Experience the beauty and enjoy outstanding birding at Fossil Creek Reservoir! You'll find rolling prairie uplands, wetlands, and a tree-lined reservoir. Bring your sketch book, camera, spotting scope, and binoculars. Take advantage of the quiet, peaceful essence of this special place to recharge and renew yourself.
Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area is designated an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society. It provides crucial habitat to bald eagles (in the winter) and other types of raptors, and many species of shorebirds, songbirds, and waterfowl. You may also see coyotes, deer, and prairie dogs.
Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area was created through a partnership between the City of Fort Collins, Larimer County and North Poudre Irrigation Company to conserve 1,398 acres. The City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department is responsible for the management of the site including restoration and stewardship, trail and site maintenance, snow removal, enforcement, volunteer opportunities and education programs.
The highest priority in managing this natural area is conservation of natural resources while providing public recreation. The trails are designed to minimize human impact to sensitive wildlife. Biking, water recreation (boating and fishing), and pets all have a significant impact on wildlife; thus not permitted.
Note: Dogs, bikes and horses are not allowed at Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area.
The name of this site was previously Fossil Creek Regional Open Space, site map.
Try the Heron Loop (0.25-mile paved loop with picnic shelters), Sandpiper Trail (0.4 miles to a viewing area), or Cattail Flats Trail (0.76 miles to a viewing area). If necessary, trails are closed seasonally to protect bald eagle roosting, and shorebird and waterfowl habitat. Please stay on the trails and respect seasonal closures. Hiking only is permitted at this natural area. View the trail map.
The entrance to Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area is on Carpenter Road/ CR 32, approximately one mile west of I-25, or two miles east of Timberline on the north side of Carpenter Road; the approximate address is 3340 Carpenter Road.
Events and Activities#
- Free educational activities and events in June-October are listed in the Natural Areas Explorer 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.
- 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!
- Fossil Creek Natural Areas Management Plan 2017, pdf
- Site Brochure
- Plant List for Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area. Volunteers were critical in making the list possible, thank you!
- Bird Checklist- Courtesy of Fort Collins Audubon Society