Southeast Colorado Parks

Branson School

Admire the brick stonework and enjoy the outdoor family amenities of this two-story school, built in 1923 to meet the needs of the booming Branson community. Two hundred grade and high school students attended this school in 1923-24, when the town’s population had peaked at about 1,000. Kids will enjoy burning off energy at the playground, and the public is welcome to use the tables, grills, and potable water available east of the basketball courts.



101 Saddlerock Drive
Branson, CO 81027
(719) 946-5531
Branson School Online

Hours of Operation
Outdoor grounds are open for public use, with first courtesy given to the students when school is in session.

Directions
From US Hwy 160 about 40 miles east of Trinidad take CO Hwy 389 about 10 miles south to Branson. Turn left (east) onto Saddlerock Drive, the first street in town. At the east end of the street, 2 blocks from the highway, you will see the two-story brick schoolhouse.

Visitor Services
Parking
Picnic Area


Travel Tips
A flyer “7 Things to Do While You’re Here in Branson,” ice cream, and refreshments are available at the historic schoolhouse (also a thrift/gift shop) just up the block on Saddlerock Drive, Fri.-Sun. in summer through September. Fuel up before leaving town for this remote area. Gas and food are 50 miles away in Trinidad or 45 miles away in Kim. Cell phone service is spotty.

Entrance Fees
No admission fee. Donations accepted





La Junta City Park

Take a stroll through La Junta’s shady city park and enjoy the craftsmanship of its many rustic stone structures constructed by Works Progress Administration (WPA) workers in the 1930s. Traditional construction methods, use of native stone, and simple functional design are characteristic traits of the WPA Rustic style stone walls, benches, and buildings that shape the park. Site improvements began in the underutilized park in 1933 under the Civil Works Administration and continued under the WPA until 1941. The lake, trees, and drives were part of the extensive landscaping for the WPA project, which provided much needed employment during the Great Depression.

Colorado Ave. and 10th Street
La Junta, CO 81050
(719) 384-5991


Directions
From US Hwy 50 turn south onto Colorado Ave. to enter the heart of La Junta’s downtown and go ten blocks to 10th Street. The city park (now called Blaine Park) extends along Colorado Ave. between 10th and 14th Streets.

Visitor Services
Parking
Restrooms
Picnic Area
ADA Accessibility

Designations
National Register Individual Listing

Travel Tips
The park includes a playground, restrooms, a small lake, pleasant drives and walking paths. While in La Junta, check out the many heritage attractions including the nearby Koshare Indian Museum and the Otero Museum, or take in a show at the Picketwire Center for Performing and Visual Arts or the historic Fox Theater. Entrance Fees
No admission fee.





Picture Canyon

Picture Canyon is a premiere heritage site that is not only renown for its unique petroglyphs but also for the abundant wildlife and birds that flock to the region every spring and fall. Picture Canyon is a part of the Comanche National Grasslands in the Carizzo Unit. Located 15 miles southwest of Campo the canyon borders the Oklahoma state line. Inside the canyon are over 12 miles of hiking trails, restroom and picnic facilities and the opportunity to ride, bike, or hike. Highlights inside the Picture and North Canyon areas are Ogam-like petroglyphs, homesteads, Crack Cave equinox site, Arch Rock, as well as several springs and seeps. Tours to Picture Canyon are offered by Heritage Journey Tours and include guiding to and around the site, area history and heritage, and interpretation at the site.
Forrest Service Road
Campo, CO 81029
(719) 643-5414
More Info

Hours of Operation
Year round.

Directions
From Springfield go south on Hwy 287 to County Rd M (about 18 miles). Go west on County Rd M for 8 miles to County Rd 18. Go south on County Rd 18 for 9 miles. Turn off at the Picture Canyon sign and go 2 miles to the campground area.


Visitor Services
Parking
Restrooms
Visitor Information
Picnic Area
Pet Area

Entrance Fees
Free





Red Shin Hiking Trail

The Red Shin Hiking Trail begins at the stilling basin below the dam and winds through the park to the Santa Fe Historic Site on the North shore of the reservoir. The trail is approximately 4.5 miles and provides excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing!

​The Legend of Red Shin
According to local legend, a Cheyenne warrior named Red Shin once lived in the Arkansas Valley sometime around 1833. Compelled by a quarrel with another warrior over an Indian maiden, Red Shin armed himself with two flintlock muskets, a tomahawk, bow and arrows, and butcher knives. He then took refuge atop a tall rock formation located to the north of present-day Lake Hasty Campground. Other warriors joined thedispute and quickly attacked Red Shin from the valley below. Shooting arrows at his attackers with great accuracy, Red Shin convinced the attacking warriors to give up their futile assault or their lives would soon be lost. Ever since, the Dakota Sandstone formation has been called Red Shin Standing Ground.

