The Town of Berthoud is a statutory town in Larimer and Weld counties in the U.S. state of Colorado. The town population was 5,105 at the 2010 United States Census and an estimated 7,946 in 2018. Berthoud is situated north of the Little Thompson River, 21 miles (34 km) south of Fort Collins and 43 miles (69 km) north of Denver along the Front Range Urban Corridor.
White settlers first came to the present-day Berthoud area in the early 1860s, following the Colorado Gold Rush. Many settlers filed homestead claims, but most bellied up and left the valley to hardier souls who ranched and farmed the arid prairie that straddled the river bottom.
In 1872, a miner-turned-rancher from Central City, Colorado, Lewis Cross, staked the first homestead claim where the Colorado Central Railroad planned to cross Little Thompson creek. When the tracks were laid through the valley in 1877 a depot, section house, and water tank were installed at this strategic site. The tiny settlement known as Little Thompson was renamed Berthoud in honor of Edward L. Berthoud, who had surveyed the rail route through the valley.
Over the next few years the settlement grew to include a handful of homes, a blacksmith shop, a mercantile store, a small grain elevator, and a log cabin that served as school and church for the community.
In the early 1880s, the Colorado Central Railroad recognized that Berthoud's location on the river bottom caused their steam-powered locomotives to labor excessively to ascend the grade out of the valley.