Monday - Friday 9am-5pm.
100 Puppy Smith St., Aspen, CO 81611
Please email Grayson Bauer at [email protected] to inquire about rentals.
Hallam Lake, a 25-acre nature preserve and environmental learning center, was the first location of the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies. The Hallam Lake property was donated in 1968 by Elizabeth Paepcke. The preserve is open to the public year-round and provides an inspiring setting for ACES’ many educational and naturalist programs. Borrow our binoculars and search for local wildlife. Keep your eyes out for freely roaming mule deer, elk, foxes, coyotes, bear, beavers, golden eagles, hawks, songbirds, and more!
Directions: We are located at the end of Puppy Smith Street behind the Aspen Post Office. You will reach a set of stone gates. The parking lot is on the left, and then you can walk down through the gates on the trail to the Hallam Lake Nature Center, which will be at the end of the trail on the left. Please call 970-925-5756 if you are lost!
Things to do at Hallam Lake
Meet the Raptors
Meet ACES' resident Great Horned Owl and Red-tailed Hawk. These beautiful native raptors can be viewed during ACES regular business hours. During the summer, ACES' Bird of Prey program runs Monday - Friday at 4PM and Saturday at 3PM. Hallam Lake is a permitted raptor rehabilitation center. We can accept injured birds and provide them with care until their release. Our resident birds cannot fly or hunt, and are therefore unreleasable.
Explore the Nature Preserve
A half-mile loop nature trail is available for all visitors, and meanders in and out of wetlands and includes stops at various observation decks. Use our self-guided tour book to learn about our local landscape, or adventure on your own, experiencing aspen forest, wetlands, and meadows. An on-site Naturalist is always available to answer any questions you may have. Summertime offers a bounty of wildflowers, while winter is an excellent time to learn animal tracks!
Visit the Indoor Animals
Visit ACES' Lab to check out our indoor animals, including a bearded dragon, ball python, salamander, Chilean rose tarantula, and cockroaches. On-site Naturalists are available to introduce you and your family to these special creatures!
Become a Junior Naturalist
Kids of all ages are invited to become official ACES Junior Naturalists by exploring the Hallam Lake nature preserve and recording their findings! Borrow an Adventure Backpack with all of the tools you need to complete the Junior Naturalist Activity Guide, featuring engaging, age-appropriate activities that exercise your skills as a scientist, observer, and explorer. Earn your ACES Junior Naturalist Badge by completing the required number of activities for your age group and taking the Naturalist oath.
Wander the Garden
Spring through fall, enjoy ACES' organic garden, a teaching space where visitors can learn about flowering, pollination, and local food. You can walk on the labyrinth and identify a combination of native plants, traditional herbs, and cultivated species.
Observe the Trout Stream
Experience close-up views of native Colorado cutthroat trout, Oncorhynchus clarki pleuriticus. A sample of these native trout was taken from a relic population living in Lake Nanita in Rocky Mountain National Park by the Colorado Division of Wildlife and stocked in Hallam Lake. It is this group of beautiful golden-brown, black-spotted trout with the bright orange slash on the lower jaw that we see in the indoor trout stream. The cutthroat trout in the stream are fed crickets, flies, scuds, and other live food.
Spot Local Wildlife
On any given day, a variety of birds and mammals can be seen feeding at the water's edge. During the day, swallows perform acrobatics above the water in search of insects, while the American dipper dives underwater in search of aquatic insects. As the sun sets, fox, bear, and deer prowl the banks searching for dinner, while beaver cautiously feed on willow, aspen, and cottonwood bark around the lake. Hallam Lake is home to resident birds of prey and lush riparian ecosystems including woodland, meadow, pond, and marsh communities.