Your Winter Itinerary to Colorado's Eastern Plains

Wind your way through the pastoral wonderland that is the eastern plains, stopping at standout cultural centers and sweet-smellin’ bakeries as you go.

By: Staff Writer
Updated: March 15, 2024


Architecture: The Works Progress Administration-era Julesburg Public Library, known for its white-stucco facade, and art deco Sedgwick County Courthouse are both stars in this delightfully sleepy municipality.


Happy Jacks Barbeque: Making an argument as the best barbecue in the plains, Happy Jacks serves up succulent brisket, fiery hot links and even flavorful smoked bologna.


Parts & Labor Brewing Company: This brewery has woven itself into the fabric of Sterling with sippable, citrusy IPAs and mounds of nachos doused in queso blanco and a smattering of crushed pineapple.

Near Grover

Pawnee National Grassland: Postcard-worthy buttes — jutting up amid thick, mustard-colored grasslands — are best viewed at sunrise or sunset when they turn a golden hue.


Andrick Ponds State Wildlife Area: Geese sit atop the sparkling snow, bathing in the bright Colorado sun at Andrick Ponds, a stop along the Colorado Birding Trail. You need a valid hunting or fishing license to be in the area. Purchase one here


Brush Area Museum & Cultural Center: You have to snap a photo of the 1863 Mountain Howitzer Cannon or in the replica general store that’s inside the museum to celebrate the rich and vibrant history of Brush. This heritage spot is open Friday through Sunday.


Farm House Market: Plop down on one of the pews in this shop that dishes out “I never would have thought of this!” flavors — think gingerbread and kiwi — in their frothy coffees.


Wray Museum: Focusing on the history of Wray, this museum is filled to the brim with artifacts of Wray’s past, from Ice Age mammoth bones to late 1800s general-store merch, and is home to one of the only permanent Smithsonian exhibits outside of Washington, D.C.


Old Town Museum & Tequilas Mexican Grill: Pop into the Old Town Museum’s historic site, which includes numerous fully restored buildings, complete with turn-of-the-century relics. Then quench your thirst with big-as-your-head margaritas at Tequilas Mexican Grill.


Handi's: Locals flock to this emerald-roofed building on the outskirts of Stratton for thick milkshakes and crinkle-cut fries.


Sandy's Hometown Bakery: A strawberry-iced, sprinkle-bedecked doughnut is calling your name from this tiny, pink-striped bakery in downtown Limon.


Antiques at Main Street Mama's: Pick up a creamy latte and peruse the nooks and crannies of Main Street Mama’s. You’ll absolutely need that wicker rocking chair.


High Plains Snow Goose Festival: Watch thousands of snow geese take flight on their way to warmer weather at this can’t-miss February festival. They also have keynote speakers, live raptors — yes live! — and a craft fair.

La Junta

Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site: In the middle of rich farmland rises an adobe-style castle of the plains, Bent’s Old Fort, now a National Historic Site. Snag a spot on a guided tour and learn about the 1840s fur-trading post. Tip: Check the fort's official website for when it's open while you're planning; its hours can change during different seasons. 


Bauserman's Farm Market: Established in the early 1930s, this market hawks the freshest, in-season produce year-round along with jams, jellies and smoky jerky.


A.R. Mitchell Museum of Western Art: Pressed-tin ceilings and a horseshoe-shaped mezzanine are just the background to this museum’s collection of Western paintings, American Indian blankets and historic photos.

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