Loveland has more than two dozen city parks, a mountain park, three golf courses, and hiking trails, some of which are discussed below. Information on the city-run recreation sites is available from Loveland Parks and Recreation Department, 500 E. Third St. (tel. 970/962-2727; www.ci.loveland.co.us/parksrec/prmain.htm).
Boyd Lake State Park (tel. 970/669-1739; www.parks.state.co.us) is located a mile east of downtown Loveland via Madison Avenue and C.R. 24E. One of the largest lakes in the northern Front Range, with 1,700 surface acres when full, Boyd Lake is geared to watersports, including water-skiing (on the south end of the lake only), sailing, and windsurfing. There are sandy beaches for swimming, 148 campsites ($9-$18), including some with electric hookups, plus showers, a dump station, picnic areas, a children's playground, a paved walking/biking trail that connects to the city's path system, two paved boat ramps, and excellent fishing (especially for walleyes). Visitors often see foxes, beavers, coyotes, great horned owls, hawks, eagles, and other wildlife. The daily park entrance fee is $6 to $7. A commercially run marina (tel. 970/663-2662) is open in summer, with boat slips and moorings, a full-service gas dock, boat rentals, bait, groceries, and other supplies.
Bicycling & Jogging -- A combination biking/jogging/walking path that nearly encircles the city joins with a 3-mile path at Boyd Lake State Park. For a map showing completed sections, stop at the Loveland Chamber of Commerce .
Golf -- Golfers can enjoy two 18-hole municipal golf courses: Olde Course at Loveland, 2115 W. 29th St., which charges $30 for 18 holes; and Marianna Butte, 701 Clubhouse Dr., with greens fees of $40 for 18 holes. The 9-hole Cattail Creek Golf Course, 2116 W. 29th St. (across the street from Olde Course), charges $8 to $10 for 9 holes. For tee times and other information for all three courses, contact the city (tel. 970/962-2496 or 970/669-5800 for automated reservations; www.ci.loveland.co.us/golf/golfmain.htm).
Hiking -- The city-run Viestenz-Smith Mountain Park, in Big Thompson Canyon 12 miles west of Loveland along U.S. 34, is one of your best bets for hiking, with two trails. The Summit Adventure Trail, a moderately difficult 4.8-mile (one-way) hike, climbs 2,700 feet to offer scenic views of the mountains to the west and plains to the east. Those not interested in that much exercise will enjoy the easy 1-mile (one-way) Foothills Nature Trail. The park also has picnic tables, a playground, and a fishing stream, and is open year-round.
Swimming -- The city-run Loveland Swim Beach, at 29th Street and Taft Avenue, has a free swimming beach, fishing, tennis and racquetball courts, a playground, and a miniature narrow-gauge train. There's also swimming at Boyd Lake State Park .