Also spelled LaPorte, Laporte is a rural foothills community located on the banks of the Cache La Poudre River, in the northern Colorado Front Range. It’s located only ten minutes northwest of Fort Collins.
A census-designated place in Larimer County, as of 2020 the town had 2,409 residents. Laporte has an elevation of 5,020 feet. There is a Post Office in town with a zip code of 80535.
French fur traders first moved into the area, building homes as early as 1828. The region was a gateway to the mountains, north of the South Platte River. It was the first white community in Larimer County.
The Cache La Poudre River apparently got its name from these mountain men who stashed supplies such as gunpowder in the cache of the river. In 1844 Antoine Janis moved into town. He was known as the first permanent white settler north of the Arkansas River.
In the winter of 1848, Kit Carson and his trappers further developed the area along the river. A company town was formed in 1860 called Colona. In 1861 Colona was declared the county seat. In 1862 Colona changed its name to Laporte, which means “the door” in French. More than one hundred Arapaho groups existed peacefully by the river. Many fur trappers had Native American wives.
The growing community was on the Overland Trail Stage Route at the base of the mountains. This toll road helped fuel the town’s growth, which soon became a bustling supply center with stagecoaches and wagon trains passing through daily.
There were several saloons, a brewery, a hotel, a butcher shop, blacksmiths, and a general store. It was the most significant town north of Denver, housing a Stage Station and the County Court House, as well as a mix of residents, including military personnel, Indians, and trappers.
Mount McConnel National Recreation Trail – Located in the Cache la Poudre Wilderness, this 4 mile loop trail is one of the most popular trails west of Fort Collins. Due to its low elevation peak at 7,980 feet, it can be summited year-round, although it’s most popular between April and October.
Lions Open Space – This gorgeous open space is located right along the banks of the Poudre with ample space for enjoying nature. Hop on the Poudre Trail for a walk, bring a picnic, or cast a fishing line at this versatile spot.
- Fort Collins/Lakeside KOA Holiday is great for full-amenity camping. With a campground that can accommodate RVs up to 75 feet long, year-round bathhouses, 24-hour laundry, and a fitness center, you’ll have everything you need all in one place.
- Horsetooth Reservoir South Bay campground is on the southern shore of the reservoir, located about 20 minutes south of Laporte. There are 110 standard electric sites, 17 full hook-up sites, and 2 walk-in ones. There are also 15 boat-in sites scattered throughout the coves in the northern parts of the lake.
- Read about the camping near Fort Collins and Loveland.
- Horsetooth Reservoir is very close to town and offers fishing that’s more enjoyable from a boat than the shore. It’s a cold body of water, so you’ll find fish such as walleye, perch, splake, and bluegill.
- Cache la Poudre can be fished year-round but is best done during late spring and early summer. There is a healthy population of brown and rainbow trout.
- North Shields Ponds Natural Area has a small designated fishing pond that is primarily catch-and-release, but fishermen report they never have much luck. It’s a nice place to relax though.
- The Greyrock Mountain Trail is a very popular and heavily trafficked trail in town. It’s a 7.2 mile loop and covers over 2,000 feet of elevation gain, so be prepared with adequate water and snacks. You’ll be rewarded with beautiful views from the summit.
- Lory State Park is absolutely stunning and right to the southwest of Laporte in Fort Collins. The most popular hiking trail is Arthur’s Rock trail, a 3.4 mile out-and-back moderate trek with sweeping views of Horsetooth Reservoir.
- North Shields Ponds Natural Area has several unpaved paths that wind through the beautiful natural sanctuary. Excellent bird watching and scattered benches make this a peaceful spot for a hike.
- Watson Lake has a 2.5 mile paved trail that loops around the lake, perfect for an after-work walk to get some fresh air.
Fort Collins/Lakeside KOA Holiday – In addition to their RV sites, this KOA also has a variety of cabin options for travelers to bunk up. Choose from either a deluxe cabin that includes a full bathroom and shower or a more basic camping cabin with no private bathroom. All guests have full access to the property’s amenities.
Glick’s Elkhorn Motel – This quaint, locally owned motel is reasonably priced and located in the western part of town. There are two stories of rooms with outdoor access and guests say there are impressive views of the front range mountains from the motel.
Ten Bears Winery – A little off the beaten path in the northern part of town, this winery is definitely worth checking out. With gorgeous sunsets, a friendly winemaker, and over 20 creatively blended wines, you really can’t go wrong at Ten Bears.
Me Oh My Pie – Cozy spot for a cup of coffee and a slice of pie. You’ll also find a variety of light fares like breakfast sandwiches and pastries to enjoy.
Laporte Pizza – The place to go in town for a fresh slice of pizza, Laporte Pizza serves up authentic Italian-style pizzas, subs, calzones, and strombolis. Visitors also rave about their garlic bread, so don’t forget to grab that along with your entree.
Activities near Laporte
- Bellvue (2mi)
- Berthoud (25mi)
- Boulder (50mi)
- Estes Park (mi)
- Fort Collins (5mi)
- Greeley (35mi)
- Longmont (34mi)
- Loveland (19mi)
- Lyons (39mi)