LOVELAND, Colo. – Trails at Horsetooth Mountain Open Space will remain temporarily closed following the attack of a mountain lion on a trail runner on the afternoon of Monday, Feb. 4.

Trails at the popular open space west of Fort Collins have been closed since the afternoon of Tuesday, Feb. 5, due to public safety concerns when Larimer County rangers encountered additional mountain lions in the area. The trails had initially reopened Monday evening after the juvenile lion involved in the attack was found deceased. It had been killed by the trail runner in self-defense.

Over the past several days, County rangers have been working with state wildlife experts to assess lion activity at Horsetooth Mountain Open Space to determine when to reopen the site.  

"We're continuing to approach the situation with an abundance of caution for the safety of all of our visitors," said Steve Gibson, district manager for Larimer County Department of Natural Resources. "We are actively assessing mountain lion activity in the area with our partners at Colorado Parks and Wildlife and need more time to complete that assessment before we reopen to the public."

The open space will remain closed at least through the early part of next week unless County rangers and Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers determine lion activity on-site has returned to normal levels before then. While safety is a top priority, Horsetooth Mountain will continue to support many wildlife species and there will always be a chance to encounter wildlife there when it reopens to the public.

"We recognize this is a really popular place to recreate and appreciate everyone’s patience," Gibson said.

For people looking to hit the trail this weekend, they're encouraged to check out the Blue Sky Trail just south of Horsetooth Mountain, or head north for a hike at Eagle's Nest Open Space near Livermore. Cold temperatures in the forecast should keep snow from melting and creating muddy trails.

Horsetooth Mountain Open Space was conserved back in the 1980s due, in part, to its valuable wildlife habitat and to provide a place for wildlife to live on the Front Range. The allure of the area for many visitors is getting the chance to get a glimpse at the wildlife with which we all share this special place. Larimer County staff is planning to provide educational opportunities about recreating in mountain lion habitat for visitors to Horsetooth Mountain once it reopens to the public.

For more details on the incident, please read the CPW news release.

For more information about precautions being taken at Horsetooth Mountain Open Space, please contact Gibson at (970) 498-5621 or

Published on: 
Friday, February 8, 2019 - 4:23pm
Contact Details:

Steve Gibson, Red Mountain District Manager, (970) 498-5621

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