North Shields Pond Natural Area – Dog Hiking
1.5 miles soft surface trail
Shields Pond, just off the beaten path in Fort Collins, is a great place for dog walking year round (weather permitting) with no access fees.
This area has a deceptively remote feeling, featuring the Poudre River to the west which allows access to Paw Splash, and great views of the mountains. You’ll forget just how close you are to downtown Fort Collins.
This 1.5 mile loop (when combined with Sterling Natural Area) creates a “figure 8” loop. North Shields Ponds is popular for anglers, equestrians, hikers and dog walkers.
Wildlife is abundant in the area, including fish species such as black bullhead, channel catfish, bluegill, hybrid sunfishes, largemouth bass, and black crappie.
Shields Pond Natural Area is a birdwatchers paradise and will sure to satisfy the most diverse of tastes.
Your dog’s curiosity will be peaked with watching any of the 30 species of birds that frequent the area including red-winged blackbirds, great blue herons, snow geese and American wigeons.
Native plants include showy milkweed (upon which the monarch butterfly is dependent), cattails, and cottonwood trees.
Bring plenty of fresh water and snacks along for you and your dog. There are ample places to access the river, rest and even a picnic table tucked into the cottonwoods here and there.
When walking your dog on a retractable leash, be sure to keep a short lead with good line-of-sight to the upcoming the trail. Also, this is a popular area for equestrians so be watchful of horse manure piles, which can be an enticing pastime for your dog.
The North Shields Pond Natural Area parking lot is on Shields Street, north of Vine, on the west side of road. Sterling Natural Area is only accessed by the trail connection from North Shields Pond Natural Area.