Rocky Mt. Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge
The Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge is one of the largest urban refuges in the country, an almost 16,000-acre refuge located near Commercial City Colorado, just 8 miles northeast from downtown Denver.
Established in 1992 by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, this park provides some of the best hiking trails, wildlife viewing opportunities, and chances to see wild Colorado in the area, and that's not just our opinion, that's the opinion of the over 300,000 visitors to this park annually.
We suggest starting your refuge visit with a stop at the Visitor Center (open only Wednesday-Sunday), an information-packed museum-like establishment with interactive exhibits, a kid's Discovery Room, and plenty of educational tidbits about the refuge, the wildlife within, and the other two refuges within the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Complex. You will learn about the over 330 species that call this refuge home before heading out to see them yourself, some of the residents including bald eagles, bison, black-footed ferrets, coyotes, and prairie dogs. These grounds are particularly popular for migratory bird nesting and feeding, as well. Viewings of these local critters are best at dawn and dusk here, so plan accordingly. There are extra opportunities to see and learn about all these animals through the year-round free nature programs, as well.
Once you've learned about the refuge head out with your group and enjoy the over 10 miles of hiking trails, the terrain ranging from grassland to woodland and wetland. Native short grass prairies, lakes, marshes, ponds, and woods lined with cottonwoods, willows, and locust trees await, as does the floating boardwalk at Lake Mary, a highly popular spot to visit.
*Note - There is also onsite skiing and snowshoeing opportunities in the winter months!
Check out a map of the refuge for further planning!