Hiking Project Logo

Keyhole Balloon

Intermediate
 4.1 (21) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

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


Your Rating:      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add to Favorites · Your List
Zoom in to see details
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 21 votes

#975

Overall
  4.1 from 21 votes
5 Star
29%
4 Star
57%
3 Star
14%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#191

in Colorado

#975

Overall
78 Views Last Month
4,879 Since Feb 17, 2017
Intermediate

15%
15%
60%
5%
5%
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

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
All Clear 19 days ago See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Jan 8, 2022
Haley Partin
Aug 17, 2021
Linda Reeves
Jul 11, 2021
Elicha Andrade
Apr 25, 2021
Alex O'Connell
From the south TH, to Blue Sky junction and back. 6.6mi
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