Barr Lake RV Park: Colorado’s Must-Visit Destination and Recreation Activities

Barr Lake RV Park: Colorado’s Must-Visit Destination and Recreation Activities

Colorado might be the perfect place for you if you are a nature lover looking for the best destination to add to your bucket list. It is a paradise for naturalists. Its abundant wildlife, calm and peaceful environment draws a lot of tourists. 

It has a prairie riparian ecosystem that forms the lake’s barrier and the dry grasslands, making it a wonderful place to feel nature.

One of Colorado’s largest prairie lakes that is open to public recreation is  BL, State Park. It is situated just northeast of downtown Denver. The facilities and activities inside the area promote the restoration of biodiversity and natural landscape features.

Many recreation options include biking, archery, fishing, hunting, and horseback riding, but the most popular park activities are wildlife watching and hiking. 

Pro tip: Don’t forget to bring your cameras, binoculars and locator guide.

Basic Information

Here are a few essential details to know before heading to the location.

Operational Hours

  • Check-in time: 5:00 AM
  • Check-out time: 10:00 PM

Reservation

Contact +1 303-659-6005

Customer Service Availability Time Frame

  • Wednesday to Saturday: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Sunday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Busiest Season

Year-Round

Address

13401 Picadilly Rd. Brighton, CO 80603

Location Information

  • Latitude: 39.94446 
  • Longitude:  -104.73740
  • Elevation: 5100

Google Map

Direction

Direction

From Denver, take I-76 northeast, exit at Bromley Lane, and go east to Piccadilly Road. Exit 34 (120th Avenue) and go east to Tower lane for .5 miles. On Tower Lane, turn left and drive ahead for 3.0 miles to Picadilly Road. Then, south to the site entrance.

Take note: Tower lane will bend and become 128th.

History and Interesting Facts

One hundred fifty years ago, the land was home to Buffalo, Elk, and Pronghorn, which drew Native Americans, including the  Cheyenne, Arapaho Indians, and Ute, to often hunt in the area. The land was then later used for cattle raising.

It opened to the public in 1977 and handles recreation programs by perpetual servitude with FRICO and the Henrylyn Irrigation District. The name Barr came from one of the structural engineers who worked on the railway in 1883. It was the most significant impact on the area, connecting Denver to Chicago and passing right by the place – which suddenly caused various settlers to populate.

In the 1880s, the place was a popular trip area for Denver sportspeople who claimed it the “finest fishing area in the west.” Later, contamination nearly destroyed the lake. 

Fortunately, regulations and restrictions set in 1960 discouraged any pollutants from flowing into the lake.

In 1886, the Burlington Canal building began, diverting water from the South Platte River into the sea to form the Oasis Dam. Building the Oasis Dam was finished in 1908.

Several other Denver entrepreneurs founded the Barr City Land Company to purchase land in the freshly established Barr City west of the Oasis Dam. Citizens of Denver journeyed by train to Barr City to rest, fish, and hunt to the Oasis Dam and Barr city.

Today, anglers, boaters, hunters, and nature lovers enjoy the facilities within the destination.

Natural Assets

For just about any type of outdoor enthusiast, The site offers everything. With a leisure area of almost 3,000 acres, there is plenty of space for your next outdoor adventure. A wildlife sanctuary sits in the southern half of the whole area. 

It is a uniquely wonderful place to spend time with the natural scenery and fresh air. Visitors come from all over to capture the wonders of the location.

There are nature centers you can visit and viewing stations you can enjoy. Bald eagles spend the winter in the site, and about 350 different birds in the parking area are noted by bird watchers and recognized as the favored location for bird watching. The northern region of the site features boating and fishing on the lake if you like water-based fun.

The lake is not only an excellent bird-watching area, but it is also an essential source of water for the local farmers and wildlife. Melted snow descends from the Rocky Mountains into the South Platte River, which washes into the Burlington Drainage.

The boardwalk of the site promises a serene, scenic area for strolling around the wildlife areas. It is an exciting ideal walk with plenty of places to rest and watch fauna for those with children. Many trails wander for more serious hikers, varying in difficulty and length, from a small loop trail to a nine-mile route available to horseback – riders, hikers, and bicyclists.

