Bluff Lake Park is an urban oasis with a short walking trail around a scenic lake just South of I-70 in Aurora, CO. The entry to the park is located at 11255 E M.L.K. Jr Blvd, Denver, CO 80239, and includes a small parking lot, rest rooms, and visitor center.
Bluff Lake is named that because the major feature of the park is a small bluff overlooking the lake and trails. When you enter the park, it is a short walk to a scenic overlook of the park from the top of the bluff. Note: because of the preservation aspect of the park, pets and bicycles are not allowed in the park.
From the overlook there is a walk down some rustic (constructed from 4x4s) stairs to the start of the trail. At the bottom of the stairs there is a small auditorium or outdoor classroom space, and an area for kids to explore with a hut constructed of limbs and branches and some hollow logs to crawl through and explore. Continuing past this area takes you immediately into the start of the 1-mile loop trail around the lake. Very shortly thereafter you’ll see the boardwalk on the left which extends out onto the lake for nature viewing.
The lake was mostly frozen for our visit, but is habitat for a variety of animals. On our walk we saw deer, muskrats, ground squirrels, and others, as well as lots of footprints from various animals. In fact, the park’s website notes there are more than 215 bird and animal species found within the park.
Approximately 1/4 mile into the loop you’ll see a trail leading off to the right that is a short (1/4 mile) additional loop along Sand Creek. This was a very scenic and inhabited part of the trail where we saw lots of ducks and several muskrats swimming in the creek. Across the creek you’ll also see the Denver Women’s Correction Facility.
Continuing on the main trail will take you around the North side of the lake, and then head back towards the parking area and up the bluff to an overlook. Along the way you’ll see a bird blind set up for viewing the waterfowl (in season), and finally by an area where large storm drains enter the park. There are several signs around the trail where you can read about the important role lakes like Bluff Lake play in filtering the runoff from the city’s storm drains and gutters.