One of the jewels of NOCO’s natural-areas system turns 10 years old this weekend. Soapstone Prairie, a 19,000-acre preserve in the Laramie Foothills, will celebrate its decennial on Saturday, July 13, with interactive stations where you can learn about the area’s archaeological treasures and wildlife — including a thriving bison herd, prairie dogs, black-footed ferrets and plethora of birds. There are 44 miles of hiking trails at Soapstone, which one CSU naturalist describes as “Fort Collins’ best-kept secret.

Owned by the City of Fort Collins, the parcel lies about an hour northwest of Fort Collins via Buckeye Road, County Road 15, and Rawhide Flats Road. The journey includes 13 miles of unpaved surfaces. Bring lots of water.