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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.

Pawnee National Grassland
Pawnee National Grassland
Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site
Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site

JULESBURG
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.

HOLYOKE
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.

STERLING
PARTS & LABOR BREWING COMPANY

This fairly new brewery has already 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.

ORCHARD
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
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.

YUMA
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
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.

BURLINGTON
OLD TOWN MUSEUM & TEQUILAS MEXICAN GRILL

Pop into the Old Town Museum’s historic site, which includes 21 fully restored buildings, complete with turn-of-the-century relics. Then quench your thirst with big-as-your-head margaritas at Tequilas Mexican Grill.

STRATTON
HANDI’S

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

LIMON
SANDY’S HOMETOWN BAKERY

A strawberry-iced, sprinkle-bedecked doughnut is calling your name from this tiny, pink-striped bakery in downtown Limon.

HUGO
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.

CHEYENNE WELLS
RAMBLING ROSE QUILT SHOP

Don’t miss the entrance — demarked with an old wagon — to this shop with its knowledgeable owner and plenty of quilting bibs and bobs to get you started.

LAMAR
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.

MANZANOLA
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.

TRINIDAD
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.

WANT MORE?

Plan a getaway to some of Colorado’s less-traveled locales with winter-specific itineraries >>
Explore Colorado's top eastern plains birding trails >>
Find eastern plains family attractions, good for kids 10 and under >>

Photos courtesy of Miles Partnership.