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Location Temptation
St. Vrain State Park - Barbour Ponds
by Barbara Rich

The State of Colorado has over 40 jewels in the State Park system. One of my favorites for photography is Barbour Ponds, which is now officially called St. Vrain State Park. This state park is the one that is visible as you drive I-25 at the SH 119 interchange (exit number 240). The park is located just west of I 25 and north of SH 119. During the summer the campsites are full of fishermen (the fishing is supposed to be very good!) and the ponds have many pelicans, geese, a large variety of ducks and other waterfowl. This park includes four ponds and is on the St. Vrain River.

My favorite time of year for St. Vrain (Barbour Ponds) is winter. There are few, if any fishermen and instead of waterfowl you have Bald Eagles and hawks to keep you company. At sunrise it is a great shot of frozen ponds and snow covered Longs Peak in the background. The winter has such spectacular sunrises and the color reflected off the ice enhances the photograph. I have spotted many deer foraging in the pond area just before dawn, and then they seem to vanish as the winter sun rises. It is quiet and peaceful during the winter months; often I am the only person in the park.

During the summer the noise of the interstate can be distracting while at Barbour Ponds, and is the reason I will not park my RV there. Peace and quiet are a requirement for me to sleep. During the summer the campgrounds are full of campers; this is close enough to Denver to make an easy getaway for the weekend. It is only 30 miles north on I-25 to get to some of the best warm water fishing in northern Colorado. I still enjoy my trip to the area as a day trip, and I always find many subjects to photograph. In the spring there is pond scum to play with and the antics of birds finding a mate and getting their nest ready. The bridges in this area have been providing support for many Swallows. I can sit on the banks of the Saint Vrain River for hours watching them build the mud nest and later take care of their young. You will find other nesting birds here, meadowlark, and red winged blackbirds and once I was fortunate to discover a humming bird nest.