Visitor Activities

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The Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge is one of the largest urban refuges in the country and is home to more than 330 species of migratory and resident wildlife. Visitor activities include wildlife observation, photography, environmental education, nature programs, fishing and more!


  • Visitor Center

    Bison mount and entrance to the Refuge exhibit hall

    Begin your visit at the Visitor Center, located just inside the Refuge entrance, which is open Wednesdays through Sundays 9 am - 4 pm (closed on Federal holidays). An interactive exhibit hall takes visitors on a journey through the site’s history and showcases the abundance of wildlife at the site. A colorful Discovery Room full of wildlife activities, seasonal crafts, and hands-on displays give young naturalists a whole new perspective on nature. 


    At the Visitor Center information desk friendly staff and volunteers can answer your questions, help you choose a hiking trail, and get you better acquainted with the Refuge and visitor opportunities. Nature’s Nest Books & Gifts operated by Friends of the Front Range Wildlife Refuges is also located inside the Visitor Center.   

  • Wildlife Drive

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    Explore the Refuge on your own by taking the self-guided 11-mile Wildlife Drive that navigates through the bison pasture, grasslands, wetlands and woodlands. The Wildlife Drive is open 7 days a week from sunrise to sunset (closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day). It’s a great way to access additional hiking trails, go birding and photograph the Refuge. 


    To begin the Drive, follow the signs after entering the Refuge. A car symbol and arrow will guide you along the way. Please be sure to pick up a Wildlife Drive/Trail Map at the Visitor Center parking lot kiosk or inside the Visitor Center. We also have a podcast that corresponds with the mile markers and tells you more about the Refuge. Be sure to read the rules and regulations before beginning your drive. Along the route there are parking areas with trail access. Please note, the route is not plowed in the winter. For winter road conditions on the Refuge please call the Visitor Center at 303-289-0930.

  • Hiking

    Family with young children hiking a Refuge trail

    The Refuge has more than 10 miles of easy to moderate hiking available year-round to view and photograph wildlife. The network of trails are mostly soft gravel surface, however, some are mowed/dirt, and meander along lake edges, through prairie shrubland and woodland settings. In the wintertime, snowshoes are permitted on the trails. 


    Please be sure to pick up a Wildlife Drive/Trail Map at the Visitor Center parking lot kiosk or inside the Visitor Center before hiking the trails. A perimeter trail around the Refuge connects to neighboring communities allowing visitors on foot or on bicycles to take a peek into the Refuge. Pets are allowed on the perimeter trail, but only assistance dogs are allowed on the Refuge.

  • Wildlife Viewing

    Mule deer buck during rut season

    The Refuge’s trail system and Wildlife Drive offer excellent self-guided opportunities to view wildlife in their natural setting. Wildlife viewing is at its best in the early morning or late afternoon when wildlife is the most active. Be sure to bring your binoculars or camera.

  • Catch-and-Release Fishing

    Lake Mary fishing J Jacobs 150x118

    Get hooked on fishing daily the first Saturday in April through November 30. Anglers 16 and older pay a $3.00 daily fishing fee or purchase a Refuge fishing season pass for $60. Fishing is at Lakes Mary and Ladora. Anglers must have a valid Colorado Fishing License, use barbless hooks, and no live bait. For details visit the fishing page.

  • Photography

    Two visitors photographing the Refuge in winter

    One of the most popular activities on national wildlife refuges is wildlife photography. At Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge it is one of the best ways to connect with nature. With more than 10 miles of hiking trails, an 11-mile Wildlife Drive, nature programs, and viewing areas the Refuge is a photographer’s paradise. Whether it's photographing deer during the rut, bison calves in the spring, waterfowl during migration, or the backdrop of the majestic Rocky Mountains against a big blue sky, it’s easy to capture the Refuge’s beauty through your lens.

    Please note, we are not holding the annual Refuge Amateur Photo Contest this year. 

  • Birding

    Three visitors holding binoculars to their eyes while birding

    Whether you are a beginner or an expert birder, the Refuge offers something for everyone! Did you know more than 280 species of birds have been recorded at the Refuge? Look for your fine-feathered favorites along the trails, from the viewing blinds, or take the Wildlife Drive. Check out e-Bird for recent bird sightings.

  • Environmental Education

    Refuge staff leading an environmental education program with young students

    Schools, scouts, summer camps and youth groups can discover and learn about wildlife through numerous interactive and age-specific environmental education opportunities at the Refuge. It’s the ultimate open space for outdoor education due to its convenient location, diverse wildlife, kid-friendly trails, specialized programming and best of all there’s no cost! For more information, see the “For Educators” tab on this website or click here.