This route includes parts of various trails in the area and is comprised of dirt road, singletrack, and a few boardwalks.
This trail is great for watching Bald Eagles, Harrier Hawks, and other migratory birds. There is a lot to see when the birds are migrating. During the breeding season (late winter - early summer) as many as forty Bald Eagles can be nesting.
Stop at the visitors center for a chat with the park rangers to get advice on what is currently happening and a bit of history on the Refuge.
The trail is popular with cyclists who use thorn-proof tires because the trails are not paved and goatheads are everywhere.
This route starts at the visitor center parking lot, and heads out over the lake on a boardwalk section of the Neidrach Nature Trail
. Stroll west along the road where, after a bit, you'll find a short spur trail to the first birdwatching blind. (Careful, an owl has been hanging out in here over the winter!)
Once you've viewed enough, head back on the road until you reach the Fox Meadow Trail
junction. Taking the Fox Meadow Trail
keeps you closer to the lake and brings you to the 2nd birdwatching blind. Continue on the trail back to the main the road and Barr Lake Perimeter Trail
going west until you come to the Boardwalk to Gazebo
spur. This boardwalk takes you out over the lake again to look back to the shore. There are great views of the mountains and looking to the SW you can see the Bald Eagle Rookery area.
From here, make your way back onto the Barr Lake Perimeter Trail
for another meadow. Look for deer in the trees as you go by. After a short time you'll come upon a bridge over the inlet, cross it and within a few feet there will be a fork in the trail. Go straight and you can finish the remaining 2/3rds of the Barr Lake Perimeter Trail
or go to the right and you'll find the Inlet Gazebo Trail
. This path will take you into the heart of the rookery to another gazebo so you can have a sit and watch the raptors come and go.
When you have rested up and finished bird watching, retrace your steps. On the way back, I have put in a couple of small shortcuts. The first stays on the road and skips Fox Meadow Trail
, and the second takes you over a different set of boardwalks allowing you to finish the rest of the Neidrach Nature Trail
. During the last quarter mile or so, look for local toads and turtles as you cross the boardwalks.
Birds, deer, toads, fish, cottonwood trees, lots of cockleburs, and and other spiky/clingy seedpods.