As its name suggests, deer love Running Deer because of the plentiful food, water and shelter for them here. Visitors may see both mule deer and whitetail deer bedded down or running across the site. Mule deer have large ears and a black-tipped tail. Whitetail deer have smaller ears and wide, flat, bushy tails. Thank you to Great Outdoors Colorado who provided a grant to help purchase this site.
A nice destination at Running Deer is the White Pine Fire Lookout. The top (or cab) was part of the fire lookout tower located on White Pine Mountain, west of Fort Collins until 1967. It has been stabilized by volunteers and it serves as a wildlife viewing pavilion now. To reach the cab, use the Colorado Welcome Center trailhead and follow the trail southwest about 1 mile to the cab or fire lookout top.
Parking lots on east Prospect Rd (at approximately 3301 Prospect Rd) and at the Colorado Welcome Center, (3745 Prospect Rd.) Also can be reached via the Prospect Rd underpass from Riverbend Ponds Natural Area.
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.
- Trail map
- 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!
- Poudre River Management Plan
- White Pine Fire Lookout information
- Forest Fire Lookout Association article about the White Pine Fire Lookout by Susan Epstein
- Running Deer Natural Area is an Important Bird Area, learn more here.
- Bird Checklist- Courtesy of Fort Collins Audubon Society
- Plant List for Running Deer Natural Area Volunteers were critical in making the list possible, thank you!