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Pioneering Plains

Marked by waves of plains, grassland and shallow canyons, these lands are full of traditional character, a pioneering spirit and 100-year-old farms. Slow things down here to relish an authentic and memorable vacation.
Pawnee Pioneer Trails Scenic & Historic Byway
Pawnee Pioneer Trails Scenic & Historic Byway
4th of July Rodeo in Brush
4th of July Rodeo in Brush
Overland Trail Museum in Sterling
Overland Trail Museum in Sterling
Pony Express Monument in Julesburg
Pony Express Monument in Julesburg
Pawnee Buttes
Pawnee Buttes
Kit Carson County Carousel in Burlington
Kit Carson County Carousel in Burlington
North Sterling State Park
North Sterling State Park
Depot Museum in Julesburg
Depot Museum in Julesburg
Grover Depot Museum
Grover Depot Museum

Travelers looking to hit the refresh button, to rediscover their sense of adventure and to slow their pace will find joy in the trailblazing history of this region. It’s as unspoiled and friendly as the West can get. Locals are in-touch with their hard-earned roots making each small town in the region highly authentic.

After the Louisiana Purchase, pioneers flocked to Colorado by the thousands, traversing the land in covered wagons, finding the plains a place to farm. Learn about those pioneers at the Overland Trail Museum, once the most traveled road in America in Sterling, and drive across tracks laid by early railroad pioneers.

Today’s farming looks more like the Yuma Irrigation Research Farm where you can learn about government tested methods of soil conservation. Or spot wind farms near Holyoke, the white propellers towering over the rolling lands.

Experience the Mountain Plover Festival in Karval, celebrating a unique bird of the region. Or go bird-watching in Limon’s wetlands area. Spot mule deer, coyote and pronghorns (antelope) near the twin 300-foot-tall Pawnee Buttes in Pawnee National Grassland. Hunt deer, quail and turkeys near Wray. Cheer on rodeo riders at the Brush Rodeo held every July. Ride hand carved wooden horses, giraffes and lions while whirling to the music of a 1909 Wurlitzer Monster Military Band Organ on the 1905 Kit Carson County Carousel in Burlington.

The Pioneering Plains will teach you about the life of those early trailblazers against backdrops of picturesque vistas, star-filled skies (no light pollution out here) and the sweetest of people. As the grasses sway in a gentle breeze, take a deep breath of that fresh air and stop thinking for a minute. This part of the state is all about getting back to your roots, exploring human nature and just spending time with one another. Each town brings something to the table, all you have to do is sit down and listen.