Fort Lupton is a city of about 9,000 residents that’s located in north-central Colorado’s Weld County.
The city lies just a few miles east of Interstate 25 and is nearly equidistant from downtown Denver to the south and Fort Collins to the north.
To the west of Fort Lupton are some of the state’s largest national parks and most popular ski resorts, and to the east is a massive tract of prairie that stretches into neighboring Kansas.
Many vacationers opt for convenient day trips to neighboring cities and towns like Longmont, Thornton, and Brighton, which are relatively short drives away.
Below are 15 things to do in and around Fort Lupton, Colorado.
1. Coyote Creek Golf Course
Featuring 18 stunning holes that play nearly 6,500 yards, the par-71 Coyote Creek Golf Course is an area favorite for skilled golfers and novices alike.
Previous players have noted that the course is pleasantly challenging and that its beautiful views and groomed greens and fairways make it a must-play for serious golfers.
For women, seniors, and kids who’d rather not hit from the men’s tees, there are several shorter options that significantly reduce the overall yardage.
Though it’s a municipal facility, Coyote Creek is every bit as good as many private clubs in the area; as such, tee times tend to fill up quickly during peak periods.
2. Pearson Park
For its convenience and abundance of on-site activity options, Pearson Park is a premier destination for outdoors and sports lovers traveling on budgets.
The park’s amenities include baseball and softball fields, bike trails and walking paths, and an elevated area offering amazing panoramic views of Fort Lupton.
Pearson Park is set along the scenic shores of the South Platte River and is a bird watcher’s hot spot that includes dozens of species, like common jays, woodpeckers, owls, and migratory fowl.
The park’s recreation center hosts a number of annual events, especially during the Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year seasons.
3. Chavez Mexican Food
Chavez Mexican Food is located on 5th Street in downtown Fort Lupton, and though it’s easy to miss, those lucky enough to stop in for a meal consistently give it high marks for freshness, portion size, and overall value.
The restaurant is often referred to endearingly as a hole in the wall. Though it isn’t as inexpensive as other Mexican eateries in the area, according to those with seasoned taste buds, their menudo, tortas, and tacos are world-class.
Chavez Mexican Food usually closes for the day just after the lunch crowd is gone, so consider visiting between 11 AM and 1 PM so you don’t miss out.
4. House of Smoke
Rumor has it that House of Smoke on Denver Avenue in Fort Lupton smokes more turkey than any other smokehouse in the state. That’s quite a claim considering Colorado’s abundance of wild and farm-raised turkeys.
Their menu features lots of other smoked meats, including beef, buffalo, and tasty homemade sausage.
A few of their perennial favorites include hefty barbecue sandwiches and tacos made with buffalo, and many visitors who prefer eating in the comfort of their own homes swing by to pick up a takeaway.
Give them a call with your order a half hour or so ahead of time to get in and out in a hurry.
5. Railroad Park
Railroad Park is located in downtown Fort Lupton just east of Denver Avenue and north of 1st Street.
The park is comprised of nearly nine acres that include open spaces and a number of sports amenities like baseball and softball fields, basketball and volleyball courts. There are even a few horseshoe tossing pits for those who prefer low-intensity activities.
Many visitors choose to take a stroll or have a picnic in the shade. On the weekends and in the afternoon and evening during the week, there are some adult and kid’s sports leagues that are free to watch.
6. Barr Lake State Park
Barr Lake State Park is located in Brighton, just a short drive south of Fort Lupton along US Route 85.
The park totals nearly 3,000 acres and has been a favorite destination for outdoorsy types since it was founded in the mid-‘70s.
There are more than a dozen miles of trails that wind their way by the lake’s shore as well as to the park’s inland areas. According to diehard amateur ornithologists, there are more than 300 species of birds in the area.
For anglers, the lake is full of perky game fish like rainbow trout, bass, and tiger muskies that grow as big as a man’s leg.
7. Brighton Oasis Family Aquatic Park
The Brighton Oasis Family Aquatic Park is a municipal facility that’s among the area’s newest recreation attractions.
The park’s features include water slides, wave pools, a water basketball court, and a low-depth pool for those traveling with little ones.
Though it was certainly designed with water-loving kids in mind, it’s got separate areas for adults to swim laps without being bombarded with splashes and screaming children.
Non-water amenities include covered picnic areas, a climbing wall, and rentable rooms that are perfect for birthday parties. The park is closed from fall until spring, so check their open dates before making a special trip.
