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.
The daily parking fee at Gateway Natural Area is $7 credit card only, (cash is no longer accepted), year-round. The fee is charged to everyone entering Gateway. Purchase pass at the electronic kiosk as you enter Gateway.
- The daily parking fee of $7 is now being charged to everyone who enters Gateway Natural Area, including boaters and tubers putting in to the river. The fee is due to increased congestion in the launch area, maintenance and staffing costs, and to align with other agency’s practices.
An annual pass ($40) is available and can be purchased at Gateway Natural Area with credit card using the electronic kiosk (cash is no longer accepted). Annual pass sales at Nix are currently available by phone only (M-F, 8-5) 970-416-2815.
Due to safety concerns, walk-in access to Gateway Natural Area is not permitted along the paved entrance road.
Parking Lot Camera
We are no longer offering shelter reservations at Gateway Natural Area. The two shelters are available first come, first served.
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.
- Customized free educational programs at Gateway Natural Area are available for groups, call the Master Naturalist Program at 970-224-6118 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
- 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
- Fees at Gateway Natural Area
- Bird Checklist- Courtesy of Fort Collins Audubon Society
- Plant List for Gateway Natural Area. Volunteers were critical in making the list possible, thank you!