The town of Lamar resulted from an argument between landowners that ended with a railroad crew removing an existing depot, moving it 3 miles west and renaming it. Although the town's history is spirited, the present-day lifestyle in southeastern Colorado is quite tame.
Located along Route 50 and home to one of Colorado's Welcome Centers, Lamar remains a smart place to start a journey through the state. Staff will not only detail the history of Lamar, but will also give visitors brochures and maps covering the whole state. The welcome center is also a bit of an attraction itself. Located in a restored 1907 train depot, the center features a train engine and 100-year-old windmill and water tank; it's the only location to include all three elements with a historic depot.
Lamar is one of Colorado's best birding destinations. Hot spots to watch winged beauties like red-bellied woodpeckers, Inca doves and northern cardinals in and near town include John Martin Reservoir State Park (also a popular place for boating, fishing and hiking), Indian Reservoirs, Willow Creek Park and Two Buttes State Wildlife Area. Each February, the High Plains Snow Goose Festival celebrates the spring migration of giant white snow geese and is one of the best occassions to see the majestic avian species. Or hop on the Two Buttes Trail, part of the Colorado Birding Trail, in the spring or fall to catch an variety of migratory birds, including snow geese and sandhill cranes.
Named for the huge cottonwoods that lined the Arkansas River north of town, Big Timbers Museum provides artifacts and information on frontier life, the historic Dust Bowl and the site of the Camp Amache National Historic Landmark, a Japanese-American internment camp. Other attractions include the Madonna of the Trail Monument, an 18-foot high tribute to the women of the covered-wagon days. In addition, the public golf course offers 18 holes and year-round fun for the family.
Before you go, make a stop at Lamar's petrified-wood gas station, made from — you may have already guessed it — petrified wood that is millions upon millions of years old. It no longer pumps gas though, so you'll need to fill up elsewhere.