The place also offers archery. With 12 shooting fields and heavy-duty targets are extending from 10 to 100 yards. Only field or aim tips are permitted, but broadheads are allowed in specific lanes before hunting season, or you may carry your targets. A 3D target course is also available in the area.

Amenities

Amenities
(Credits to: Outdoorsy Photography)

Besides the usual amenities, you can find them from recreational destinations. The amenities include sewer hookups, recreational vehicle water hookups, Wifi, Horseback-riding perimeter trail, archery range, wildlife viewing stations, gift shop, and nature center. Plus, the area is big rig friendly, and they allow pets.  

Listed below are some more of the location’s amenities.

Cabins and Cottages

Cabins and Cottages
(Credits to: BL State Park Photography)

There is far more to accommodation than just a typical hotel. There is plenty of out-of-the-ordinary lodging, from staying the night in a small house to glamping in a yurt or tepees. 

They have the best lodging facilities. You will find secluded cabins, rustic cabins for adventure and simplicity, or a modern cabin. There are also accommodation options available with your favorite features, including high-speed Internet access, fireplaces, hot tubs, and activities for a relaxing trip with all the comforts of your home.

Nature Center

Nature Center
(Credits to: BL State Park Photography)

The center is open from 9:00 AM until 4:00 PM. It has displays about the area’s wildlife and habitat. You can be assisted and have your questions answered by their staff. Volunteers provide conceptual activities and guided tours that allow visitors to learn about the land’s facets, from all its plants, wildlife, and history that make it such a remarkable area.

 Its employees run banding points in the area and deliver public programs. You can reach them by contacting the office at (303) 659-4348 or visit the http://www.rmbo.org website.

The center welcomes volunteers too. They can always use extra assistance during, before, and after special events. It takes hours of planning for any occasion. It is profoundly vital to manage RV grounds and to guide tourists and also with cleaning-up.  

Volunteering programs started by the State Parks and Division of Wildlife (DOW) began in 1982, during the Nature Center construction.

Being a volunteer also has its perks: 

A Friends membership pin, Invitation to Friends of BL only events, An online newsletter and A 20% off at their bookstore.

Wildlife Viewing Station

Wildlife Viewing Station
(Credits to: Colorado Virtual Library)

The gazebo of the site offers views of the bird sanctuary and separate nests of raptors.  Tourists are encouraged to use spotting scopes and binoculars to view the wildlife’s beauty better. There are many wildlife viewing stations at specifically good viewing areas.  Some shelters give the visitors protection from the cold.

Playground

Playground
(Credits to: HAR Photography)

The Adams County Open Space playground was opened to the public in 2010, situated nearby the Boat Ramps. Perfect for kids to play around while picnicking in the area.

Activities

Multiple fun activities await you in the state area that is perfect for everyone to enjoy – families, groups, and even people on a solo trip.  

Here are the recreational activities you better prepare for and enjoy.

Biking

Biking
(Credits to: BL Photography)

Several trails start at the Nature Center: 

  1. Lake Perimeter – Lake Perimeter – The area’s longest trail. With an 8.9-mile multi-use loop around the lake and Wildlife Refuge. It is perfect for families, runners, and winter recreation because of its level, graded track. 
  2. Fox Meadow Trail spur – A short stroll leads to a blind and spotting area for wildlife viewing.
  3. Gazebo Boardwalk Trail spurs – boardwalk Trail spurs – It leads out across a spotting field to the lake’s mudflats shore with an outstanding view of a rookery (breeding ground).
  4. BL Dam –  Here, the trees and wetlands contribute to a more suburban environment, and from 4.75 miles – 5.15 miles, the trail parallels a rough railroad track. 5.9 miles (5,122 ‘) and have the choice to walk along a berm or on the main road beside it.
  5. Pioneer Trail spur – The dam surrounds the lake’s northeast side, extending from point to point for 1.35 miles. When beyond (7.25 miles: 5,124 ‘), it curls south and follows the coast back to the Nature Center to complete the trail loop past the boat ramp (7.8 miles) and (8.25 miles) (8.9 miles).

As the trails are not paved and thorns are abundant, bicyclists are highly encouraged to use bicycles with thorn-proof rubber.

