Summer is the perfect time to take a day trip out of the city. While there are many places to explore along the Front Range, why not avoid the crowds and visit the small community of Timnath? What was once a bustling train stop between Greeley and Fort Collins, the town of Timnath is now a modern suburb of Fort Collins waiting to be explored. Discover below why Timnath makes the perfect day trip from Denver.
Where: 4801 E. Harmony Rd., Fort Collins
Cost: Free admission, but donations are encouraged
The Lowdown: The first and easiest stop to make when visiting Timnath is the Swetsville Zoo. Not your typical zoo, the main attractions are whimsical animal sculptures made from scrap metal, car parts and discarded farm machinery. Owner, Bill Swets, lives on the property with his wife and has built up quite the collection over the years. What started as a hobby has now turned into a popular roadside attraction showcasing over 160 sculptures and displays.
Visitors are invited to walk amongst the creations along a winding wooded path with giant dinosaurs, reptiles, old tricycles and a little minion with a pitchfork. Plus, the historic farm still houses the original homestead cabin built in the 1860s. It is free to enter, but donations are highly encouraged to keep the zoo going. Visitors are also invited to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy along the Cache de Poudre River that runs by the property.
Visit the Historic Main Street
Where: Main St., Timnath
The Lowdown: While Timnath is a suburb bursting at the seams of new builds and modern businesses, it does have a designated downtown historic main street. Established in 1882, the town of Timnath was once a stop along the Greeley, Salt Lake and Pacific Railroad between Greeley and Fort Collins. Today, the street is a quaint strip of local businesses nestled alongside historic locations such as the 1858 Presbyterian Church, the town’s first bank, the original grocery store and the Colorado Feed and Grain Landmark.
Built in 1920, the Feed and Grain Store was once called the Moody-Warren Grain Elevator. It was originally built to serve the Great Western Railway, local farmers and agriculture. Over the years, the building has taken on different owners and businesses. In the present day, it continues its heritage as a food-centric gathering place with the Public Market, Timnath Beerwerks and the Sunday Market.
Where: 4138 Main St., Timnath
The Lowdown: Located in the eastern portion of the historic Colorado Grain & Feed building, Timnath Beerwerks first opened its doors in 2018. Since then, it has made a name for itself with unique craft brews in an equally unique setting. Owners Craig Miller and Pete Meyer have not only put a lot of work into creating one-of-a-kind beers, but they have put a lot of work into restoring the space while still maintaining the original character.
Inside visitors will find several beers on a rotating tap that include IPAs, tart and fruity beers, plus ambers and porters. Enjoy your drink inside or outside on their expansive patio and beer garden. While they don’t serve a full menu, you will often find a food truck. Check their website for a full schedule.
Where: 4138 Main St. Timnath
The Lowdown: The Public Market and coffeehouse features Railside Café & Soda Fountain, the soon-to-be bakery The Pig and Plow, and event space at the Fairview Parlor. Find everything from coffees and teas to breakfast burritos and brownies. It is open Thursday through Sunday, from 8 a.m.to 2 p.m.
Where: Colorado Feed and Grain, 4650 Signal Tree Dr. Timnath
The Lowdown: Held every second Sunday, May through October, the Timnath Sunday Farmers Market features Colorado-proud foods, gifts and produce. There are more than 16 rotating vendors, community activities and food trucks. Plus, every month, there is a family-friendly event including, a Cajun Boil and a Pet Block Party. Free admission and runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Backyard Bird Chicken & Donuts
Where: 4650 Signal Tree Dr. Timnath
The Lowdown: If you missed the food truck at Timnath Beerwerks, take the short two-minute drive to the town’s only non-chain restaurant – Backyard Bird Chicken & Donuts. The husband-and-wife team opened the doors in 2020 after a successful multi-year run as a popular food truck. Aside from the friendly staff, they dish out delicious chicken that is never frozen, natural, cage-free and antibiotic/steroid/hormone-free.
Choose from a variety of fried chicken assortments, sandwiches and family meals, with the option to add a side. And for those who have a sweet tooth, visit them on Friday, Saturday or Sunday to try one of their 100% made-from-scratch, hand-crafted donuts. They offer both indoor and outdoor seating and serve beer and wine.
Where: The River Bluffs Open Space
The Lowdown: Located just a few minutes from Timnath proper, there are a few outdoor recreation options, including several reservoirs and walking trails. One notable destination is the River Bluffs Open Space, which is a major hub of the Poudre River Trail. The trail system connects 21 miles from Bellvue, north of Fort Collins, to Island Grove Park in Greeley. Bring your bike and enjoy a nice ride along the Poudre River, and walkers will love the wide paved path, allowing room for all.
Directions from Denver: take I-25 north for about an hour. Take exit 265 for Harmony Road.