Who is the Wathen Trail in Fort Collins Named After?
It's obvious to know how some of the popular hiking and biking trails in Larimer County got their names. For example, Loveland's Keyhole Loop Trail is apparent as soon as this point is reached on the path.
Horsetooth Falls Loop and the Poudre Trail are two others whose names come from evident landmarks on the route - the flowing waterfalls and the Cache la Poudre River.
But sometimes it's a bit more of a mystery as to why trails were given certain names.
Wathen Trail is a busy and difficult 1.3-mile mountain biking trail inside of Horsetooth Mountain Open Space in Fort Collins. But who or what the heck is a "Wathen?"
Stephen “Bud” Wathen owned about 600 acres of land near Stout, CO. He and his family raised cattle on the Spring Canon Ranch during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Historians document that Bud was also the postmaster of the Stout Post Office until it closed in 1908. As an adult, his daughter, Nora, became a beloved schoolteacher in Stout.
The Wathens eventually sold the ranch and moved to Fort Collins around 1920. Bud passed away several years later, on October 24, 1929. He's buried alongside his wife in the Grandview Cemetery in Old Town Fort Collins.
Much of Wathen's former property was purchased by Larimer County. In 1982, the land was turned into Horsetooth Mountain Open Space. The park has now expanded to 2,711 acres.
Upon being constructed, the Wathen Trail was then named after this renowned Fort Collins family. So next time you're riding along the dusty trail, think about Bud Wathen atop his horse, herding his cattle in the exact spot many years ago.