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Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge

At Crowne Plaza Denver Airport Convention Ctr, we love to get outside, hike, and take in the stunning Colorado scenery. One of our favorite spots for an afternoon of wide open spaces is Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, which is a refuge in the truest sense of the word. The park acts a haven for outdoor enthusiasts from nearby Denver and as a sanctuary for over 330 native Colorado species, including prairie dogs, white pelicans, and bison.

The Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge is located just 11 miles from downtown Denver and features 15,000 acres that include defined ecosystems, hiking trails, lakes, a Wildlife Drive, and roaming bison on the prairie. It’s a destination like no other, overlooking the modern Denver skyline and picturesque Rocky Mountains.

During your upcoming visit to Denver, pack your hiking boots, set aside some time for the great outdoors, and experience the natural splendor of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge! Take a look at our comfortable Denver accommodations and start planning your next trip to the Mile High City!

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Accommodations for the Modern Outdoorsperson

Rocky Mountain Arsenal Accommodations

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The Crowne Plaza Denver Airport Convention Ctr offers a variety of full-service amenities for outdoor enthusiasts and urban explorers alike. Just 11 miles from DIA, our hotel is located steps from great running trails, bicycle rentals, farmers markets, and tons of beautiful Denver greenspace. If you need help planning your day at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, just ask our friendly and helpful staff! We can answer your questions, and before you know it, you’ll be watching a herd of bison roam the prairie grass!

When you stay at the Crowne Plaza Denver Airport Convention Center, you'll enjoy:

  • Comfortable, Modern Accommodations near Commerce City
  • Indoor Pool & Fully-Equipped Fitness Center
  • Complimentary Airport Shuttle
  • Rocky Mountain-Inspired Cuisine at the On-site Terrace Restaurant
Reserve Your Room

Reserve Your Room

Quick Facts About the Park

Hours & Admission

The Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge is located in Commerce City and is open daily from sunrise to sunset and is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

Cost of Admission: Free!

Visitor Center

The Visitor Center is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and closed on federal holidays.

Phone: 303-289-0930

Wildlife Refuge Map

If you’d like to plan your visit to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal in advance, download the official Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge map. Paper maps are also available at the Visitor Center, right inside the park's main entrance.

Quick Facts About the Park

Hours & Admission

The Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge is open daily from sunrise to sunset and is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

Cost of Admission: Free!

Visitor Center

The Visitor Center is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and closed on federal holidays.

Phone: 303-289-0930

Wildlife Refuge Map

If you’d like to plan your visit to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal in advance, download the official Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge map. Paper maps are also available at the Visitor Center, right inside the park's main entrance.


Rocky Mountain Arsenal History

rocky mountain arsenal during world war ii

Seeing the prairie teeming with bison today, it’s hard to believe the acreage used to house a weapons testing facility during World War II and the Cold War. “The Arsenal” was built in Commerce City in 1942 after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and continued to operate in a military capacity until the 1980s. In 1992, after a major environmental cleanup, the Arsenal was given national wildlife refuge status thanks to the nesting of bald eagles and is now a sanctuary for native wildlife, plants, and over 280 species of birds.

The Visitor Center, located just inside the park entrance, offers a more in-depth look at the history of Rocky Mountain Arsenal. With its hands-on discovery stations and interactive displays, the Visitor Center offers a wealth of information for first-time guests and regular visitors alike.

Learn About the Park's History


Wildlife at Rocky Mountain Arsenal

bison at the rocky mountain arsenal wildlife refuge

Since the Rocky Mountain Arsenal was declared a refuge for bald eagles, the wildlife population has grown to include bison, two varieties of deer, coyotes, prairie dogs, raccoons, and even ferrets. Mammals aren’t the only species seeking refuge there. The wetlands and prairie are ideal habitats for amphibians and reptiles like bullfrogs and snapping turtles, too.

Bird Watching at the Arsenal

Since the bald eagles came to Rocky Mountain Arsenal to nest, over 280 species of birds have been recorded, including hawks, owls, and kestrels. If you’re a bird lover, check out their comprehensive bird list before heading to the park.

Discover the Wildlife of Rocky Mountain Arsenal

Discover the Arsenal's Wildlife


Rocky Mountain Arsenal Trails & Hiking

rocky mountain arsenal wildlife refuge hiking trails

Embark upon a scenic hike through the Rocky Mountain Arsenal's 10 miles of trails to witness some of Colorado's most majestic native wildlife. The trails are open year round, giving you a glimpse into the seasonal changes of the park's various ecosystems. Even during the dead of winter, you can traverse the refuge's wide, flat trails by snowshoe or cross-country ski. Different trails vary in difficulty from easy to moderate, so any hike you choose will allow you to take in the beauty of your surroundings.

As you hike through the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge's, you'll encounter three fascinating unique ecosystems: grasslands, wetlands, and woodlands. Take in the grasslands of the Bluestem Loop (1.3 miles) or Rattlesnake Hill Trail (1.5 miles), walk through the wetlands of the Lake Ladora Loop (1.8 miles) where you’ll find yourself on a floating bridge that cuts right through the pond, and experience the woodlands with a short jaunt through the Woodland Trail (0.4 miles). From the forest to the prairie to the lakes, the Rocky Mountain Arsenal's picturesque trails will take you through different worlds in one afternoon.

View Trail Map


Wildlife Refuge Drive

wildlife drive at rocky mountain arsenal refuge

Forget to bring your hiking boots? Perhaps traveling through nature in the comfort of your car is more your style? You’re in luck! The Rocky Mountain Arsenal offers a scenic Wildlife Drive path, allowing you to take in the sights and sounds of the Commerce City park on four wheels. This self-navigated stretch of nine miles winds through the park and is an inspiring way to see bison and prairie dogs. As you prepare for your leisurely ride, stop by the Visitor Center to check for trail information and road conditions before heading out. They’ll also give you a handy map with detailed information about the ecosystems you’ll see on your drive. Ask for some binoculars, too!

View Trail Map


Rocky Mountain Arsenal Fishing

rocky mountain arsenal fishing

If you enjoy fishing, you won’t be disappointed with the trophy-size largemouth bass, channel catfish, bluegill, and lunker northern pike stocked in two of the Arsenal’s lakes. The lakes are open for fishing from mid-April through mid-October on Tuesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

The Rocky Mountain Arsenal is catch-and-release only (using barbless hooks and artificial bait) and any angler over 16 will need a valid Colorado fishing license to participate in the fun. Before heading to the lake with your rod and reel, you'll need to stop by the Contact Station kiosk to pay your $3.00 fishing fee.

Go Fishing at Rocky Mountain Arsenal


Directions to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge

Directions to the Refuge

The Crowne Plaza Denver Airport Convention Ctr is located just two miles south of Commerce City's Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge and a fifteen-minute drive from the park's main entrance. Take I-70 West, turn right Central Park Blvd, continue onto Prairie Parkway, and turn right on Gateway Road.

Parking at the park and at the hotel are always free.

Get Directions

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