Annie on perimeter trail at rocky mountain arsenal national wildlife refuge

The Perimeter Trail at RMANWR – Part 2

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When the prettiest part of a two mile hike, sometimes four miles, depending on how far I go, it a bushel of wheat grass, I don’t tend to write about it.  But since I’ve walked most of the perimeter trail at Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge and posted it on my blog, I figured I’d mention its west side too.

wheat grass

Getting There

The west side of the perimeter trail travels from miles from the northern border of Prairie Gateway Open Space to 80th Avenue.  I join the trail at Adams City High School.  Following the road past the high school toward the trail, there is parking for two vehicles across from the tennis courts.  Believe or not, of the five times I’ve been here, I’ve only seen one car parked in the tiny lot.

From this area, hikers can head north past the school or south toward Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.  I’ve done each two-mile section independently as well as together, passing by my car as I continued.  Today, I only did the southern section, and failed to start the recording until I was returning.  As a result, the map only shows a mile beginning at the opposite end.

The Trail

Regardless, I like the southern section better simply because the trail is a dirt road rather than a chipseal path. Additionally, it is set farther back from the busy avenue which veers toward the East.

perimeter trail at rocky mountain arsenal national wildlife refuge

The reason I venture to this unremarkable area close to Denver, is because I can let Annie off leash without bothering anyone, or for that matter anything.  While normally it is common to see deer and other wild animals at the refuge, on this outer trail, I’ve seen a few deer on the other side of the fence once, a bunny rabbit, and a prairie dog.  There’s more trash speckled around than wildlife.

That said, dogs are supposed to be on leash, so I’m not encouraging anyone to break the rules, but my crazy mutt has so much pent-up energy, that if she doesn’t get to run about every three days, she starts misbehaving.


As much as I’d like to go to the mountains twice a week, it is not always an easy option, especially this weekend with snowmaggedon coming.  And since she is an aggressive dog player, the dog park is not necessarily viable.  As a result, visiting the western portion of the perimeter trail is an easy solution, so long as we don’t run into a park ranger, which hasn’t happened yet.

In fact, I generally only see one or two people per visit, and to Annie’s credit, she comes back and heals when we approach.  Not naturally of course, but she will mind if she has to!

Though the scenery isn’t pretty, seeing Annie’s smile on her face with her ears flailing in the wind brings me joy.  She is lightening fast, and I sometimes wonder if she could keep up with a car when she takes off through the field.  Generally, I curb that behavior because she gets too excited, but the result of her sleeping the rest of the day after going bonkers for a while is a nice reward for me!

Come springtime, however, my guess is rattlesnakes might not take too kindly to her romping, so we’ll venture some place new in VANgo which is four days away from being completed.  I can’t wait to take it for a spin!  ETB

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Beth Bankhead

Former public finance professional turned award winning travel blogger and photographer sharing the earth's beauty one word and image at a time.

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