Big Thompson Greenway

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Natural Areas

These Big Thompson Greenway natural areas are open to the public.   

Click HERE for a map of Big Thompson Greenway Natural Areas (PDF). 

We recommend checking the detours and closures page before visiting these areas.

big Thompson greenway natural areas
Oxbow Natural Area: 1135 Rossum Drive

The 12-acre Rossum Drive property is part of an “oxbow,” a U-shaped bend in the meandering river.  This natural area has wetlands, willows, cottonwoods, and upland fields, which are habitat for small mammals, songbirds, and raptors. 


Cottonwood Run Natural Area:  Recreation Trail - Wilson Avenue to Taft Avenue

The large natural area between Wilson and Taft Ave. was purchased for the Recreation Trail.  Here you may see mallards, herons, hawks, chickadees, blackbirds, swallows, warblers, and orioles. Also watch for amphibians/reptiles such as garter snakes, frogs, and turtles, and mammals including deer, fox, and mink.  

King's Crossing Natural Area:  990 S. Lincoln Avenue

This 13-acre property just east of S. Lincoln Ave. was also purchased for the Recreation Trail.  The natural area on the south side of the river has large cottonwoods that shade the site and are habitat for raptors and songbirds.  Smaller shrubs provide safe cover for mammals such as deer, fox and raccoons using the river corridor.  Removal of invasive Russian olive trees has allowed native vegetation to thrive, creating an inviting urban oasis for wildlife and people.  


Old St. Louis Natural Area:  1010 S. St. Louis Avenue + 705 S. Madison Avenue

This 37-acre natural area conserves wetlands that were created by gravel mining. Willows and small cottonwoods are establishing throughout the site, habitat for amphibians and songbirds.  Deer, fox, raccoons, and mink have also been spotted here.  This stretch of the river includes several large “point bars” and a colony of herons and cormorants. 

St Louis



The Open Lands Advisory Commission selected names for 4 Big Thompson Greenway properties at the September 2015 commission meeting. The names were chosen from more than 130 name suggestions submitted by the public.

The site at 1135 and 1140 Rossum Drive was named Oxbow Natural Area for its location along a U-shaped bend in the river. The Recreation Trail natural area between Taft and Wilson Ave. was named Cottonwood Run Natural Area, a blended name from the adjacent Cottonwood Subdivision and a submitted name, River Run Natural Area. The property at 990 S. Lincoln Ave. was named King's Crossing Natural Area, based on the nearby intersection historically known as "King's Corner" at US 287 and CO 402. The site at 1010 S. St. Louis Ave. was named Old St. Louis Natural Area, based on its location at the original settlement site of Loveland known as "St. Louis."


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