Venture to the northeastern part of the state and you’ll be surprised by a wealth of historical sites, recreational activities and family attractions.
Just an hour from Denver, Morgan County feels like a world away with its rural charm and wide-open spaces. An integral part of the High Plains region, this area is characterized by blue skies, expansive prairies and friendly people in towns like Fort Morgan and Brush. Here are some highlights that you and your family are sure to enjoy.
Museums and heritage sites provide a peek into the past.
Ties to Colorado history run deep in Morgan County, and there are plenty of museums, buildings and other places to experience these roots. The Fort Morgan Museum features Native American artifacts and an exhibit on famed big band musician Glenn Miller, who attended high school in the town, while the Brush Museum and Cultural Center lends insight on topics like the 1880s wagon trail days, horse racing and sugar beet farming.
A stroll around the county’s municipalities reveals unique architecture on display in historic districts and at nationally registered landmarks. In Fort Morgan, don’t miss the beautiful houses of the Sherman Street National Historic District — some of the city’s oldest residences — or Rainbow Bridge, which spans the South Platte River and is known for its Marsh Arch design. Several buildings in Brush have state or national historic designation, from the Rankin Presbyterian Church to Sand’s Theatre (formerly the Emerson). Additionally, the Old Trail Schoolhouse in Wiggins dates back to 1921 and, despite being moved twice, remains completely original.
While you’re out, take a scenic drive along the Pawnee Pioneer Trails Scenic & Historic Byway, following in the footsteps of explorers and settlers who helped shape what the High Plains are today.
Countless recreational spaces let you connect with the great outdoors.
Take advantage of Colorado’s iconic fresh air and sunny days by exploring the landscapes of Morgan County in a variety of ways. Jackson Lake State Park is ideal for Colorado camping — and is an oasis with its sandy beaches and warm waters, where you can swim, boat, waterski and fish. Another spot to cast a line is Doty Pond at Brush’s Prairie Trails Park, which is regularly stocked with bass, catfish and trout.
The county’s communities are sprinkled with beautiful natural landmarks and parks. One of the largest is Riverside Park in Fort Morgan, complete with walking trails, tennis and basketball courts, horseshoe pits, shaded lawns and a playground. To cool off, take a dip in one of the multiple outdoor pools in the area.
For a day on the links, options include Brush’s nine-hole municipal The Course at Petteys Park, as well as Quail Dunes Golf Course in Fort Morgan, which boasts 18 holes of championship golf for all skill levels. If you want a twist on the game, try out disc golf in Fort Morgan, whose course is one of the highest rated in Colorado and hosts the annual High Plains Challenge Tournament in June.
Eclectic attractions give families plenty to do.
Whether you’re a fan of quirky sights or crave nostalgia, visitors won’t be disappointed in family attractions like old-school bowling alleys, theaters and a roller-skating rink in Brush that’s a blast from the past.
Keep an eye out for barn quilts, dozens of which adorn structures throughout Morgan County. They’re made with paint and plywood, instead of the typical thread and fabric, to create colorful patterns. Browse the shops in Brush for a special antique treasure, or schedule a historical cemetery tour through the Fort Morgan Museum to hear unusual stories and learn about key players in the town’s history.
Satisfy your need for speed by catching an exciting dirt-track race at the I-76 Speedway. Sprint cars, mini stocks, late-model racers and other types take to the quarter-mile dirt oval track on Saturday evenings. Over at Sweney Cycle Park, you’ll find a motocross facility that hosts races too.
The calendar is also filled year-round with fantastic events. Summer months bring the largest rodeo in its class — Brush Rodeo — with its roping and riding competitions, barbecue, parade and fireworks to start off the area’s Fourth of July festivities. The celebration of being big-band leader Glenn Miller’s boyhood home is culminated in Fort Morgan’s annual SwingFest. And in the fall, the Hot Air Balloon Festival in Brush and Fort Morgan’s Fall Harvest Car Show are can’t-miss gatherings.