I might be biased, but Fort Collins is one of my absolute favorite cities in the US, especially when it comes to finding epic locations to shoot your engagement session! Looking for a mountain view? You got it. Want a riverbank? Done! Rather find some funky alleyways and historic buildings? Easy peasy. Going for more of a “Little House on the Prairie” feel? We’ve got that, too! I get asked a lot for recommendations on my favorite Fort Collins locations. Here they are!
1) Horsetooth Reservoir & Horsetooth Mountain Open Space
Horsetooth is hands down my favorite location in Fort Collins for engagement sessions. On the East side you can alternate between views of the reservoir and a bird’s eye view of the city below. We often see deer in the distance around dusk, and catch some of the most gorgeous sunsets. It’s gorgeous year-round!
On the West side, numerous trails exist depending on how long of a hike you’re up for. During the late spring, a 2.9 mile round-trip hike will take you past hills of wildflowers to Horsetooth Falls. Looking for more adventure? A 5.7 mile hike will get you to Horsetooth Rock, complete with incredible views of all of Fort Collins, as well as the mountain range behind that is normally hidden by the foothills.
Need to know: There is a $9 parking fee for the day. The weekend is busy year-round, so it’s best to plan for a weekday.
2) Salyer Natural Area
Salyer Natural Area is a hidden gem just north of Old Town. Complete with huge trees, a riverbank, and a picturesque bridge, Salyer has quite a bit of trails to explore. I have often seen deer getting a drink by the river in the evening, and the fall colors here are second to none! It’s a great little hideaway close to town that still feels like you’re tucked away in nature.
Need to know: Parking is free! It can get super busy on weekends during the summer and fall, so consider visiting on a weeknight to avoid crowds. The rest of the year it is often pretty quiet!
3) Old Town
If you’re looking for a small-town America feel, here it is! Disneyland’s Main Street USA was based off of Old Town, Fort Collins. With buildings dating back to the 1800’s, murals in almost every alleyway and exposed brick galore, Old Town provides such a quaint backdrop! Looking to add something unique to your session? Pop in to one of the many ice cream parlors, coffee shops, or distilleries to enjoy a quick treat.
Need to know: While there is free parking on the street, it can be tricky to find on evenings and weekends. It is best to avoid popular times by choosing sessions on weeknights or early mornings.
4) The Oval at CSU
The Oval is perhaps one of the most photographed locations in Fort Collins, and for good reason! No matter the season, the tall, old elm trees paired with the gleaming white marble administration building make for a romantic setting.
Need to know: The Oval is occasionally inaccessible by car when CSU is hosting home football games. It is also quite busy towards the end of May as students make their way to get their picture on the oval before walking across the stage!
Bonus places that aren’t technically in Fort Collins, but are close enough!
Picnic Rock is a much quieter location about 20 minutes north of Old Town at the base of Poudre Valley. With sweeping riverbanks, thickets of trees, and dramatic rocky hills, it’s a gorgeous location for couples wanting a bit more secluded location. It can be a popular spot for tubers during the summer, but it’s not too difficult to find a quite spot!
Need to know: There is no cell phone reception at Picnic Rock. Depending on the season, the river may be flowing full and fast, or frozen with just a trickle. Parking is free!
6) Devil’s Backbone Natural Area
Devil’s Backbone, located on the west side of Loveland, is home to dramatic red rock formations. A 2.3 mile hike to the keyhole offers awesome views, especially around sunset.
Need to know: There is a $9 parking fee for the day. During the summer, rattlesnake sightings are common, so it is important to always be aware of your surroundings!
7) Hermit Park Open Space
If you’re looking for a mountain-feel but want to avoid the crowds in Rocky Mountain National Park. Hermit Park might be for you! Located in Estes Park, Hermit Park has numerous trails to explore featuring aspen groves, meadows, wildflowers, and mountain views.
Need to know: There is a $9 parking fee for the day. Cellphone reception is limited in most of the park.
8) Rocky Mountain National Park
One of prettiest places in Northern Colorado, there is not a bad place for an engagement session in RMNP. Depending on what you are looking for, the park hase everything from lakes to Aspen groves to sweeping mountain views. Some of my favorite locations include Moraine Park, Sprague Lake, Bear Lake, Trail Ridge Road, and 3M Curve. It’s also a favorite elopement location of mine!
Need to know: There is a $25 entrance fee to the park. Dogs are not allowed more than 100 feet from any parking lot or road, so it’s best to leave your pup at home. Weekends are crazy busy year-round, so it is bet to plan your session for a weekday if you want to avoid crowds!