Bluff Lake Nature Center is a nonprofit agency that owns and manages a unique urban wildlife refuge and outdoor classroom in Denver. The refuge is home to an abundance of animals and native plants, which thrive in a variety of habitats. Bluff Lake is Denver’s largest open space managed as native habitat, and Denver’s only nonprofit nature center. We rely solely on community support.

Each year, nearly 5,000 area elementary students visit Bluff Lake as part of our mission to “share our unique urban natural area and inspire environmental connectedness and stewardship through experiential education, environmental engagement, and natural area preservation and restoration.”

Thousands of visitors come to Bluff Lake each year to enjoy a few moments of solace and connection to nature. We hope you’ll join us soon!

News and Events

Lake Project: Phases 1 and 2 Complete

After a year-long capital campaign and several months of work at the site, the majority of the lake project is complete! The new dam has been built, and the lake bottom has been dredged and contoured to allow for more mixing of water, greater habitat diversity, and a healthier overall environment.

We invite you to visit Bluff Lake and see the lake before it fills back up, as the new lake bottom will hold water for much longer periods than it did in its previous condition. We expect to tap into Denver Water’s recycled water line, which runs parallel to the site along Havana Way, this spring.

Once again, many thanks to our donors and community partners. We look forward to sharing our “new” lake with our visitors for many years to come!

Summer Camp

At Bluff Lake Summer Camp, campers ages 6-11 discover and play while learning about nature in Bluff Lake’s protected prairie and wetland habitats. Through a blend of nature exploration, hands-on lessons, games, crafts, and unstructured free-play, we inspire campers to better understand and enjoy the outdoors. Our small group sizes and family feel give every camper the opportunity to be curious, active and appreciated.

Our camps are led by experienced educators, with a counselor-to-camper ratio of less than 1:10 at all times. Campers will often be organized into small groups according to age and/or interest in activities. These small groups give campers the time and attention they need to devote to projects and learning as well as their interests.

Programs for Schools

Bluff Lake Nature Center offers a variety of education programs at our nature center, including one-day field trips as well as customized environmental education programs. All of our programs are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards to ensure a rich authentic experience in content and practice. To learn more about our what we offer, check out our guided field trips, self-guided tours, and afterschool enrichment program.


Bluff Lake Nature Center is a nonprofit organization, and to do our work (educating our community’s children and preserving an urban wildlife refuge) we need your help.

Some of our yearly accomplishments include:

  • Teaching approximately 4,000 kids from area schools about natural wonders at Bluff Lake and their local ecosystems.
  • Planting more than 300 native trees and shrubs.
  • Hosting nearly 1,000 volunteers.
  • Providing critical (and free) public events.
  • Working with our neighbors in Stapleton to develop clean up and restoration days along Westerly Creek and Sand Creek.

We cannot accomplish these things without support of the community. As Denver’s largest nonprofit-owned open space, we rely upon community gifts to continue offering our programs and restoration work. A donation to Bluff Lake Nature Center will go directly to support our environmental education and conservation efforts. As always, we value your partnership and appreciate your support.