Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge

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The Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge 10 miles from Denver and completely free. A great place in Colorado to take the kids to see bison and other wildlife.

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As a lover of travel and the outdoors, I am always up for new adventures – be a new vacation place, a new trail, a new sport or new food. Variety is the spice of life, right?

The weather has been amazing this winter in Colorado allowing us venture outside even in the middle of January.

So this weekend, we headed to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge to see what it had to offer. We’ve been living in Colorado now for 5 years and I had no idea this place even existed – it’s only 10 miles from Denver and completely free!

Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge

This free activity near Denver is one of the best hidden secrets of Colorado.

At the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge, there is a visitor center with a wonderful explanation of the area’s history and wildlife. There are even children’s programs available (check their website for schedule information).

At the visitor center you can grab a map, a drink, a snack and even a souvenir. Don’t forget to ask the helpful volunteers about where the bison herd has been spotted that day.

Once you have that information, head out to your car and take the 11 mile drive around the refuge.

It’s important to know that the drive is a one way drive, which means you won’t be able to stop or turn around. Make sure you have everything you need and that the kids have gone to the restroom at the visitor’s center.

It’s mandatory that you don’t get out of your car during the drive, so potty breaks will not be possible. Most of the trails and bathrooms are located towards the end of the drive.

What to See and Do

As most places in Colorado, this National Wildlife Refuge did not disappoint. We saw so many animals in a short 11 miles drive: bison, elk, deer, prairie dogs, eagles, hawks and other birds.

We also stopped at the Rattlesnake Hill Trail and Overlook to get an amazing look of the Rocky Mountains and Denver at a distance.

Before we headed home, we checked out Lake Mary and hiked around it.

There are several trails in the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge and they are really easy and flat – perfect for beginners or families with small children. Most would accommodate a stroller as well.

There are also several spots to picnic and benches to take a moment and appreciate the view.

We had a great time exploring the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge and can’t wait to see what else we can discover around Denver.


If you enjoyed this post on Dinosaur Ridge, you might also like to check out these other things to do in Colorado:

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