|Barr Lake Entrance Station|
Our visit today brought us to the Visitor/Nature Center first, to watch the birds fluttering just outside the window and to see the nature displays inside. From there, we walked outside across the canal on the bridge and turned left onto the gravel path/road which encircles the lake.
|Another flock of Canadian Geese|
|The Welcome/Nature Center near the parking and picnic areas|
Tourism came next to the area with the construction of the railroad and Barr Lake Rod and Gun Club. In 1886 a group of wealthy Denverites established the Oasis Hunting Club, available by rail to the recently established Barr Depot at Barr City (first called Platte Summit). Water was diverted in 1891 from the South Platte River to create the Oasis Reservoir. Then in 1908, in an effort to meet an increase in water demand for the plains farmers, both Oasis Reservoir and the neighboring Burlington Reservoir were combined to create Barr Lake. During WWI the US Army stationed soldiers at the lake to prevent enemy saboteurs from poisoning the water. Following the Barr City railroad depot closure in 1931, the town ceased to exist.
|Note the water lines on the tree trunks|
|One of the many old Cottonwood Tree remains by the trail|
|And the elves live here...|
The wind was cool and the sun was setting, so we hiked back to our car from here, checking out the picnic area by the Visitor Center with the wind-walls built onto the picnic tables like we had seen at Badlands National Park. A couple of bicyclists passed us along the path, making good time even in the wind.
|My kind of western picnic table with a wall to keep your plate from blowing onto your chest...|
|Sign at the Gazebo Boardwalk|
|View from the Gazebo Boardwalk|
|View from the Gazebo Pavilion|
|And the view of Barr Lake looking north from the Gazebo Pavilion|
|The long boardwalk to the Gazebo across the lake|
|Barr Lake Map|
Fishing is also very good here, just bring your rods and Colorado fishing license. Waterfowl hunting is also allowed during season, contact the park office for more information at 1-800-846-WILD. Archery, ice fishing and snow shoeing are also popular depending on the season.
Boating is allowed here on the northern half of the lake. Bring your sailboat, kayak, canoe, or electric/trolling/10 hp or less gasoline powered boat. A line of buoys separates the wildlife refuge and hunting area. Swimming, wading and diving are prohibited. Horseback riding is allowed.
|A beaver or otter swimming in the canal|
|The sweet songbird who stayed still but not quiet|
|Log and lake view|
|2 Ducks in setting sun|
|The tree near the center has a dark blob near the top that is the eagles nest,|
Front Range mountains behind in clouds
Picnics are encouraged, with 3 different picnic areas with tables and grills plus the Meadowlark Picnic Pavilion for groups. You can get more information at 303-659-6005.
|One of many groups of birds attracted to the lake's waters|
|The setting sun and Barr Lake|
|The gravel path/road and the canal beside local farms and homes|
|By the Niedrach Trail and shoreline|
Part of the park that is appealing to me is the available nature to study and the Nature Center. Bird watching was discussed by many visitors and rangers. Some rangers are naturalists and can explain the park's wildlife. The park is also the headquarters for the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory and they offer public programs and banding stations in the park. Their phone is 303-659-4348 and on the web at www.rmbo.org. The Bird Conservancy of the Rockies is HERE.
|I see a tree looking back at me...|
|The Denver-Hudson Canal beside the gravel path/road looking south|
|More geese above Barr Lake|
|Last view back|
Visiting any State Park in Colorado is pleasant on a spring day, even during windy ones like today. To get to Barr Lake from I-25, take I-76 North East from Denver. Follow the signs and exit at Brighton onto Bromley Lane/152nd Avenue and go east to Picadilly Lane where you then go south to the park entrance sign on the right. A daily pass, or Colorado State Park Annual Pass is required. Sorry, no camping is available here.