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Denver, CO: Barr Lake

Bring your binoculars and circle Barr Lake on this easy 9.3-mile loop in prime birding territory. You may spot one of the Front Range’s only pair of nesting bald eagles.

Rating

Only 30 minutes northeast of Denver, Barr Lake is a great wildlife viewing destination close to the metro area. The perimeter trail covers most of the park’s trail system and passes observation stations offering expansive views of the lake, the Rocky Mountains, and opportunities to see some of the 360 bird species that frequent the park.
This route begins at the nature center and heads southeast for a clockwise approach to the 8.8-mile perimeter loop. The start of the trail is littered with boardwalks and paths that add up to an additional mile to your route and provide some of the hike’s largest views. You’ll stick close to the shoreline most of the time (the trail is sandwiched between the shoreline and train tracks at one point) before a 1.5-mile stretch across the top of the dam and the final 1.6 miles back to the nature center.
Although the 1,900-acre lake can have a cooling effect, the exposed trail can be extremely hot on summer afternoons. Bring sunscreen and mosquito repellent and hit the trail early or late to avoid the heat. Also, a large stretch of the trail is closed Wednesdays and Saturdays from October through February for waterfowl hunting.
-Mapped by Justin Lesniak

To Trailhead

Take I-76 E to exit 22 and turn right. In 0.9 mile, turn right onto Picadilly Rd. Continue for 1.9 miles and turn right into Barr Lake State Park. Drive 1.3 miles, bearing left, toward the nature center and trailhead.

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