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Keyhole Balloon

Intermediate
 4.1 (18) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

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


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Map Key

2.3

Miles

3.7

KM

Out and Back

5,314' 1,620 m

High

5,083' 1,549 m

Low

256' 78 m

Up

257' 78 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

14%

Max Grade (8°)

Dogs Leashed

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.

Contacts

Land Manager: Larimer County, Colorado

Shared By:

Kayla Dome with improvements by Susanna Wright

Trail Ratings

  4.1 from 18 votes

#1989

Overall
  4.1 from 18 votes
5 Star
22%
4 Star
61%
3 Star
17%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#279

in Colorado

#1,989

Overall
113 Views Last Month
3,924 Since Feb 17, 2017
Intermediate

18%
12%
65%
0%
6%
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

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Check-Ins

Oct 3, 2020
Michelle H
With Sarah and Anna 3.2mi — 1h 10m
Sep 12, 2020
Jake Eicher
3.8mi — 1h 38m
Jul 17, 2020
Mike Street
Narrow trail, beware of rattle snakes, gorgeous scenery — 1h 12m
Jun 21, 2020
Isamar Hernandez
Great trail not too hard. 2.4mi — 1h 13m
Apr 10, 2020
Austin Forte
Hiked Wild Loop and Hunter Loop with a stop on the way back at the keyhole. 4.4mi — 2h 30m
Apr 5, 2020
Hali Riewerts
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