Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge
Historically recognized as a Superfund clean-up site, today the Arsenal has been resurrected as a first-class wildlife refuge. Among Denver-area birders, it is known as a good place to look for raptors, and one of the best spots near the city for Ferruginous Hawk. The small lake near the former Visitor’s Center can have various ducks in season, and has pulled in a few rarities such as scoters. Lake Ladora has a parking lot on its west side and often contains lots of water birds and easy walking around the lake in either direction. The open prairie houses Burrowing Owls and can even have breeding Lark Buntings. In winter, there are often double-digit Bald Eagles in the area. In 2015, the refuge re-introduced the endangered black-footed ferret back to the property and an outdoor ferret exhibit can be viewed just outside the Visitor Center’s back patio. Visitors can also see a small herd of American bison, which were re-introduced to the Arsenal in 2007.
Public access is limited to certain parts of the refuge; guided trips deeper into the property leave periodically. Be sure to stop by the Visitor’s Center to inquire about guided trips as well as check out their interactive exhibits.
Directions: From I-70: take exit 278/Quebec St. and go north. Travel approximately 2.8 miles to Prairie Pkwy./64th Ave. Go east at Prairie Pkwy. and travel 0.6 miles to Gateway Rd. Go north at Gateway Rd. and continue on through the Refuge entrance.
Dates of Access: Open all year
Hours: Daylight hours
Ownership: US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
Restrictions: Obey all USFWS rules and regulations for the refuge
Lodging: Hotels in Denver and nearby suburbs
Other Wildlife: Bison
Handicapped Access: ADA accessible facilities, boardwalk, and birding from the car.
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