Bird Watching

Bird Watching
(Credits to: The Denver Channel Photography )

The 2,000-acre dam becomes a winter refuge for thousands of migrating bald eagles from December to February. Since 1986, the lake has been the habitat of at least a pair of breeding eagles yearly.

Fishing

Fishing
( Credits to: Fishidy Photography)

Fishing in the area is allowed, but only in designated areas where a visitor should have a valid fishing license. It’s great for mornings and evenings. Occasionally, ice-fishing in winter. 

Among the Colorado Wildlife Division’s species stock are channel catfish, muskie, smallmouth and largemouth bass, walleye, tiger, bluegill, wiper, and rainbow trout. 

Hiking

Hiking
(Credits to: Trail Run Project Photography)

The lake’s circumference is composed of an 8.8-mile path for hikers, bicyclists, and horseback riders. The separate boardwalks that stretch across the lake have shorter walks. A quick 1.3-mile stroll from the Nature Center takes you to the gazebo, where you can get an excellent view of the breeding grounds with a spotting scope. The path (Crest Trail) over the top of the dam is open to hikers.

Horseback - Riding

Horseback - Riding
(Credits to: Istock )

Horseback – riding is allowed along the lake’s shared 8.8-mile path. But horses are not permitted on boardwalks or the Dam Crest Track.

Hunting

Hunting
(Credits to: Colorado Outdoors Photography)

Hunting and trapping are not allowed, except for waterfowl hunting, and there are reservations needed. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, waterfowl hunting is permitted within permissible hunting seasons and is limited to blinds north of the dam.

Picnicking

Picnicking
(Credits to: National Park Service Photography)

There are three separate picnic locations; one group by the boat dock, one group by the nature center, and one group between the picnic area, Meadowlark Picnic Pavilion, next to the Nature Center. You can contact them at (303) 659-6005 for more information. You can schedule an area open on a first-come, first-served basis or by contacting them.

Winter Recreation

Winter Recreation
(Credits to: Friends of BL Photography)

It is an excellent time to visit during the winter. It is perfect for ice fishing, waterfowl hunting, wildlife viewing, and weekend interpretive programs. Visitors are encouraged to stay on the trails in the wildlife refuge all year round. Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are allowed on the trails.

Archery range

Archery range
(Credits to: Colorado Outdoors Photography)

By launching a 3-D target range, Barr extended and leveled – up to its archery game. The 3-D course offers ten shooting stations situated around a  grassy path composed of high-quality animal Rhinehart targets.

Here, lifelike deer, bear, wild hogs, and turkey roam, offering scenarios and angles of shooting comparable to what hunters would see on a real archery range.

Boating

Boating
(Credits to: OutThere Colorado Photography)

The location promises 1,950 acres of peaceful, clear water. Only hand-powered vessels, sailboats, and boats with electric trolling engines or gasoline engines of 10 horsepower are allowed on the lake. Boating is permitted only on the northern part of the lake. A line of buoys separates the wildlife refuge from the boating area. A boat ramp is situated next to the north stop. It is not allowed to swim and dive.

Annual Raptor Run

Annual Raptor Run
(Credits to: Friends of BL Photography)

They annually hold a 5-kilometer race to help raise funds for upcoming RV Park support programs. Come out to stroll along the trail with the raptors in the nature reserve.

Dogs are not permitted to come along as the race passes through the preserve. The registration fee is $40. The cost would increase to $45 on the day of the race. Children below 15 years old and seniors 60 and over get a $5 discount on each payment.

Raptor Run: Begin at the Nature Center Bridge and move south, passing to the nature refuge. Stroll past the gazebo boardwalk and circle around past the 1.5 milepost, where a water station is in place. It’s a pretty flat trail, but it’s a natural trail, so better watch out for obstacles like bushes, tree branches, or antlers on the track RV grounds.

There are prizes awarded for the fastest three 5K run times in each division. Categories include men, women, and children aged under 15 years old.

Barr Lake RV Park Policies

The destination’s natural assets for the visitor’s enjoyment are conserved. Respect the wildlife environment and always remain on designated trails only. These are the strictly implemented rules to safeguard you and the place’s natural resources.

