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Barr Lake Trail

Distance9.64 mi
Elevation Gain135 ft
My Time3 hr 20 min
Closest TownBrighton
Food NearbyPrairie Center

Barr Lake Trail

Barr Lake Trail is the long trail in Barr Lake State Park that takes you completely around the perimeter of the lake. There are tons of wildlife, including Bald Eagles, but watch out for hunters.

The Loop

The loop around the lake is about nine and half miles of easy flat hike. From the first step you will notice the large amount of wildlife, especially birds, that call this lake home. The trail begins by marching between the lake and the train tracks. Just past the train tracks is the highway so there is a bit of noise throughout the hike.

Two and a half miles down the trail you will make a turn to the south-east and finally get away from the tracks and road and get to bit of a quieter area. As you turn you will pass by some private homes and a more wooded area.

Another mile and you will turn back towards the north and hug the eastern side of the lake. This was my favorite part of the hike. You are further away from the road noise and I felt that more of the animals were on this side. The views from this side are also a little nicer with the mountains as the backdrop.

The view across the half frozen Barr lake with the mountains in the background.

Outside of the lake, there isn’t much as far as features to separate the hike. It is a longer hike that gets monotonous at times. Some of that was do to the half frozen nature of hiking in December.


The best part of this hike for me was the abundance of wildlife available to view. Several species of birds are all around the area. Many ducks and geese, as well as a bunch of different birds are constantly flying and singing. The main attraction however are the bald eagles.

Barr Lake features at least 4 bald eagles that I saw. The largest cluster was on the frozen lake and only viewable from a binocular device. This fellow was sitting in a tree just a few feet off the trail. It was my first time seeing a bald eagle and they really are majestic.

Along with the birds there are plenty of squirrels. I even saw one of the tubbiest racoon’s I have ever seen. There were also a couple of families of deer on the southern curve of the park. All of the wildlife really kept this hike interesting.


With the large amounts of water fowl in the area there were also a large amount of hunters. Every flock of bird that took flight seemed to be met with a salvo of shotgun fire. Waterfowl hunting is allowed on Saturdays and Wednesdays during the season. Dove hunting is allowed on Fridays and Sundays during that season.

During active hunting times the trail on top of the dam is closed and hikers must walk on the lower trail near the blinds. This is for the hikers protection. During my walk a couple of shots were fired while I was in the area at flying birds but I didn’t feel unsafe. Not to be said that it didn’t scare me half to death.

Make sure you check all the signs about where is safe to walk if you are going to hike this trail.

Elevation and Distance

If you don’t have the AllTrails app you might want to check it out, I really love mine. It records your progress and is a great way to search for hikes that are nearby and gives you difficulty measurements. According to AllTrails today’s hike was around 9.64 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 135 feet including undulations. That put the high point at around 5,105 feet. I was also moving for a total of 3 hours and 20 minutes.

I am a Pro member of AllTrails and love it. If you are interested in the platform, please consider using my affiliate link for AllTrails. It gives me a small commission with no extra cost to you.


A pretty simple and straight forward hike but it is long if you do the entire loop. Not much for elevation gain to worry about so all about endurance. Here is my step count from my Fitbit.

The step count from my Fitbit was 22,701 steps for  todays hike at Barr Lake.


The trail doubles as a service road and is wide and mostly flat. It is very easy to navigate as well. On the December day that I took the hike the trail was covered with snow. The snow was hard packed and didn’t require any traction devices.


Barr Lake is part of the state park system and there is a $9 daily fee or an $80 yearly pass. The park is located in Brighton, Colorado very close to I-76. There are a few parking area’s that have restrooms with pit toilets.

Wrap Up

Barr Lake Trail wasn’t my favorite trail but the bald eagles really made up for it. The trail itself is long and flat and not too challenging other than the length. My concerns were the proximity of the train tracks and highway for much of the hike. Between the noise from the cars and the shooting by the hunters the hike wasn’t the most relaxing.

That being said there is a lot of wildlife available to view. Seeing my first bald eagle was a very cool experience and made the trip worth it. I also think that the lower elevation and flat trail could make this a good hike for beginners who are looking to experience nature close to town. It is also a good place to get a workout on a nine mile loop.

I have added this hike and all of my hikes to my interactive map page you can find here. If you have a suggestion or comment feel free to email me at You can also follow me on any of the below social media platforms. Happy Hiking!

1 thought on “Barr Lake Trail”

  1. Pingback: Fatman's 2020 Favorites: Wildlife - Fat Man Little Trail

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