Skip to main content

Natural Areas

Running Deer Natural Area#

Find a Natural Area | View All Natural Areas

Trail Status

Construction is underway in the area of the CSU Environmental Learning Center (ELC) and Running Deer Natural Area to protect a City water right and improve habitat. Trails are closed. Hazardous conditions exist. For more info visit .


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.




About 2 miles of soft surface trail. Running Deer is one of the few natural areas where no bikes or dogs are permitted. Dogs and bikes are allowed at Riverbend Ponds, on the north side of Prospect Rd. Trail map >>>


5:00 a.m. 11:00 p.m.

Plan Your Visit#

Popular times.


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#

Related Information#