  1. Dogs are permitted to join you in some parts of Barr Lake campground, but they must be kept under guidance and on a leash not longer than six feet. And dogs in the Wildlife Refuge situated in the southern half of the lake are not welcome, but they can accompany you on various other scenic trails surrounding the lake.
  2. Park and drive only in designated areas.
  3. Swimming and diving are not permitted.
  4. Build fires on provided girls only.
  5. Wandering around the RV Parks’ irrigation structures is strictly prohibited due to safety hazards. 
  6. Trapping and hunting are prohibited, except for waterfowl hunting. 
  7. It is forbidden to gather any live or dead plants, timber, or to catch any animals.

Alongside these regulations, Do you know about the Leave No Trace 7 Principles? If you love spending time with nature, you may want to be sure that both you and your nature-loving friends and family take care of the natural sites you visit. The SP encourages everyone to practice the seven principles. 

Leave No Trace Concepts will help you learn how to ensure that your cherished natural sites remain natural for many generations to follow and have the same beautiful experiences for you, your children, grandchildren, and anyone who explores these destinations.

Wildlife Restrictions

Aside from the regulations mentioned above, these special rules also apply within the Barr Lake Campground/RV Park and wildlife refuge: Visitors must stay on designated trails, fires, boating, and pets are not allowed.

National Park Admission

Anyone entering a Colorado park is required to present an up-to-date Colorado SP Pass.

 Park Passes:

  • The validity of the day pass is from the day of purchase until noon on the next day.
  • The annual pass is valid at every Colorado SP. For the yearly passport holders who own more than one car,  a discounted price is offered for multiple passes. Passes are accessible at the Nature Center, and regular passes are also available at the station.
  • Colorado residents aged 64 or above are eligible for the annual Aspen Leaf Card, available at a reduced rate. Disabled veteran residents showing Colorado Disabled Veterans (DV) cards are permitted free of charge without a pass.
  • A valid fishing license is required. 

Travel Preparation

Nothing is worse than overpacking. Less is more if you are going to a national RV Park. We have listed some of the travel essentials we recommend bringing for a fun, comfortable, and hassle-free trip.

Barr Lake RV Park Trip Essentials

Recreational Vehicle Signal Booster – This can reliably help you use your devices no matter where you are. Also very handy and a big stress reliever, especially if you will ever need to send a work-related file while on the road or for communication.  

Recreational Vehicle Converter Charger – Chargers are indeed necessary when traveling, mostly if you rely on your mobile phones for GPS or listening to music or podcasts while on the road. 

Recreational Vehicle Mattress –  It’s never a wrong decision to bring a mattress or an extra one for your trip. To have a comfortable and relaxing sleep while on a trip is rejuvenating and prepares you for the next day’s activities. 

Recreational Vehicle Portable Grill – Grilling is an exciting part of a recreational vehicle adventure. Packing a portable grill with you is perfect if there are no available grills for use at your destination. 

Recreational Vehicle Door Locks – Putting reliable locks on your recreational vehicle doors is an important measure to keep your belongings secure. Knowing that you’ve put on reliable locks will also save you from worry and aggravation during your travels.

Recreational Vehicle Dehumidifier – Having a dehumidifier inside your recreational vehicle will help you escape the stress and hassle of humid weather. 

Recreational Vehicle Leveling Blocks – Including leveling blocks on your traveling essentials checklist is handy, especially that not all grounds or camping sites are solid ground or level. Leveling blocks will help stabilize your recreational vehicle effectively rather than improvising on the spot. 

Recreational Vehicle Air Conditioner –  To keep you comfortable and relaxed during your trips. A few other portable air conditioners can now function as a dehumidifier, a perfect choice for campers going on an adventure in humid areas.

Recreational Vehicle Toilet Paper – Specific toilet papers for recreational vehicles dissolve easier than regular ones to avoid clogging.

Other National Park Trip Essentials

Here are a few more items to help you avoid missing out on something on your packing checklist.

Camping and Hiking Essentials

Rain Jacket or Sweaters – For unexpected weather changes.

Hiking Gears -Especially if you go on a hike, having the right gears will help you enjoy more physical activities. 

