About 7 or 8 miles down C-470 from my house is a wonderful little reservoir named Chatfield. In the summer it's a great place for summer activities like swimming, boating, picnicking, camping and fishing. It was created as a flood control measure on the South Platte River and the water height varies extremely depending on the amount of precipitation or drought the area is currently experiencing.
I recently began to learn much more about the Chatfield Basin in which this reservoir is located. It is an expansive area that takes in part of Highlands Ranch, the area along both sides of Santa Fe (Highway 85) from north of C-470 to south of Sedalia, part of Pike National Forest, Roxbourough State Park which I recently wrote about, beautiful Waterton Canyon, Deer Creek Canyon Park, Cherokee Ranch, Hildebrand Ranch Park, South Valley Park, Daniel's Park, Back Country of Highlands Ranch, South Platte Park, Dupont Park, Sharptail Ridge Park, Chatfield State Park and Nelson Open Space.
I've learned the Basin has many things to see. Denver Botanical Gardens at Chatfield has hundreds of acres of grassland, riparian forest of Cottonwood and boxelder and ten acres of wetlands. Visitors can checkout self guided Discovery Packs to help them through the Gardens and the Hildebrande Ranch which is nearby. I've learned there is an Audubon Center and its wetlands ecosystem that is home to 25 species of mammals and more than 350 species of birds. I've learned that there are so many trails to hike and open space to see that it would take months of hiking to see it all.
What I already knew was that Cherokee Ranch with its Castle and Daniel's Park sitting atop a ridge that overlooks Chatfield Basin and has a view of the mountains from Pike's Peak to Long's Peak were really cool places to visit. I did not know that they were considered part of the Basin.
Chatfield Basin is an ecological crossroads. This basin that holds the South Platte from where it emerges from the foothills and Plum Creek which is the only naturally flowing, undimmed stream of its size remaining on the Front Range from Colorado Springs to Ft. Collins. Chatfield Basin straddles 3 ecelogical regions; Southern Rockies Ecosystem, desert-like Southwater Tablelands Ecosystem and Western High Plains Ecosystem. These 3 ecosystems combine to make the area one of the richest for flora and fauna in the entire state. Large open spaces and dramatic scenery including the granite walled Waterton Canyon, the foothills and the red rock formations of Roxborough make Chatfield a popular place.
Chatfield Basin is a treasure of natural wonders. On a single day in the summer you can see more kinds of butterflies than almost anywhere in the U.S.-over 100 kinds! The Basin's unique habitats create a home for rare and imperiled plants. Each year hundreds of birds raise their young in Chatfield Basin. Four areas have been designated Important Bird Areas by the National Audubon Society. It is a great spectacle to watch over 4000 birds of prey follow the nearby Dakota Hogback on their travels.
There are many rare species found here, also. The peregrine falcon, bald eagle, plains sharptailed grouse are three of these. Considered even vulnerable globally are four species of minnows, one mammal and at least ten species of butterflies.
Now it's your turn. Come visit the Chatfield Basin and see what you can learn!
The following parks and places of interest have educational programs and/or guided or self-guided tours available for the public
Roxborough State Park, 720-497-7600
The Audubon Center at Chatfield State Park,
Chatfield State Park, 303-791-7275
Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield, 303-973-3705
South Platte Park, 303-720-1022
Cherokee Ranch, 303-688-5555
Denver Water and Thorne Ecological Institute at Waterton Canyon, 303-499-3647
If you don't live here in south metro Denver, but are interested in possibly relocating here, I will be glad to help you with any information I can about the area. My website is a wealth of information on relocation including area info, moving helps, economy, schools, communities and free market updates. You can also request my Relocation Package. I'd love to help you!
Kenna Real Estate