Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge: A Getaway for the Urban-Challenged

Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge has around ten miles of hiking trails to provide a fresh-air escape. Two of the trails, Lake Mary (.6 miles long) and Lake Ledora (1.8 miles long), feature sections of floating boardwalks which add interest to your walk; both trails offer up-close views of cattails and willows as they weave and sway in the wind.

The holidays brought us to the Denver area, where we visited family and took time each day to escape going to the wilder parts of the city. One amazing place is the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, a nearly 16,000 acre oasis in the midst of suburbia, where you can mine the quiet places in your mind and be still.

View from floating boardwalk on Lake Mary, where abnormally warm December temps have kept the ice thin. Chunks of ice atop the glassy surface are attributable to recreational ice breaking (a fun activity for kids and those who are kids-at-heart).

Geriatric black-footed ferrets (previously used in a captive-breeding program) are on display near the refuge’s visitor center. Wild versions of these members of the weasel-family love feasting on black-tailed prairie dogs and reside in the tunnels and homes of their prey.

Bison behind glass.

An eleven-mile loop around the refuge allows you to get up close and personal (from the safety of your car) to a small herd of bison that call the refuge home. These powerful animals can run up to 35 miles an hour.