Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge
Date Hiked: Dec. 7, 2014
Distance: 2 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: 120ft
Elevation Min/Max: 5,229 to 5,259ft
Managing Agency: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Rocky Mt. Arsenal NWR Trail Map (FWS)
Havana Ponds Trail Map (Google Maps)
Directions: From Denver head east on I-70 and exit onto Quebec Street. Turn left to head north on Quebec. Turn right on Prairie Parkway and left on Gateway Road. Follow Gateway Road into the park and bear right onto Wildlife Drive. Follow the signs to the lakes area and once you pass the 4 way intersection with Havana Street/Wildlife Drive, look to the left for the parking area sign. Park here but cross Wildlife Drive to the Prairie trailhead on the south side of Wildlife Drive.
The hike to Havana Ponds is a short but pleasant stroll along the prairie. The grasses are high and views are expansive. Follow Prairie Trail for .6 miles to a dense thicket of thorny trees. In the midst of the thicket is a trail sign, turn right towards Havana Ponds. In .2 miles you’ll come to a wildlife blind on a trailer and the trail becomes a gravel road across the berm of a retention pond. Most likely, there will be no water in the pond rather a small stream cutting through the dry bed. The trail ends at the far end of the ponds at a dangerous looking ravine and a collapsed road.
Havana Ponds is not the most scenic trail in the Refuge but it is an easy walk and when the prairie breezes are blowing it can be a very pleasant experience. You’ll have many opportunities for wildlife viewing and few people along this seldom visited area. Try the Lake Ladora, Bluestem, or Rod and Gun Club Trails for a more scenic experience.