This ecologically diverse site sits amid a complex of natural areas. Nearby you'll find Prospect Ponds Natural Area, CSU's Environmental Learning Center, Running Deer Natural Area and Riverbend Ponds Natural Area. Cottonwood Hollow is a great place to get away from the urban environment, not far from home.
With 39 ponds and 278 acres of open water in the Poudre River corridor, Cottonwood Hollow's wet meadow is an uncommon habitat type. It is a great place to spot birds and other wildlife.
Note: This is one of the few Fort Collins natural areas on which dogs are not allowed and one of only two on which bikes are not permitted (bike parking at the parking lot for those who ride to the site).
There are 0.4 miles of natural surface trail within Cottonwood Hollow Natural Area boundary. Access to this trail segment is from Running Deer Natural Area. View the trail map
5:00 a.m. 11:00 p.m.
Nearest parking is at the Running Deer Natural Area parking lot on Prospect (west of Summitview Drive, approximate address is 3301 East Prospect Road, Fort Collins). Cottonwood Hollow also can be reached via connecting trail from Riverbend Ponds Natural Area through the underpass at Prospect or from the Running Deer Natural Area trailhead at the Colorado Welcome Center.
Events and Activities
- Free educational activities and events in June-October are listed in the Tracks & Trails booklet guide.
- Last minute activity additions, trail recommendations and events offered between November-May are in our free monthly electronic newsletter- sign up on this page.
- Customized free educational programs at Cottonwood Hollow Natural Area are available for groups, call the Master Naturalist Program at 970-224-6118 or email c2tlbm5leUBmY2dvdi5jb20=.
- Know before you go safety and recreation information.
- This site has been adopted by Charlie Sturgill and Barbara Knapp, thank you for your litter pick-up efforts!
- Plant List for Cottonwood Hollow Natural Area. Volunteers were critical in making the list possible, thank you! Questions or list additions? Please email Y3N0cm91c2VAZmNnb3YuY29t .
- Poudre River Natural Areas Management Plan