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).
Resting Fawn, Cottonwood Hollow by Richard Herrington
Birder & baby
Cottonwood Hollow kiosk with brochures
Cottonwood Hollow by Ryan Burke
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. Cottonwood Hollow Natural Area has no entrance fee.
Events and Activities#
- Free educational activities and events in June-October are listed in the Natural Areas Explorer booklet.
- Last minute activity additions, trail recommendations and events offered between November-May are in our free monthly electronic newsletter- sign up on this page.
- Check out the Natural Areas Learning Library for some great self-guided activities.
- Know before you go safety and recreation information.
- Special people have volunteered to take an active role in the stewardship of natural areas by doing monthly litter pick-ups. You can join the fun and adopt a natural area, too!
- Plant List for Cottonwood Hollow Natural Area. Volunteers were critical in making the list possible, thank you!
- Poudre River Natural Areas Management Plan
- Bird Checklist- Courtesy of Fort Collins Audubon Society
- Cottonwood Hollow Natural Area is an Important Bird Area, learn more here.