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Barr Lake State Park Offers Wetland Wildlife Oasis

November 8, 2018

Waterfowl and wildlife abound while the mountains of the Front Range form a snow-capped sliver along the distant horizon from Barr Lake State Park.

If you go

To the trailhead: From Broomfield, access I-76 east to Bromley Lane in Brighton. Follow Bromley Lane east to Picadilly, heading south, passing pastures of cows and sheep, to the entrance of Barr Lake State Park on your right.

Distance: The entire parameter of the lake is an 8.8-mile loop; you could opt to go just 2.6-miles to the Gazebo Boardwalk and back.

Difficulty: Moderate to exhausting

Dogs: No

Horses: Yes, but restricted to certain areas

Elevation gain: Negligible

Fees: $7 per day or / $70 annual

Information: The park is open daily from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. 303-659-6005.

 

For whatever reason you decide to make a trip east, Barr Lake State Park offers much.

Cattail marshes, willows, trees and bushes sheltering deer, flocks of geese, pelicans, great blue herons and other critters characterize the remote Barr Lake region.

In the 2,715-acre park, visitors can opt to boat, fish, hike, Nordic ski, bicycle, horseback ride, bird watch or participate in a number of educational classes offered at the park’s nature center.

If you choose to hike, begin at the nature center near the parking lot, crossing over the Denver-Hudson Canal on the wood bridge, joining the Niedrach Nature Trail to your left. Expect a number of charming boardwalks along the trail shadowed by large cottonwood trees. Because the area, with its 1,900-acre prairie reservoir, is a designated wildlife refuge, be sure to stay on a dedicated footpath.

Following the trail, you’ll eventually come upon the Gazebo Boardwalk that extends about a quarter-mile over the water. You can turn around here to head back to the nature center, completing a 2.6-mile or so loop, or continue west and north, circling around south back to the parking area, extending your hike to nearly nine miles.

The lake, averaging about 34-feet deep, shimmers blue and untouchable. No swimming is allowed in the water.

Bring along binoculars when visiting Barr Lake State Park and with luck you may spot a raptor or two, including bald eagles.

If you are an American Bald Eagle fan, by joining the Bald Eagle Watch, you may participate in studies of the bird, record nesting habits, and more. The program is sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory and Barr Lake State Park. Call 303-637-9220 for more information.

Bette Erickson is the author of numerous hiking guides. Contact her at bette_erickson@hotmail.com .

 

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