Colorado National Parks
Pawnee National Grasslands
The Pawnee National Grassland covers 193,000 acres in Weld County, 30 miles East of Fort Collins near Greeley. The grasslands are managed by the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests. The Pawnee National Grassland was made famous by James Michener when he wrote the novel "Centennial" which takes place at these grasslands.
The Pawnee Buttes Trail is an excellent way to explore parts of the park. This is a 1.5 mile trail that gives you an opportunity to view the Buttes of Pawnee up close. Climbing on the Buttes is strictly prohibited. The trail is closed from March 1 to June 30 to protect nesting hawks and falcons.
The Pawnee National Grassland is known internationally as a place to see birds of prey. The grassland is filled with many different species of birds, including mourning doves, red-headed woodpeckers, blue jays, black-billed magpies, gray catbirds, vesper sparrows and American crows plus many more. These birds can be seen on the Birdwalk Trail, an easy trail starting at the grassland campsite.
Many other activities are available at the grassland. Hiking, horseback riding, picnicking, and fishing are a few. Trout fishing is popular and certain locations are catch-and-release and/or artificial flies and lures only. The Pawnee Pioneer Trail scenic byway is a great way to see the region by automobile.
This grassland is also known for its history. At the Briggsdale Heritage House, you can explore the history of the area. Once a school house, this site now contains photo albums, as well as, other written history pertaining to the area.
The grassland is easily accessed from Denver and other front-range cities via Interstate 70 and 25. Follow Route 14 east from Fort Collins to reach the grassland.
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Fort Collins, Colorado includes: LaPorte, Wellington, Windsor
Fort Morgan, Colorado includes: Akron, Brush, Keenesburg, Orchard, Weldona
Loveland Area, Colorado includes: Berthoud, Evans, Greeley
Sterling, Colorado includes: Briggsdale, Crook, Fleming, Grover, Stoneham