25. Soapstone Prairie

The Soapstone Prairie is one of those places I would never have thought to visit if it hadn’t been suggested to me. I first heard about Soapstone from a very nice man at the Old Town Visitor’s Bureau when I asked him what his favorite thing to do in Fort Collins was. Of all the choices he could have come up with, he excitedly told me about Soapstone. So today I decided to see it for myself.

Soapstone Prairie Natural Area is a 19,000 acre parcel of land that provides access to equestrian, hiking, and biking trails in Northern Colorado’s grassland. It is also an area rich in archeological artifacts and history. The area is run by the City of Fort Collins and is funded by a .25% sales tax that was voted on by area residents. As a result all activities are free to visitors and staff can often be found on site to provide lessons about the area’s significance and history.

I was able to spend some time talking to Suzy at the Visitor’s Entrance to the Prairie who was a wealth of knowledge. She enthusiastically provided me with maps, information about upcoming tours, and let me know some of the great things about the area that are all FREE. She made me wish I had planned on sticking around for longer. There’s all kinds of cool stuff going on this summer at Soapstone.

The area is home to the Lindemeier archeological site that contains remnants of the ancient Folsom culture. A spear point lodged into the vertebrae of a prehistoric buffalo is just one of the few artifacts that has been uncovered here. Visitors can walk to the site on a paved .3 mile path that takes you to an overlook and an educational storyboard to learn more.

The area also contains over 42 miles of hiking trails. Antelope, big horn sheep, and prairie dogs are some of the more frequently seen animals. Be careful there’s also rattle snakes. I wouldn’t recommend wearing sandals if you go. The grasslands are littered with plenty of little cactus that will destroy your feet if you’re not careful. I took some time to walk around today, and I was impressed by the sweeping views of the prairie combined with snow covered mountains as a backdrop.

You can learn more at the Soapstone Prairie website.

Please note that Soapstone Prairie does not allow dogs.

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