A great place to visit with a 1.5 mile trail system in a figure 8 configuration. North Shields Ponds has nice views of the mountains and a feeling of remoteness, even close to town. It's is popular for anglers, equestrians and hikers. Fish species include black bullhead, channel catfish, bluegill, hybrid sunfishes, largemouth bass, and black crappie. More fishing details are listed here. Birdwatchers will want to look for any of the 30 species of birds that have been seen here including red-winged blackbirds, great blue herons, snow geese and American wigeons. Native plants include showy milkweed (upon which the monarch butterfly is dependent), cattails, and cottonwood trees.
Natural Area Size: 54 acres
Total Restoration Acres: 32 acres
Challenges: Water levels in the west pond are difficult to control in order to get wetland plants established. High spring flows can overwhelm wetland plants established during restoration. Geese prefer the new tender wetland plants and can decimate a restoration planting. The initial restoration project at North Shields Ponds is complete! Youll see five new acres of wetlands and naturally contoured river banks to promote river connection to the floodplain. The Josh Ames diversion structure was removed to allow for fish passage and to ensure safe river recreation. Ongoing maintenance of this site will assure the work is meeting the projects objective of promoting a natural, functioning river ecosystem.
NSP picnic table
Western Painted Turtle
North Shields Pond by K Manderbach
The North Shields Ponds Natural Area parking lot is on Shields St, north of Shields/Vine, on the west side of road. The approximate address is 1333 North Shields Street, Fort Collins.
Activities and Events#
- 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.
- Poudre River Restoration video 3 minutes, reveals the case for river restoration through time-lapse photography and video animation.
- Map of North Shields Pond Natural Area.
- 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!
- Restoration Project details
- Removal of Ames Diversion Project details
- Video about the Ames Diversion removal(4 minutes) made for our partner, Colorado Water Trust.
- Removal of Ames Diversion Time-Lapse Video (4 minutes)
- Poudre River Natural Areas Management Plan
- Bird Checklist- Courtesy of Fort Collins Audubon Society
- North Shields Ponds Natural Area is an Important Bird Area, learn more here.