In the Rocky Mountain foothills outside of Fort Collins, the Soderberg Open Space is nestled into the southeastern corner of Horsetooth Mountain Open Space, a 2,700-acre preserve just west of town. The trailhead here offers access to Horsetooth Mountain’s 29-mile trail network and backcountry campsites. In addition, the preserve is directly adjacent to Lory State Park, and their interconnected trail networks effectively offer hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders a full 55 miles of trail to enjoy. Because many of these trails are loops and can be combined with trails in neighboring Lory State Park, hikers and riders can plan a full day on the trails beginning at Soderberg Open Space.
Hundreds of plant and animal species can be found here, including mule deer, mountain lions, coyote, bobcats, elk, black bear, and several species of ground squirrel and mouse. In the spring, the hills bloom with wildflowers, drawing hundreds of butterfly species to the violets, sunflowers, primroses, and bluebells that bloom here, among others.
The Soderberg Open Space draws its name from the families who settled here in the early 1900s. A former homestead and horse ranch, the Soderberg Ranch property was acquired in 1998 to expand educational opportunities in Horsetooth Mountain Open Space. The Soderbergs were one of the early families to settle near Stout, Colorado, a city now partially submerged under the Horsetooth Reservoir. Wilhelmina Soderberg and her husband, John, moved to the Horsetooth Valley around the turn of the 20th century, originally settling in an uncle’s home west of what is now Dixon Cove. The family had an active role in Fort Collins history, quarrying stone used in the Fort Collins Library, now the Fort Collins Museum. They purchased what would become the Soderberg Ranch, the Old Herrington Ranch, from the Herrington family some time in the early 1900s. The homestead includes a ranch house with original, turn-of-the-century architecture and several historic buildings, including a chicken house, stone garage, wooden barn, loafing shed, and log granary.