Recreational Vehicle Headlamp – To help you safely navigate around the place or for restrooms during the night times. 

Day Hike Pack – Small pouches for bringing sanitizers, towels, and snacks with you during a hike for convenience.

Camp Chairs – It’s good to have it with you for hanging around the park’s camping sites or bonfires during your spare time.

Tent – If you plan on camping outside your camper. The nights might also become chilly, and the morning might get so hot, it’s perfect for getting some rest and shade.

Tent Repair Kit – If you need one, especially if you love staying inside tents in RV Parks.

Personal Care and Hygiene Essentials

Medical Kit -It is essential to have a first aid kit when traveling, to ensure that you prepare for emergencies. 

Sunscreen – To protect your skin from afternoon activities under the sun. 

Insect Repellent Spray – To avoid mosquitoes or other insect bites. 

Face and Bath Towels – To keep you dry from cleaning up after engaging in activities and showers. 

Blankets – To keep you comfortable in your sleep and warm during chilly nights. 

Hand Sanitizer – To keep your hands clean and free of germs.

Shower Products –  Includes your daily hygiene items such as toothbrush, shampoo, moisturizer, mouth wash, soap, etc.

Slippers  – To keep you comfortable and rest your feet after a day of adventure.

Kitchen Essentials

Instant Pot – For a hassle-free and more convenient way of heating your food

Plates and Bowls – To place your food and comfortable enjoy your meals

Containers with Cover – For storing leftover foods

Spoon and Fork – You may bring a disposable spoon and fork 

Drinking Containers – It is essential to stay hydrated during your travel, especially if you participate in physical activities

Lighter or Matches – For bonfires

Utensils – For preparing your food

Can Opener For your canned food goodies

Dish Soap and Sponge  – For cleaning your food containers and utensils

Napkins and Clean Rags – For cleaning up spills 

Plastic Bags – For your wet clothes or other miscellaneous stuff

Garbage Bags – For your trash

Nearby Hotels

Denver, Colorado, is full of exclusive hotels and holiday rentals, unique destinations that will linger forever in your memories. While there is no Barr Lake campground, and they do not accommodate overnight camping, there are nearby camping sites around the area. There are many lodging and accommodation establishments close.

We have listed below some of the high-rating hotels and inns according to traveler’s reviews. 

Nearby Restaurants

We have also listed these top-rated restaurants and food options around the area you can try. Coloradoans enjoy good food. That’s why it is easy to locate the best dining options across the state, such as food trucks, restaurants, street food, bars, and farmers’ markets. The dining picture in Denver is lively, and it goes over the entire state.

There are times that some visitors want a bit of history while dining. The great thing, there are several other Historic and Iconic Restaurants in Colorado.

These restaurants are some of the oldest in the state, located within some of the oldest structures.

Prices and Fees

Below are some of the specific prices for specific activities inside the state site.

Type of Site / Activity

Rate

Admission / Passes

  • Vehicle Pass
  • Day Pass
  • Annual Pass
  • Aspen Leaf Annual Pass
  • It Starts at 9 USD
  • It Starts at 4 USD
  • It Starts at 80 USD (affixed) or 120 USD (hang tag)
  • It Starts at 70 USD (for ages 64+)

Facilities

  • Group Events / Picnic Area Rental
  • Meadowlark Picnic Pavillion

It Starts at 90  USD

160 USD per day

Booking and Payment Policies

Reservations are on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations more than 14 days in advance from the day of hunting or afternoon before the hunting date will not be accepted.

Take Note: Hunters are limited to only one reservation per hunting date.

Book by phone: 1-800-244-5613

For policy information and payment concerns, contact: CPW Call Center at 1-800-678-2267 /  303-297-1192 or mail dnr_barrlake.naturecenter@state.co.us.

Conclusion

A Recreational Vehicle trip in this State Park will surely be one of your best adventure experiences. It offers the best calming and peaceful getaway you could ever have in an RV Park. It will give you unforgettable memories to cherish with all the numerous exciting activities, breathtaking wildlife environment, extensive amenities, and several accommodations and lodging options that will keep you comfortable throughout your stay. 

Their recreation activities take forms that are in harmony with nature. It is truly a place to go to, and not just a place to go through. 

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