Barr Lake State Park Wildlife Tours and Reviews

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Barr Lake State Park is a famed premier bird-watching area. A strategic trail circles the lake, providing a 360 view of the whole Barr Lake State Park and its wild animals.

This structure also offers many fishing spots and motor limits for boats.

Barr Lake State Park (BLSP) offers various things to help your weekend getaway be more fun, relaxed, and exciting down to Denver’s northeast.

Some of the activities you can enjoy are horse mounting, trawling, hiking, and boating. The most popular attraction in this area is wild animals watching. 

The abundance of birds and even trouts and other animals form a fantastic wild animal show for everyone. There are 350 breeds of birds spotted in the area, including the Bald Eagle.

Background Overview of the State Park

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Barr Lake State Park is in Brighton. It is a Colorado state established in 1977 in the northern part of the USA. This area is a 715-acre or 10.99 km2 grassland with 12 mi of trails, including an 8.8-mi track that circles this recreation area.

Brighton’s management only allowed boating and trawling in the northern part of the river because the other half is a refuge area for the wild animals. Equip with a nature center and many wild animals back viewing stations.

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Many bald eagles spend the winter in this field, and a pair of this breed nests here every year. The place is popular with birdwatchers. This area is an excellent bird-watching field as it houses over 350 feathered creatures. 

You can visit another place if you want to learn more about birds-the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies; you can find it on the northwest side of the lake. If you wonder where the namesake Barr came from, the name derived from a confident man named Mr. Barr, a railroad official.

This area is co-managed for recreation and irrigation. The lake is being operated and is owned by the Farmers Reservoir and Irrigation Company (FRICO). 

The other canal, the Denver-Hudson, which runs along the eastern edge of the BLSP, is owned by another management named Henrylyn Irrigation District. 

Now, each company owns the land under the canal and lake; the back irrigation and the water control the structures around them.  

Presently, the water from the BLSP is kept and utilized for downstream irrigation purposes, while recreational is a secondary purpose. The water in the channel bypasses the lake and supplies Henrylyn watering pools downstream.


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Basic Details of the Barr Lake

The information below is the things that might help you plan easily on your trip to BLSP.

Spot LocationThis field is a 10.99 km2 grassland with 12 mi
of trails, including an 8.8-mi track that circles
this area—giving you a 360 view of the whole
BLSP area2 715 acres wide
Distance from the Capitals7.4 mi from Brighton
Number of Lodging GroundsUnfortunately, only day use is allowed, but RV Parks near or at this site address: 17180 E
136th Ave, Brighton
, Colorado, with many
tenting sites like Creek State Parks, Canyon State Park, etc., if you want to come with your RV.
Vehicle per lodging siteNone, but there are in Canyon SP, Creek, and others.
Limit of People per lodging siteNone indicated
May – October are the best months to view wildlife.
PetsIt is allowed if on the leash.
Managed byBLSP is co-managed for recreation and
irrigation and operated and owned by the
Irrigation Company and Farmers Reservoir
and Irrigation Company (FRICO) in Brighton.

Travel Preparation

Here is some helpful information to guide you with your excursion planning preparation. 

Fees and Reservations at BLSP
Booking SuggestedSince this place is open for business
year-round, you have more freedom to
choose your preferred date.
Advanced ReservationIf your aim is wild animals watching, you want
to book in advance before May – October.
Charges$7/daily, $70/annual (vehicle)
Discount offered for senior citizen
Method of PaymentPersonal Checks, Travelers Checks, Visa,
Cash, Discover, MasterCard
Check-in, check-out5 am-10 pm unless fishing
Trip TypesSelf-guided Tours, Customized Tours, Guided

Rules and Regulations

These protocols are protection for the park and the people who visit it.

To maximize your experience, follow these protocols.

  1. Pets like dogs are allowed by the management only if you put them on a leash to keep them under control. The leash must not be longer than 6 feet. The rule prohibits dogs or alike in the wildlife refuge area.
  2. Parks and drives are areas designated only for paid visitors.
  3. The field is open for business every day from 5 am to 10 pm.
  4. Wading and swimming are permitted.
  5. You can only build fires on the designated grills.
  6. You can not near the other irrigation structures or the dam face to avoid accidents.
  7. You can not do shooting and trapping. See exception here.
  8. You can not collect dead or living woods, plants, or animals.
  9. It’s okay to take photos.
  10. There are separate protocols for the wildlife refuge, and these are as follows: 
  • You can’t trawl, boat, or make fire nor bring your paw friend. 
  • Visitors can only stay at the designated track.

Park Passes 

All guests entering a Colorado State Park must present the latest CO State Parks Pass, distributed by wheels, on their auto windshield. A daily ticket is valid from the day purchased until midday the next day. A yearly pass is valid at any CSP. 

For yearly pass holders who have more than one wheel, various passes are prepared for an even discounted fee. Tickets are ready at the entrance gate and Nature Center. Daily permits are also prepared at the self-service depot. 

CO residents 64 years of age and above qualify for a particular Aspen Leaf yearly pass, available at an even reduced rate. CO disabled ex-soldiers presenting Colorado Disabled Veteran (DV) brass plates are accessible without a ticket.


You can enjoy some facilities while staying in this recreational area for group trips and individual trips.

  • Food/Beverage Service
  • Gift Shop
  • Grills
  • Handicapped Parking
  • Maps & Brochures Available
  • Multilingual Materials Available
  • Naturalist on site 
  • Parking on-site 
  • Pets like dogs on Leash Allowed
  • Picnic Area
  • Playground
  • Restrooms
  • Visitor Center on-site

Group amenities include:

  • Accommodates Trip Groups
  • Advance Reservations Required
  • Bus/Motorcoach Parking on-site

Things To Enjoy

The following are the fun and cool activities you can enjoy in your stay at Barr Lake SP.

