This canyon is a premier area for those seeking foothills and mountain birds. In the lower parts of the canyon, riparian areas host Lazuli Bunting and Yellow-breasted Chat. Higher up in the pines, one can find Dusky and Hammond’s Flycatchers, Steller’s Jay, Mountain Chickadee, and Red Crossbill. In 2012, a fire burned much of this area, creating open meadows now inhabited by Mountain and Western Bluebirds. However, many of the best tracts of forest remain untouched, including a lush section half a mile above the turnoff to Stratton Park Road that boasts breeding Ovenbird and Virginia’s Warbler. Note: it may be difficult to find places to stop along the road, so please use caution when exploring this area.
Directions: From I-25: exit at CO 14/Mulberry Street and go west. At US 287/College Avenue, head north and continue as it bends west. Where it bends north again, stay straight to continue west on 287B through LaPorte. In La Porte, go west on Rist Canyon Road.
Dates of Access: Open all year
Hours: Daylight hours
Ownership: Primarily Private/USFS
Restrictions: This area is mostly private property with a small amount of public property mixed in. Please bird from the road except on forest service land. Be very careful of fast-moving traffic.
Lodging: Hotels in La Porte and Fort Collins
Handicapped Access: None