Loveland has four natural areas along the Big Thompson River as it flows through the town. One of which is the Old St. Louis Natural Area.

I think what put this 37-acre natural area on my radar is when word went out that they'd closed off the Madison Avenue entry to it. I hadn't really heard of it until then. So, when word went out recently how they'd opened that entry again, I went to check it out.

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The entry off of Madison, south of SE 4th Street near Marisol Assisted Living, winds down to the official trail; this seems easier than parking off of Lincoln at the 'official' trailhead.

They named it 'Old St. Louis' after the location of the first settlement of Loveland, which was known as 'St.Louis.' The area stretches westward toward St. Louis Avenue.

The natural area does not have a paved route loop, but there is a natural trail that does loop back to the paved trail. It's a great area for walking the dog (on leash,) doing some fishing, and just taking a great walk.

Off the main trail is a man-made shore off of the Big Thompson where you can dip your toes in the water, or let your dog have a swim, as I saw one couple do with their dog.

Old St. Louis Natural Area Shore
TSM/Dave Jensen

I can easily walk to this shore from my apartment Downtown; get some exercise, and relax by the river. There are a couple of odd things along the nature trail, though.

Oddities at Old St. Louis Natural Area in Loveland

I commend Loveland's department of Open Lands and Natural Areas on adding interesting pieces.

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