Barr Lake State Park

Colorado – Barr Lake State ParkBarr Lake State Park is located just off Interstate 76, near the town of Brighton, Colorado, which is about a thirty minute drive from the Denver Metro area. It became part of the Colorado State Parks System in 1976.

It is best thought of as a high plains prairie lake. As such, it should be kept in mind that sun and wind conditions can be intense at time, so wear proper clothing, and use sunscreen.

It was formed in the late 1800’s, primarily for impounding water for irrigation purposes. Recreational aspects of the lake, while secondary, are abundant.

Park Activities

Barr Lake State Park’s main attraction is bird watching. Over three hundred species have been observed, everything from common wrens and diverse water fowl species, including bald eagles have been observed, providing Barr Lake State Park with a national and world-wide reputation among avian enthusiasts. The park website has a slick, down loadable list of all the bird species that have ever been observed since the late 1800s at the park. This list includes information about common and rare species, and also migratory and year-round species. White-tailed and mule deer are spotted with regularity, along with squirrels, rabbits, and the occasional fox or coyote.

The lake has 1,950 acres of water surface. About one half of this is available to boating use, with a 10 horse power limit on motorized water craft. There is one boat ramp for trailer-ed boats. Canoes and sailboats make use of the usually calm water.

The southern half of the lake is dedicated as wildlife refuge, and is off limits to boating and fishing.

Swimming and wading are not permitted anywhere on the lake.

The lake is stocked for fishing, by the Colorado Division of Wildlife. Species include catfish, bass, trout, walleye, bluegill, wiper and tiger muskie. Fishing can be accomplished via boat or from shore. Ice conditions permitting, ice fishing is available in the winter months. Fishing conditions are updated on a regular basis on the web site.

There is no camping at the park.

Summertime provides hikers with a nine mile, mostly flat trail that runs around the perimeter of the lake. This trail is available for snowshoeing and cross country skiing. Bicycles and horses also use the trail. Older and physically challenged people can access the trail aboard the Eagle Express, a motorized, thirteen passenger cart that takes riders on naturalist-guided tours between mid-May and the end of September.

Waterfowl hunting at Barr Lake State Park is permitted during regular Colorado hunting seasons on a limited basis, limited to Wednesdays and Saturdays, requires reservations for permanent blinds located on the north side of the dam. Hunters can call 800-846-9453 to make a reservation, and up-to-date information can be located on the Hunting page of the web site:

Barr Lake State Park has picnic facilities at three different site, that are available of a first-come, first-served basis, or can be reserved by calling the park office. There is also the recent addition of the Meadowlark Picnic Pavilion that can host groups of up to one hundred people, and includes tables,water and electricity, restrooms, horseshoe pits and a volleyball court. This pavilion can be rented for ninety dollars per day.

A variety of educational programs are available year-round. Science teachers often use the park for field trips because of its close proximity to the Denver Metro area. Programs and hours vary. Check the calendar to get the latest updates, or call 303-659-6005.

Park Fees

Park passes cost $7 per day, per vehicle. Annual passes for unlimited use are $70 per year. Hunting and fishing licenses are issued by the State of Colorado, and are required to hunt and fish at Barr Lake State Park.

Park Hours

The park is open from 5am. to 10pm. Seven days a week. The lone exception is that people who are actively fishing can remain past 10pm.


Dogs are welcome in the park, and must be leashed.

Contact Information

Mailing address: Barr Lake State Park 13401 Picadilly Road, Brighton, CO 80603.
Telephone: 303-655-1495 or 303-659-6005.
Email: or
Office Hours: Nature Center-Wednesday thru Saturday 9am. To 4pm. Sunday-11am. to 4pm. Closed Monday and Tuesday.
Web site: