Featured Image - Eagle's Nest Open Space
| |

Eagle’s Nest Open Space: Destination Guide

Eagle’s Nest Open Space in Larimer County, CO just northwest of Fort Collins, offers a fantastic alternative to some of the busier Denver area parks. With 755 acres and two trail loops totaling 5.2 miles, Eagle’s Nest is a favorite destination for hikers, horseback riders, and anglers accessing the North Fork of the Cache la Poudre River. As its name implies, Eagle’s Nest Rock, which is the prominent feature in the open space, is home to nesting golden eagles. Eagle’s Nest Open Space is open year-round, but some parts may be seasonally closed due to eagle nesting (so please check ahead). We favor visits here in the autumn, because of cooler temperatures, fewer crowds, and beautiful changing scenery. Dog friendly and great for a day’s worth of adventure, Eagle’s Nest Open Space is a must-visit. 

Destination Guide Series: Eagle’s Nest Open Space

Where is Eagle’s Nest Open Space?

Eagle’s Nest Open Space is located in Larimer County, about 30 minutes northwest of Fort Collins, CO and just south of Livermore, CO. Make a sharp turn off of US-287 onto Red Feather Lakes Rd. (W County Rd. 74 E). At the turn off of US-287, you’ll see The Forks Mercantile and Saloon (which is a great spot to pick up a bite to eat after your outing). Turn left off of Red Feather Lakes Rd. onto the open space’s Entrance Road until your reach the parking area. 

Why Should You Visit Eagle’s Nest Open Space?

Eagle’s Nest Open Space offers a great change of foothills scenery for those close to the Denver area. Even though it is only a short 30-minute drive from Fort Collins, this open space truly has a  remote feeling, coupled with impressive views of the surrounding Laramie foothills. Eagle’s Nest Rock, inhabited by nesting golden eagles, is an incredible landmark itself; but, keep an eye out for other wildlife include deer, elk, coyotes, rattlesnakes, and other raptors. 

Eagle’s Nest Open Space’s trail system is straightforward and ideal for beginner-level hikes and trail runs, with modest elevation gain. Indeed, this area is one of our favorite early fall destinations as we wind down a summer of high elevation mountain climbing. Beyond hiking, anglers will appreciate access to the Cache la Poudre River (great for trout fishing), and equestrians have access to trails absent mountain bikes.

Open Space Trails


Eagle’s Nest Open Space has two loop trails (3-Bar and OT) that amount to 5.2 miles of total trail length. The 3-Bar Trail is 3.4 miles round-trip and is an excellent loop hike in-and-of itself. However, for those looking to extend their outing, the OT Trail is a separate 1.8 mile round-trip loop hike that is accessible by first hiking a portion of the 3-Bar Trail. Both the 3-Bar and OT Trails are open to hikers, trail runners, and equestrians. In addition, pets on a leash are also permitted. Please note that mountain bikes are not permitted on these trails. 

When visiting Eagle’s Nest Open Space, we prefer to combine the 3-Bar and OT Trails together into one big figure-eight loop hike, which provides the fullest perspective of Eagle’s Nest Rock and the area’s incredible ecosystem. Plus, you’ll cross the bridge over the North Fork of the Cache la Poudre River and probably see anglers fishing for trout. 

Planning Tips

For a well-rounded and more interpretive Colorado Open Space experience, we recommend picking up a few naturalist guides. An easy to use field guide for plants and birds will help identify species and further add to the enjoyment of your time outdoors. In addition, there are a few Fort Collins area hiking guides that offer more details on nearby trails.

If you’re looking for even more Rocky Mountain adventures, don’t forget to also check out our other Destination Guides here for things to do!

Disclosure: Please note that this post contains affiliate links. We may receive a small commission if you buy a product or service through an affiliate link. This revenue helps us provide readers with helpful content to plan amazing adventures.

Similar Posts