It was a sunny but chilly morning in Northern Colorado. Just a short distance from Interstate Exit 269 in Fort Collins, a winter wonderland of tiny frozen lakes beckoned to be explored. Though conveniently located near a bustling highway, Riverbend Ponds Natural Area felt isolated and serene.
Signs directed us to a small parking area off Timberline Road. Morning frost was quickly disappearing under the beaming sunshine. Walking paths stretched in different directions. We began our stroll by heading off to the left then took a quick right turn onto a trail that cut between the frozen ponds.
Small fishing piers popped up along the way. We walked to the edge of one and gazed out over the frosty water. The dogs stared across these foreign fields of white, thin ice with curiosity and wonder.
The girls were having a fantastic walk through this interesting place. Frozen ponds flanked both sides of the pathway. The dirt trail was dry for the most part. It narrowed as it cut between the small lagoons.
The still waters and sheets of ice made for a peaceful setting. The delightful chirps of happy birds accompanied us along our trek. It was a lovely morning for an excursion through the nature area.
We were having a great time traversing the pathways between the ponds. Other than stopping occasionally for intriguing smells, the dogs moved along at a fairly quick pace. Now and then they paused to look out over the frozen water.
After a while we came to a sign with a map of the area's trails. We had followed the path that ran between Trout Pond and Wiper Pond, and were now at the southeast corner of Wiper Pond. The sign was located at a junction where several pathways intersected, and we now had a choice of which way to go next.
We decided to take a right, and continued around Wiper Pond.
Distant snow-capped Rocky Mountains became visible through the trees. This was a gorgeous place to spend a mild winter morning.
The girls slowed down and began to take their time on this part of the path. The thick brush behind the pond housed interesting scents that the dogs couldn't resist. They were all snouts and smiles as they poked along the trail.
As we walked behind Wiper Pond, the Cache la Poudre River appeared on our left. The brilliant sunshine against the wintry setting made for a beautiful morning beside the water.
Eventually we made our way past Wiper Pond and tiny Turtle Pond before making it back to the parking lot.
This had been a fantastic place to walk. There had been much to sniff and explore. The scenery was lovely and the pathways had been easy to navigate and traverse. The network of trails made it easy to tailor our route to any length.
This was a great spot to get some exercise while still being close to the Interstate. We truly enjoyed the quiet and unexpected Riverbend Ponds Natural Area.