Enjoy the peaceful waters of Pella Crossing where you can escape the urban pace.
COVID-19 Safety Information
Starting May 9, face coverings are required at trailheads, when passing other visitors, and when six feet of distancing cannot be maintained. See the Public Health Order for more information.
Please visit in groups of four or fewer and stay at least six feet away from people who are not from the same household.
Park in designated spaces only and follow trail directional arrows. Rangers are issuing fines for violations.
Consider using neighborhood trails rather than driving to a trailhead.
Parks and trails are generally less crowded in the early morning.
No gatherings are permitted at this time. Most restrooms remain open, but some are closed. Restrooms are cleaned daily.
Enjoy the peaceful waters of Pella Crossing where you can escape the urban pace.
1.8 miles – Easy
1.1 miles – Easy
- 39 car spots and 2 horse trailer parking spots.
- 2 tables and grill and group shelter east of parking lot.
- 3 tables on Marlatt Trails.
- At trailhead and Marlatt Trails.
Keep in Mind
- Some areas are closed to the public as wildlife refuges.
- Swimming and wading are not allowed.
- Use of boats is permitted only while fishing.
Documents, Field Guides & Plans
Fishing at Pella Crossing
- Bluegill (limit 20), Black crappie (limit 20), Channel Catfish (limit 10), Yellow Perch (limit 20), Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass (catch & release).
- Artificial flies and lures only.
- Portable boats and float tubes permitted while fishing only. Each pond has a float tube/boat entry point.
- Wading is prohibited.
- Fishing is allowed at Heron Lake, Sunset Pond, Dragonfly Pond, Poplar Pond, and Clearwater Pond. Fishing is prohibited at Webster Pond.
- Learn more about Fishing on Open Space.
Webster Pond Fish Management
Colorado Parks and Wildlife plan to treat Webster Pond with a very low concentration of rotenone. Rotenone, a natural pesticide derived from the roots of certain members of the bean family from South America, is a common tool that fisheries use to manage fish populations and assist in the management of endangered species. The picnic shelter and trail along Webster Lake will be closed for 30 days after the natural pesticide is applied.
Webster Pond was scheduled to be treated on April 14, but that has been postponed. A new treatment date will be announced later this spring.
The goal of the project is to establish state-listed native fish species in Webster Pond. Species include the state endangered Northern Redbelly Dace and state threatened Brassy Minnow. In order to properly establish populations of the endangered and threatened species, all sportfish will be removed from Webster Pond.
Webster Pond—A Changing Habitat
The 2013 flood changed the landscape at Pella Crossing Open Space. While much of it now looks as it did before, Webster Pond took on a new and different life following the flood.
The Flood Creates New Opportunities
The Webster Pond Wetland Creation Project was an opportunistic response to the deposition of three acres of sediment within a former gravel mining pond during the 2013 flood event. Rather than remove all the existing sediment to return the pond to its former open water habitat, Boulder County decided to remove just enough to allow the substrate to be saturated or submerged and to create approximately three acres of emergent wetland. This type of habitat is sorely lacking along the St. Vrain Creek corridor where nearly all gravel mining ponds are predominantly open water with steep banks that precludes the establishment of wetlands.
- Grading of the deposition was completed during the reconstruction of the trailhead and parking lot that washed away in the flood.
- During three large volunteer projects coordinated with Wildland Restoration Volunteers over two years, and numerous days of assistance from the Boulder County Youth Corps and Parks & Open Space staff, 21,686 wetland plugs of 17 different species were planted within the site. All but one of the species were contract grown with seed collected by volunteers.
- Webster Pond itself was closed to fishing in order to utilize the smaller open water habitat as a rearing pond for native warm water fish such as the Southern Redbelly Dace and the Brassy Minnow. Two interpretive signs were installed along the trail on site to educate the public about the changes to the pond pre- and post-flood, and the importance of wetlands and native fish.
Busy Beavers Try Their Best
Sometimes nature creates its own challenges! Staff worked very hard to maintain the water levels in Webster Pond to save the new wetland plantings. Beavers spent much of 2018 plugging the outlet structure and raising the water levels in the pond.
- Near-daily clearing gave way to a mesh structure—Fort Castor—to protect the outlet and allow water to pass through.
- In 2019, rather than resume the battle against the beavers, staff decided to relocate them to the vacant beaver pond complex at Caribou Ranch. Over the summer, eight beavers were captured from Pella Crossing and transported to their new home at Caribou Ranch where it is hoped they take to their new surroundings and re-invigorate the declining beaver pond habitat. Beavers are an important part of the ecosystem and provide food, shelter and space for other wildlife.
Native Fish Make a Comeback—With a Little Help from their Friends
Raising native fish for the wetland nursery at Pella Crossing became an educational opportunity for students. The Innovation Center of St. Vrain Valley School District, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the John W. Mumma Native Aquatic Species Restoration Facility, Boulder County Parks & Open Space, Ocean First Institute, and Lyons Middle/Senior High School partnered together to create a program to propagate a state threatened fish species, the northern redbelly dace (Phoxinus eos), for release into Webster Pond late in 2020.
- In 2019, partners worked together to design fish rearing tanks for use in classrooms and secured an agreement with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to obtain 40 adult male and female dace.
- The Innovation Center created learning opportunities for students to engage in the rearing process and assist with the novel science of rearing native Colorado fish. Early in 2020 the tanks were established, and adult fish were delivered.
- Due to the COVID-19 response, the tanks and adult fish were transferred to an off-site facility to continue the rearing process. The partners are engaged remotely with these tanks through online video streaming and remote learning opportunities.
- As the fish continue to grow, it is hoped that they will be released into Webster Pond to multiply and thrive, and eventually be relocated to inhabit local streams as they once did.
- While the fish are temporarily off-site due to the school closures and upcoming summer months, the hope is to return them to the school environment this fall, and continue the project with redbelly dace and other threatened species in the years to come. Meanwhile, you can watch the fish online.
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.
- Deer mouse
- Little brown bat
- White-tailed deer
- Nuttall’s cottontail
- Red fox
- Rock squirrel
- Western harvest mouse
- American coot
- American crow
- American goldfinch
- American kestrel
- American widgeon
- American white pelican
- Barn swallow
- Belted kingfisher
- Black-billed magpie
- Blue jay
- Bullock’s Oriole
- Broad-tailed hummingbird
- Brown-headed cowbird
- Canada goose
- Cedar waxwing
- Common goldeneye
- Common grackle
- Common merganser
- Common nighthawk
- Common raven
Amphibians & Reptiles
- Chorus frog
- Western painted turtle
- Western Plains garter snake
- Black crappie
- Channel catfish
- Largemouth bass
- Smallmouth bass
- Tiger muskie
- Yellow perch
From Gravel Mine to Ecosystem
The eastern side of Pella Crossing was opened to the public in 1996 after it was donated to the county by Frontier Materials, Inc. in 1992. The property was an agricultural site before it was mined for gravel from 1975 to 1990.
In 1995 the western property was purchased from Willis and Alberta Marlatt and added to Pella Crossing.
This spot, called “Laramie Crossing” in 1860s, is where the Overland Trail stagecoach crossed the St. Vrain Creek en route from Denver to Laramie, Wyoming.
Hygiene Elementary 5th graders won a competition to name the donated open space property. They chose the name, Pella Crossing, because the property is the midpoint between 19th century towns Pella and North Pella.