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65 miles N. of Denver, 34 miles S. of Cheyenne, Wyoming

A bustling college town, Fort Collins was founded in 1864 as a military post on the Cache la Poudre (pronounced Poo-der) River, named for a powder cache left by French fur traders. The fort, named for Lieut. Col. William O. Collins, was abandoned in 1867, but the settlement prospered, first as a center for quarrying and farming, then for sugar-beet processing after 1910.

Today Fort Collins is among the fastest-growing cities in the United States, with an average annual growth rate of about 3%. Population leaped from 43,000 in 1970 to 65,000 in 1980 to roughly 140,000 today, not including the many Colorado State University students. CSU was established in 1870; today it is nationally known for its veterinary medicine and forestry schools, as well as its research advances in space engineering and bone cancer.

Fort Collins, just below 5,000 feet in elevation, makes a good base for fishing, boating, rafting, or exploring Rocky Mountain National Park. It also has several historic sites and offers a treat for beer lovers, with tours of breweries ranging from micro to the huge facilities operated by Anheuser-Busch.