88th Avenue Open Space
Aliases: 88th and the South Platte, South Platte Greenway Gravel Pits (south section), Dahlia Ponds
This area covers the gravel pits along the South Platte corridor between about 80th and 104th Avenues, including the area sometimes referred to by birders as ’88th and the South Platte’ or ‘the Dahlia ponds.’ This stretch is among the best spots for wintering waterfowl in the metro area. All the regular wintering dabblers and divers can usually be found with a careful search, and a couple of Barrow’s Goldeneyes are usually present – though finding them can sometimes require a long, cold walk! Long-tailed Ducks also occur here during some winters. Check for sparrow flocks in the riverside willows; with luck you might find a Harris’s Sparrow among the more common American Tree and White-crowned Sparrows.
Note: As of January 2018, this area is part of a major restoration and enhancement project. What is already good habitat for birds and other wildlife will only be improved, so visit in the future to explore the new enhancements!
Habitat: Riparian and ponds and lakes.
Directions: From I-76: take exit 12/US 85 and go north towards Brighton. From US 85, go west at CO 44/104th Ave. to McKay Rd. At McKay and 100th Ave., there is a parking lot, restrooms, access to trails, and fishing on the south side of 100th Ave. (sign for Sprat Platte Gravel Fishing Facility). Continue south on McKay Rd. to go past the northern gravel pit ponds. McKay Rd. will turn into Monaco St.; continue south to 88th Ave. Go west on 88th Ave. to Colorado Blvd. and head south on Colorado Blvd. to the parking lot, located on the east side with access to restrooms and trails (sign for West Gravel lakes Fishing Facility).
Dates of Access: Open all year; some ponds are closed November 1 to March 15
Hours: Daylight hours
Restrictions: Respect adjacent private property
Parking: Paved parking areas
Lodging: Hotels in Brighton
Handicapped Access: ADA accessible fishing pier and some trails.
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