Arapaho Bend Natural Area
Arapaho Bend is a scenic entryway into Fort Collins with natural and cultural features to enjoy! It is a popular fishing spot and is often visited by equestrians. You may see or hear some of the over 80 species of birds that use the habitat here including American white pelicans, prairie falcons, and cormorants. Visitors also may see mammals such as rabbits, squirrels, beavers, coyotes, foxes and deer. Anglers may catch bass, bluegill, yellow perch, or sunfish in the ponds reclaimed from previous gravel mining. More fishing details are listed here.
Come see the ruins of the historic Strauss Cabin, one of the earliest log cabins in the area. The cabin was restored in 1997 and burned by arsonists in 1999. The cabin ruins were closed to the public from 1999-2012. The Natural Areas Department acquired the property from Larimer County and cleaned up the site with the help of volunteers. The pedestrian access bridge has been repaired. Please visit with respect.
While this site brings with it the hum of traffic on adjacent I-25, it provides opportunities for relaxing recreation with impressive views of the mountains and a glimpse into Fort Collins past.
About 4 miles of natural surface and paved trail follow the edge of the ponds in a loop and encircle Rigden Reservoir. Trail map >>>
5:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
There are three parking lots, one at the east end of Horsetooth Road (closest access to Strauss Cabin ruins), one on Strauss Cabin Road between Horsetooth and Harmony, and at the Harmony Transportation Center. Arapaho Bend's approximate address is 4109 East Horsetooth Road.
Horse trailer parking is available (no designated spot) at the Harmony Transportation Center, the other parking lots are too small.
Events and Activities
- Free educational activities and events in June-October are listed in the Tracks & Trails booklet guide. The next edition will be available in May 2016.
- Last minute activity additions, trail recommendations and events offered between November-May are in our free monthly electronic newsletter- sign up in the upper right-hand corner of this page.
- Customized free educational programs at Arapaho Bend Natural Area are available for groups, call the Master Naturalist Program at 970-224-6118 or email .
- Trail map
- This site has been adopted by John and Sheryl Atkinson, thank you for your litter pick-up efforts!
- Poudre River Natural Areas Management Plan
- Fort Collins History Connection photos of Strauss cabin, fire and ruins.
- Photo of original Strauss cabin from Denver Public Library Digital Collections.
- Video history of Robert Strauss (1.47 min.) by local historians Wayne Sundberg and Ken Jessen.