that is along the trails is an important part of the ecosystem.
  • Stay on the trail to avoid trampling new growth.
  • Walk through the mud - not around it. 
  • Lightly step off the trail while others pass to avoid widening the trail.

Rattlesnakes Happen 

  • During the summer months, rattlesnakes are common around Larimer County open lands.
  • Be aware and on the lookout for them, and give them alot of space if seen.
  • If you share the trail with one, give it a wide berth to move along. Do not throw rocks or sticks at it.
  • If you are bitten by a rattlesnake, elevate the wound, slow the heart rate, and call emergency services.

keep wildlife wildKeep Wildlife Wild

  • Encountering wildlife is an exciting experience that many visitors in Larimer County get to have.
  • When you come across wildlife in the open spaces of Larimer County, view them from a respectful distance.
  • Never try to approach, touch, or feed wildlife.


  • Whenever you bring your dog along hiking with you, make sure that you are coming prepared with waste bags, plenty of water, and a 6-7 ft leash.
  • Check the temperature of the pavement to make sure the ground is not too hot for their feet.
  • Bag it, Pack it, Can it! Dispose of dog waste in appropriate trash receptacles at the trailhead. Do not leave alongside to "pick up later."

Wear itWear it

  • Wearing a PFD is one of the best ways to keep yourself and those around you safe while on the water.
  • Wear your PFD at all times when you are out on the water.
  • Children 12 and under are required to wear their PFD at all times with a penalty of a fine. 
  • Other boating safety tips courtesy of National Safe Boating Council.

Trail Etiquette

  • Know the rules of the trail. Stay on the trail, and always yield to traffic coming down. 
  • Be courteous of others' experience. Keep your dog within control and don't blast music as you hike.


  • fishing responsiblyFishing is a fun, relaxing pastime enjoyed by a number of Larimer County residents.
  • Whenever you are out fishing, make sure to dispose of fishing lines in designated areas.
  • Loose fishing lines get tangled with wildlife and can cause harm to the ecosystem.

Be Bear Aware

  • Bears are common in Northern Colorado. To avoid an encounter, always put scented food into a bear proof container and lock it up.
  • If you encounter a bear on the trail, make yourself as large as possible and back away slowly. Never turn and run. 

Bring cell phone

  • In case of an emergency, to stay up-to-date on the weather, and check trail conditions, always bring a cell phone with you.

Leave no traceLeave no trace

  • It is the responsibility of all visitors of Larimer County open spaces to do their part to keep our spaces litter free.
  • Whenever you leave to go to any of the locations in Larimer County, make sure that you take everything that you took in, out and to leave no trace. This way, generations to come will be able to enjoy the beauty of Larimer County!

Other stewardship tips