Waterfowl Hunting

Waterfowl shooting is only permissible during the legal, regular waterfowl seasons and only on Wednesdays and Saturdays. This activity is only acceptable in the dam’s north location, and you need to register before. 

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One specifically created blind is even available for physically challenged hunters. Reach the park office for current shooting limitations and information. Call 1-800-846-WILD for reservations in Brighton. No other shooting or trapping is authorized in the river. 

Credits to MDC Peninsula Sportsman

Credits to MDC Peninsula Sportsman


Small and large-mouth bass, rainbow trout, channel catfish, walleye, bluegill, and wiper are amongst the breeds stocked at Barr Lake by the Colorado Parks and Fauna Brighton. Review the latest Colorado Fishing Regulations for particular limitations. A valid Colorado trawling permit is required.

Credits to Public Axis

Credits to Public Axis

Park Trail

As we have mentioned, the grassland trail runs as long as 8.8 mi, which follows the lake’s perimeter. You can surely take a short stroll while observing all the happenings not far from the lake. And if you want to get further ahead, some footpaths are provided on some parts of the lake. 

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A leisurely 1.3-mile walk from the Nature Center takes visitors to the Gazebo Boardwalk, where there are excellent views of the bald eagle den and colony. The Niedrach Nature Trail, which starts near the Nature Center, is a short ring track heading from the main path through an open field, along the lakeshore, and beyond a small footpath over the pond.

Credits to Friends of Barr lake

The short Prairie Welcome Trail rounds the east from the Nature Center into the grassland for over one mile, and that includes two sections and four trailheads, each featuring “Prairie Welcome Trail Self-Guide Experience” patterns in the path guide box. 

Meanwhile, there is a new Rookery view area in the southwest end of the pond. Unfortunately, this is only seasonal (close in some seasons) and ends at a pavilion providing beautiful views of the rookery and different raptor nests.

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ETB Travel Photography

Here, you will need binoculars or spotting scopes to see all those magnificent displays of wild animals at a far distance. Various wild animal observation areas are present in the parks, strategically located where viewing is excellent. 

These are small shades where you can stay for a while for comfortable wild animal viewing. These are mini shelters that will also protect you from the weather. 

The way across the dam’s head or the Crest Path is available to bicycles and hikers but not horses. Horse mounters can utilize the lower tracks below the dam.

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Take a note that Crest Path is closed entirely on waterfowl shooting season (Wednesdays and Saturdays from October through February. No guests can go near the dam’s face or any irrigation structure. 

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Horse mountain and bicycling are permitted on the main path but not on the footpaths. If you want to ride a bike around the area, you need thorn-proof tires, for the road is rocky and filled with sharp objects. 


Only hand-propelled craft, hand-propelled craft, sailboats, and boats with gasoline motors or electric trolling engines ten horsepower or less are permissible on Barr Lake. Vessels are permitted only on the northern half of the lake. 

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The wild animals’ sanctuary is divided from the boating area by a row of buoys. There is a boat ramp placed near the northern parking lot. Swimming, diving, and wading are prohibited.


There are three picnic areas with grills and tables and a new reservable group picnic area, Meadowlark Picnic Pavilion, adjacent to the Nature Center. Call (303) 659-6005 for more information.

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In addition to the lake tracks, there are many short hikes to mount out to various footpaths. A 1.3-mile walk from the Nature Center directs you to the Gazebo Boardwalk. Dam Crest Trail goes across the top of the dam.

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Winter Recreation 

Snowshoeing and cross country skiing when there is sufficient snowfall. Great chance to ice fish near Denver if the weather condition permits.

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Natural Assets

If you are a hardcore nature enthusiast, BLSP will provide you with a remarkable experience observing all kinds of wild animals, including deers, coyotes, and some birds like pelicans and cormorants, ducks, egrets, blue herons, hawks, owls, grebes, and eagles. 

There are over 350 species that have been seen flying and residing at the park. The Nature Center is near the southern parking lot. The Nature Center’s construction and the various footpaths were from the National Colorado Division of Wildlife, the US National Fish and Wildlife Service, and Adams County Open Space funds.

Credits to FeatheredPhotopgraphy

Credits to FeatheredPhotopgraphy

Guests to the center can have guest guides who will interpret the park’s natural assets, and there are programs to entertain the visitors and guided walks. Visitors can learn a lot about the whole aspect of wild animals. 

There are more to see in the neighboring campsites like the Creek SP and Canyon SP.

Best Season To Camp

This park is open all year-round, and if you want a specific activity like waterfowl hunting, May through October is the best season to do that. 

Contacts (Barr Lake SP.)

Address: 13401 Picadilly Road • Brighton, Colorado 80603 

(303) 659-6005 

Fax (303) 659-5489 


RV Essentials

It is always better prepared than sorry, and so, the following are gears we suggest you get when you go on an RV trip to lodge or when visiting the area. 

  • RV Door Lock – Since there is no lodging in the BLSP proper, you need to line up your RV on a tenting site near the lake, and that’s when you need to be sure that you have an excellent door lock for safety measures. 
  • RV GPS – When going somewhere, you do not want to get lost on the many highways you’ll encounter. A GPS will surely come in handy, especially when you are not good at directions.  

To ensure you’ll get to your destination safe and early, you will need an accurate and reliable GPS.

  • RV Blinds – You will also need excellent RV blinds to keep your RV from prying its eyes. This blind will protect your RV from the outside people from peeking right inside of it and save your RV from the sun rays and help regulate your RV’s inside temperature. 

There are so many great reviews in this field. We hope we have presented you with all the necessary information you need to know about Barr Lake State Park with this article. If you have other information about this area, please contact us and leave us some great reviews. Enjoy your visit, and do not forget to take photos!

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