We’ve all been there: sitting on the couch on a beautiful Saturday afternoon because ‘we don’t have the money to go out and there’s nothing to do anyway.’
Well, there is plenty to do if you live in Fort Collins, Colo. (sorry, outsiders). You just have to know where to look.
Fort Collins is a city full of opportunities for free fun if you know who to ask. Whether you prefer the leisure of drinking beer with some buddies or the rush of conquering a 5.12 sport climb on Crystal Wall, the area has a lot to offer.
If you’re looking for a great alternative to sitting in the house all day watching reruns of Grey’s Anatomy, pick up a Frisbee. Edora Park offers a variety of fun obstacles: trees, a creek and plenty of bikers! It’s also open all year.
Considering it’s winter, this doesn’t necessarily apply right now, but in thinking ahead, Poudre Canyon is just a short drive from Fort Collins and offers abundant climbing opportunities no matter your style.
Paradise is a sport climber’s dream, but if you want the intensity of a tradition climb, Crystal Wall is right across the Poudre River and offers a number of climbs all the way up to 5.12. Beginners don’t fret; there are plenty of starter routes for you as well. For a comprehensive list of routes, visit http://nococlimbing.org/guidebooks/poudre-canyon-rock-routes to download the complete guidebook for free!
If you’re looking for a lengthier getaway, Poudre Canyon also happens to be surrounded by National Forest. That means all-you-can-stand free camping!
That particular neck of the woods is Roosevelt National Forest and is maintained by Canyon Lakes Ranger District Five of the U.S. Forest Service. Hike, camp, climb, picnic – whatever your heart desires!
“Canyon Lakes Ranger District five manages over 650,000 acres of nation forest,” Reghan Cloudman, public affairs specialist for the U.S. Forest Service said. “Poudre Canyon is always one of the most popular places for climbers and campers, though.”
If you’re not in to hiking back to the middle of nowhere to set up camp and you’re willing to spend a few bucks, the U.S. Forest Service manages a number of designated campsites closer to town.
“We have 21 campgrounds and 33 trailheads,” Cloudman said. “We sell maps of the area at our office here in Fort Collins.”
If you’re interested in buying a map of the area or planning a backpacking excursion, contact visitor’s services at (970) 295-6900.
Although not free, Horsetooth Mountain and Lory State Park are areas still worth noting. For just a small entrance fee, a variety of activities including hiking, picnicking and mountain biking are available.
“We are thankful we are able to offer free or low-cost events on our parks and open spaces because we love getting our entire community involved and outside,” said Kerri Rollins, a representative for Larimer County Natural Resources.
Looking for a more laid back complementary experience? Hop on a bus and head to the nearest brewery. Wherever you are in Fort Collins, you’re never far from a great beer (or, for you minors, cream soda)!
Anheuser-Busch is located just off I-25 and conducts factory tours Thursday through Monday every 30-45 minutes between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
“We do host free group tours during regular business hours,” a representative of Anheuser-Busch said. “If a group is fifteen or more guests, we ask that they call at least two weeks in advance to set up a group tour.”
Now, the best part – free beer! Conclude your factory tour with two, 11 ounce samples of your choice of draft.
For more information on upcoming events, call Anheuser-Busch at (970) 490-4691 or visit their Facebook page.
If you’re craving a more local taste, Odell and Fort Collins breweries also offer free tours Monday through Saturday at 1, 2 and 3 PM.
For more information on tour group caps and upcoming events visit http://odellbrewing.com/contact/brewery-tours.
These are just a few suggestions to point you in the right direction to having fun on a budget. For more information, get off the couch and contact visitor’s services in Fort Collins at (970) 232-3840 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a free 2011-2012 visitors guide.
Get outside and enjoy the free fun regardless of rain or shine! Fort Collins wasn’t named the best place in the country to live by Money Magazine because we have good television channels!