COVID-19: At REI, we encourage you to get outside responsibly. Stay local, avoid recreational travel, practice social distancing and check ahead for area and facility closures. Learn More
Hiking Project Logo

Keyhole Balloon

Intermediate

Trail

2.3 mile 3.7 kilometer out and back
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 256' 78 m
Descent: -257' -78 m
High: 5,314' 1,620 m
Low: 5,083' 1,549 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 14% (8°)

Dogs

Leashed
Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

An out and back hike that loops around at a keyhole overlook of the mountains.

Kayla Dome

Features Birding · Views

Family Friendly This is a relatively easy trail; it's great for out-of-town guests that want to see some mountain views (especially if they're from sea level & still acclimating). Popular with families and kids.

Opens at sunrise and closes at sunset.

Overview

The entry trail at Devil's Backbone Open Space takes hikers upward towards a picturesque overlook through a nautral keyhole in the rock. It looks out over the mountains with the highest peak visible being Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park. This is great trail year round. 50% of the trail up to the Keyhole is for runners and hikers only.

Need to Know

Red-tail hawks and unique plants can be seen in this preserved land of Larimer County.

Description

This trail starts at the Devil's Backbone Open Space parking lot. A gradual downhill through a secluded picnic area helps hikers ramp up for the slight uphill for .7 miles. The dirt trail is well marked, and hikers should take the Keyhole Loop Trail to the top without diverting to the right.

About a half a mile in, hikers will come across a slightly rocky surface before returning to a smooth dirt path. It travels mostly uphill for .8 miles before a gradual down and up leading the Keyhole. The overlook is popular towards the end of the day with the great view overlooking the mountains west, so the trail can get a little busy. It is a relatively unknown trail though and mostly used by locals.

At the top of the Keyhole, travel north towards a small loop that takes hikers back to the main trail to the parking lot. It is a very enjoyable route and one of my local go-to spots.

Flora & Fauna

There are lots of bees at the Keyhole overlook during the summer. Beware! As far as vegetation, there is a nature loop that points out some the local flora in the parking lot.

History & Background

The Devil's Backbone hogsback is one of the places in northern Colorado where you can see the ancient beach that once was part of this area. While that was 145 to 65 million years ago, the remnants of the Cretaceous period can be seen along the rock wall that is prominent to this area.

Hiked this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

ADA Accessible

Is something wrong? Let us know. Have photos to share? Help fellow hikers know what's here.

Contacts

Land Manager: Larimer County, Colorado

Rate This Hike

Rate Quality


   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Hike

Check In

Check-Ins

Nov 29, 2019
Susanna Wright
Snowy, but trail was packed down. Snowshoes were not necessary but micro spikes were very helpful. Trail was significantly less busy due to weather 2.3mi — 0h 47m
Jun 10, 2019
Anna Holm
May 18, 2019
David Merritt
2.6mi
May 11, 2019
Ryan VanBuskirk
2.6mi
Apr 7, 2019
Kevin Botka
2mi
Jan 7, 2019
Greg Collette
Jan 6, 2019
Ryan Wallace
2.5mi
Dec 26, 2018
Sarah B

Trail Ratings

  3.9 from 14 votes

#2362

Overall
  3.9 from 14 votes
5 Star
14%
4 Star
64%
3 Star
21%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Hike Rankings

#312

in Colorado

#2,362

Overall
84 Views Last Month
2,574 Since Feb 17, 2017
Intermediate

17%
75%
8%
0%

Photos

Keyhole Balloon takes you to this phenomenal view.
Feb 17, 2017 near Loveland, CO
Keyhole Balloon follows the Devils Backbone and affords this fantastic view.
Feb 17, 2017 near Loveland, CO

0 Comments

Hiking Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Hiking