8. Denver Premium Outlets
During the spring, summer, and early fall, the weather in much of Colorado can be absolutely perfect, but during the winter, the state’s harsh conditions often lend themselves to indoor activities.
The Denver Premium Outlets are located on Grant Street in Thornton and include a large selection of national and international brand retailers like Coach, Kate Spade, Under Armour, and GAP.
Though designer and kid’s clothes are the outlets’ primary draws, there are also electronics, jewelry, and shoes, as well as a variety of dining options ranging from fast food and ice cream to sushi, Philadelphia-style cheesesteaks, and Italian food.
9. Colorado Clays Shooting Park
Since the Wild West days, firearms have played significant roles in taming the rugged and once-rowdy state of Colorado.
Colorado Clays Shooting Park is located between Lupton Park and Denver on Lanewood Street in Brighton. It is a family-owned business that provides a world-class shooting experience for those of most ages and experience levels.
The park’s shotgun options include skeet and trap shooting, and for rifle and handgun shooters, there are ranges from 25 to 100 yards.
The expansive facilities are monitored by experienced range masters to ensure everyone has a fun and safe time. For those traveling without guns, there are some options available to rent on-site.
10. 4 Noses Brewing
The metro Denver area is crawling with local microbreweries, and for lovers of craft beer, the options can seem endless.
4 Noses Brewing is located on West 116th Circle in Broomfield and has a perpetually rotating selection of 20 beers on tap, ranging from light, crisp pilsners and hoppy IPAS to creamy stouts and fruit-infused blonds.
There are both indoor and outdoor seating areas, the latter of which is popular in the spring, summer, and early fall when the weather is often perfect for being outside.
4 Noses doesn’t have a kitchen, but there are plenty of food trucks in the lot daily.
11. Springvale Park Disc Golf Course
Disc golf is a fun and inexpensive alternative to traditional golf and is especially popular with kids who find golf’s rules and etiquette a bit on the stuffy side.
For those who’ve never played a round, disc golf is similar to golf, but instead of hitting a ball with a club, players throw a disc-like a Frisbee into a basket.
Springvale Park Disc Golf Course is located on Holly Street in Thornton and is adjacent to scenic Marshall Lake, which makes for stunning views, especially when the sun is rising or setting.
The course has plenty of parking and open spaces for exercising and picnicking.
12. Broomfield Auditorium and Gallery
The Broomfield Auditorium and Gallery is a popular arts and entertainment venue that seats nearly 300 spectators.
The auditorium hosts a variety of shows throughout the year, including dramatic plays, dance, live music, and comedy.
The facility features state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems, and there are more than 50 balcony seats for those who’d like to take in a show from a unique perspective.
The gallery portion is operated by the local art guild and features an impressive collection of contemporary works, many of which were done by local and regional artists. Consider buying tickets to popular shows in advance to avoid a sold-out situation.
13. Ron Stewart Preserve at Rabbit Mountain
The Ron Stewart Preserve at Rabbit Mountain is spread across nearly 3,000 acres of natural Colorado landscape just outside the city of Longmont.
The area around the mountain is full of animal species that are commonly seen from the preserve’s trails, including prairie dogs, bobcats, black bears, and a huge variety of bird species as well.
Most of the preserve’s trails are less than two miles long, and many of them are loops, which are perfect for first-timers who prefer not to get lost in the wild.
The preserve is a great place to capture incredible vistas, especially in the evening, when the sun is setting over the mountains.
14. The Dougherty Museum
The Dougherty Museum in Longmont was the brainchild of a local farmer and vintage car aficionado who established the facility in 1977.
The museum features an impressive collection of historic and antique cars, most of which have been restored to running and near-original condition.
The Dougherty Museum is open seasonally from June to August and includes many automobiles from now-defunct automakers like Stanley and Packard.
The collection also includes an interesting mix of historic memorabilia like housewares and horse-drawn means of transportation like carriages. The museum is inexpensive to visit, and most guests spend about an hour on-site.
15. St. Vrain Cidery
Much like craft breweries and distilleries have grown in number and popularity in the last few decades, cideries have also been making significant inroads into the adult beverage industry.
Also in Longmont, the St. Vrain Cidery was founded in 2015 and primarily produces American-style ciders that are typically dry and include several fruity flavors like guava and key lime.
Their taproom is open from Wednesday through Sunday in the afternoon and early evenings and offers a variety of seasonal ciders, not only from their own stock but from other Colorado cider producers as well.
They often host special events such as live entertainment, game nights, and yoga classes.