Turn right in Kiowa and head to small-town Elbert. Named for territorial governor and State Supreme Court Justice Samuel H. Elbert, this cattle-ranching community in eastern Colorado exudes friendliness and down-home hospitality.

Castlewood Canyon State Park near Franktown

There are no cafes in Elbert, but the grassy prairies and wide expanses of blue skies make this town a great picnic spot.

Exploring this area's history is fascinating, and the Elbert County Historical Society Museum in Kiowa is the place to start. Here visitors can listen to historic tales of Elbert's revolver-wielding evil man who died on the way to his trial in Denver, or the 1935 Memorial Day flood in which half the town washed away. It is easy to take a step back in time in this quiet, unassuming town. Head outside of town to view old wagon ruts dating back to 1865 left along the Smoky Hill Trail.

The closest recreational facility is Castlewood Canyon State Park, which is a popular spot for hiking, technical rock climbing and birdwatching.