Changes Underway to Gateway Passes
New Pay stations and annual passes are now available.
Gateway Natural Area, in the Cache La Poudre canyon, is the only City of Fort Collins natural area with a fee. Several changes to the pass purchasing process are underway to benefit visitors:
- Annual passes dispense from pay stations at Gateway Natural Area via card- no cash or checks are accepted.
- Annual passes expire at the end of the calendar year (December 31, 2022).
- Hangtag passes issued in 2021 are valid until the expiration date on the pass.
Two new pay stations at Gateway Natural Area make the pass purchasing process more convenient. Previously, visitors could only purchase an annual pass voucher from the pay station, which had to be exchanged for a physical pass within 14 days. The new pay stations dispense day passes ($7) and annual passes ($40). People with disabilities can purchase annual passes for a discounted rate from an accessible pay station ($15).
Visitors are encouraged to park and then pay to ensure a parking spot, especially during the busy summer months. Annual passes must be permanently affixed to the inside passenger’s side windshield and are non-transferable. Daily passes must be clearly displayed on the passenger’s side of the dashboard.
Visitors can check out a free Gateway Natural Area annual pass for up to one week from the Poudre River Public Library District. Four passes are available, two at the Old Town location and two passes at the Council Tree location. No holds are available.
Daily Parking & Annual Parking Pass Fees#
Passes are required for vehicles, walk-ins, tubers, and boaters. Visitors are encouraged to park and then pay to ensure a parking spot, especially during the busy summer months. No cash, cards only.
- Daily pass: $7 per passenger vehicle- purchase pass at the self-pay station after parking. Daily passes must be clearly displayed on the passenger’s side of the dashboard.
- $40 annual pass per passenger vehicle- purchase pass at the self-pay station after parking. Annual passes are valid through the end of the calendar year and will expire on December 31st. Annual passes must be permanently affixed to the inside passenger’s side windshield and are non-transferable.
- $15 accessible annual pass available for those with disabilities- purchase pass at the self-pay station after parking.
Gateway Natural Area is the kind of place you will want to bring your family for a day in the mountains and definitely a place you will be proud to say is part of Fort Collins. Gateway Natural Area (formerly Gateway Mountain Park) is the site of the city's old water filtration plant, where the North Fork of the Poudre River joins the main Poudre River. Visitors enjoy it because its tucked away from the noise of Highway 14 and Gateway is only 15 miles from Fort Collins! You'll find hiking trails, a designated launch area for kayaks and canoes, fishing, picnic tables with grills, informational kiosks and a natural playground.
Due to safety concerns, walk-in access is not permitted along the paved entrance road.
Most of the materials for the natural playground were reused/ recycled or were found on site. Elements include stepping stumps, a rock streambed, a wooden boardwalk, a sandy area, a carved boat, a rustic log ladder, rock walls and a willow tunnel.
Gateway picnic shelters
Gateway Natural Area is a wonderful getaway along the Cache la Poudre River.
A group explores the Black Powder Trail
Gateway's Natural Playground
Gateway in winter by Ken Eis
The Black Powder Trail is 0.8 miles and climbs steeply to an expansive view of the Poudre Canyon. The Overlook Trail is 0.3 miles and it climbs steeply to a beautiful ridgetop. Visitors also access City of Greeley's Seaman Reservoir through Gateway Natural Area. The reservoir is 1 mile from Gateway via a flat dirt road with a short climb at the end.
Swimming and cliff jumping are not permitted at Seaman Reservoir. View the trail map.
Gateway Natural Area is open daily, dawn to dusk.
Due to safety concerns, walk-in access to Gateway Natural Area is not permitted along the paved entrance road.
Parking Lot Camera
Shelter reservations are no longer available at Gateway Natural Area. The two shelters are available on a first-come, first-served baisis.
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!
- Gateway Natural Area Brochure
- History of Gateway Natural Area
- Important Rules
- Bird Checklist- Courtesy of Fort Collins Audubon Society
- Plant List for Gateway Natural Area. Volunteers were critical in making the list possible, thank you!