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Explore the Area

Interesting Facts about Two Ponds NWR

Explore the Area

Interesting Facts about Two Ponds NWR

President Woodrow Wilson as a preserve and breeding ground for native birds, this Refuge celebrated its 100th birthday in 2015.


There are no endangered species at Two Ponds NWR but there is a large variety of wildlife that can be found on the Refuge. Over 120 different species of birds have been seen on the Refuge, including great blue herons, snowy egrets, great horned owls, and Swainson’s hawks.  Swainson’s hawks actually winter in Argentina, and then return to the United States in the spring time. This migration route is considered one of the longest of any American raptor!  (Information about Swainson’s hawks can be found at this link:


Two Ponds NWR has been home to both foxes and coyotes, but not at the same time. During the 1990’s, foxes were frequently seen on the Refuge and traveling along the canal trails. However, during the past ten years, coyotes have replaced the foxes. The best times for seeing coyotes are in the early morning and late evening, although they occasionally can be seen during the day.  However, they can be heard any time of the day when sirens sound along 80th Avenue. 


Have you ever wondered why the Refuge is called Two Ponds NWR when there are three ponds on the Refuge?  Several years before the eastern most area of the Refuge was being considered for purchase by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, there was an effort to develop it into a housing area, with about 84 homes and a community center.  The name of this development was Two Ponds because there were two ponds on the property.  Because the significant effort by local residents to prevent this development resulted in considerable publicity, the name “Two Ponds” and its location were well known within the community.  It seemed logical to name the Refuge “Two Ponds.”


The names of the three ponds are Marshall Pond, Lighter Pond, and Friends Pond.  Marshall and Lighter Ponds were named for the two property owners of the first 14 acres purchased for the Refuge.  Friends Pond was named to acknowledge the role of local residents and many others in spearheading the preservation effort to save the Refuge from development.

Two Ponds NWR is the smallest urban wildlife refuge in the National Wildlife Refuge System.  It was dedicated as a Refuge in 1992. The smallest wildlife refuge is Mille Lacs National Wildlife Refuge, MN - pronounced mi-LAX - at only .57 acres.  Mille Lacs includes Hennepin and Spirit Islands in Mille Lacs Lake. Established by

Maps of Two Ponds NWR


The Official USFWS map below provides a good overview of the Refuge. For an interactive Google Map with tagged photos please click here.

Two Ponds National Wildlife Refuge NWR - Refuge Map

Two Ponds NWR Refuge Update




USFWS Refuge Update on Two Ponds NWR

Getting to Two Ponds

Two Ponds is located at 9210 W 80th Avenue which is just SE of 80th Avenue and Kipling St. in Arvada, CO.


There are two entrances: East and West.

East Side: Open May through September or by appointment

West Side: Open year-round, dawn to dusk (entrances available from Medical Center parking lot on on W 77th Drive)

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