Walden Ponds Wildlife Habitat 

Walden Ponds Wildlife Habitat

Some sections of trail are closed due to hazardous conditions and repair work. See Trail Map for details.

Nature's healing influence, heartened by human support, has transformed Walden Ponds from industrial gravel pits to flourishing wetland habitat. Come see for yourself this scenic restoration Cinderella story, which yields some of the best bird-watching opportunities in the county.

 Your Visit

Trails

Walden Ponds Trails

3.5 miles (includes Heatherwood Link)
Leashed Dogs Allowed Bikes Allowed Hiking Allowed Horses Allowed
Easy

Picnic Areas

  • Tables, group shelters, and 2 grills

Restrooms

  • Located at both Cottonwood Marsh and Wally Toevs Pond

Parking

  • Cottonwood Marsh lot accommodates 18 cars and 2 horse trailers

Fishing

Keep in Mind

  • Some areas are closed to the public to protect nesting birds or for re-vegetation
  • Wading, swimming and boating are not allowed
  • Since ponds are primarily groundwater-fed, levels may fluctuate substantially depending on recent precipitation

 Map & Directions

 Documents

Brochures and Field Guides

Management Plan

Maps

 Poetry

2014 River of Words Competition

Boulder County Parks and Open Space partnered with Colorado Humanities to showcase Boulder County winners in the 2014 River of Words competition. 

Winners in both the art and poetry categories are on display on signs at the Cottonwood Marsh picnic shelter at Walden Ponds Wildlife Habitat.

The River of Words competition is an annual program of Colorado Humanities and the Center for the Book.  It began in 1995 to encourage children to explore and savor the watersheds where they live, and to express in poetry what they discover.

The free poetry and art contest is for Colorado students ages 5 to 19 years old is designed to help youth explore the theme of water and the environment. The deadline for submissions is December 1st each year.

Drop by to see what local kids created. The display will be up until October 31.

View as PDF

River of Words Competition page 1 River of Words Competition page 2 River of Words Competition page 3 River of Words Competition page 4 River of Words Competition page 5 River of Words Competition page 6 River of Words Competition page 7 River of Words Competition page 8

 Rebuilding

Repairing Walden Ponds

Staff presented tentative plans to rebuild sections of Walden Ponds at a public meeting on June 26. The plan is to fix breaches between the ponds and restore trails and access in accordance with the existing Walden Ponds Management Plan. We are continuing to work with FEMA to formalize these plans.

Proposed bridge at Walden Ponds

Proposed bridge design over breach between Cottonwood Marsh and Wally Toevs Pond.

Concrete crossing at Walden Ponds

Proposed concrete crossing between Cottonwood Marsh and Bass Pond.

Concrete crossing at Walden Ponds

Another crossing option between Cottonwood Marsh and Bass Pond.

Contact

Jesse Rounds
Natural Resources Planner
303-678-6271

 Plants & Animals

Wetland habitats, nestled within the surrounding Great Plains, support aquatic plant and animal life and serve to lure in large numbers of migrating bird species. With grasses, wildflowers and trees surrounding the wetlands, these areas are biologically diverse both in and out of the water.

Mammals

  • Beaver
  • Coyote
  • Desert cottontail
  • Mule deer
  • Muskrat
  • Raccoon
  • Red fox
  • Rock squirrel
  • Striped skunk
  • Western harvest mouse

Birds

Amphibians & Reptiles

  • Bullfrog
  • Bullsnake
  • Garter snake
  • Northern leopard frog
  • Painted turtle
  • Snapping turtle

Fish

  • Bluegill
  • Channel catfish
  • Common carp
  • Fathead minnow
  • Green carp
  • Largemouth bass

Plants

Coming Soon                      

 History

Gravel Mine

Gravel was first mined in 1958. Open pits and puddles of groundwater were all that remained after the property had been stripped 15 feet down to bedrock.

Reclamation

In 1974, the county initiated a reclamation program after county residents expressed strong interest in creating a wildlife habitat. Piles of rock were compacted into dikes creating three ponds. Two additional ponds were added during the 1990s. Tree and shrub seedlings were planted and dry areas were seeded to help foster natural re-vegetation. The ponds were allowed to fill with groundwater and then stocked with fish.

Evolving Ecosystem

Walden Ponds Wildlife Habitat first opened to the public in October 1975 and is a work in progress, a park that is still evolving as a wildlife habitat and recreational retreat.

The Name

Contrary to what many believe, Walden Ponds is not a reference to Thoreau’s pond of the same name. It is named after Walden “Wally” Toevs, the Boulder County Commissioner who spearheaded the plan to convert the gravel pits into a wildlife habitat in the 1970s.

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