John Martin Reservoir State Park
30703 County Road 24
Hasty, CO 81044
(719) 829-1801
More Info






Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site

Drive 20 miles northeast of Eads to the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site. Here National Park Service guides will direct you to an overlook where you can view the place where 675 U.S. volunteers, led by Colonel John Chivington, launched a dawn attack on a village of Cheyennes and Arapahos who were camped under the protection of the American Flag. Over 160 Indian men, women and children were killed. Listen to one of the three 45-minute presentations given each day at the overlook (a 12 minute walk from the parking lot), or simply ask questions of the NPS guides.




55411 County Road W
Chivington, CO 81036
(719) 438-5916
National Park Service-Sand Creek Massacre
SandCreek.com

Hours of Operation
Open daily April 1 to December 1 from 9am to 4pm.

Directions
The Sand Creek Massacre NHS is located approximately 25 miles northeast of Eads, CO. Follow Colorado State Highway 96 to it’s junction with either County Roads 54 or 59. Follow County Road 54 or 59 to their intersection with County Road W. The entrance is along County Road W one mile east of 54 or several miles west of 59. Both County Roads 54 and 59 have signs to the site.

Visitor Services
Parking
Restrooms
Visitor Information
Picnic Area

Designations
National Historic Landmark
National Register Individual Listing

Travel Tips
The Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site is located in an isolated area. When visiting, please bring water and appropriate outdoor clothing. Please stay on the walking trail at all times. Pets must be on a leash. There is no camping at the national historic site, but camping is available nearby.

Entrance Fees
Free




Vogel and Picket Wire Canyons

You can hike, bike or ride a horse to view the largest dinosaur track site in North America. On the trail to Picket Wire Canyon, pass walls resplendent with rock art and explore the Dolores Mission, the Old Rourke Ranch and remote cemeteries. Just off Hwy 109, on your way to Picket Wire Canyon, is the turn off for easier hiking at Vogel Canyon where you can follow the trails to a historic stage coach station near the Purgatoire River. In Vogel you can hike any one of the gentle two-mile loops and find abundant rock art.
National Forest Service Office
1420 E 3rd Street
La Junta, CO 81050
(719) 384-2181

http://www.fs.usda.gov

Hours of Operation
Open year round daily.

Directions
From La Junta, Colorado drive south on Highway 109 for 13 miles; turn right (west) on County Road 802 (David Canyon Road). For Vogel Canyon continue on CR 802 for 1.5 miles. Turn left (south) on Forest Service Road 505A for 1.5 miles to the Vogel Canyon parking lot. For Picket Wire go 8 miles on CR 802. Turn left (south) on County Road 25 and travel for 6 miles. Turn left at Picket Wire Corrals onto Forest Service Road 500A. Travel along Forest Service Road 500A for 3 miles, following the signs to Withers Canyon Trailhead. Park at Withers Canyon Trailhead parking loop.

Visitor Services
Parking
Picnic Area
Pet Area

Designations
National Register District
State Register of Historic Places

Travel Tips
Most visitors prefer to visit the area in the spring when wild flowers are blooming and late August, September, and October when temperatures in the area tend to be more moderate. The auto tour is the only motorized access into the canyons. Other ways to visit include hiking, mountain biking, or horseback riding. Because of the rugged terrain and long distances to various sites, visitors need to plan carefully for hot weather conditions by carrying ample water and leaving very early

Entrance Fees
None for hiking, mountain biking or horseback riding. Tours of Picket Wire Canyon are offered through the Recreation Fee Demonstration Program of the USDA Forest Service. They cost $15 per adult and $7.50 per child. Due to rough roads, visitors will need their own four-wheel drive high clearance vehicle.





Two Buttes Dam & Wildlife Area

The 1909 dam is significant for its engineering and as an intact example of a turn-of-the-century earthen dam built to aid in irrigating portions of southeastern Colorado. The dam was built before machinery with horses, mules and hand labor. Remains of the canal that delivered water many miles for farming use are still visible above the road through the adjacent Two Buttes State Wildlife Area that lies at the foot of the dam. Locally known as the “Black Hole,” the deep water between the cliffs remains a vital source of water (and popular swimming hole) even when the reservoir is dry.



County Rd 30(21 miles NE of Springfield)
Two Buttes, CO 81084
(719) 336-6600


Hours of Operation
Dawn to Dusk

Directions
From Springfield drive 18 miles north to Road B.5. Turn east and drive 3 miles to the dam and wildlife area. From Hwy 116 East, 10 miles north of Springfield, go about 5 mi. east to County Road 30, which also leads to the dam but some noodling around may required. (The dam is much closer than the buttes off in the distance north ahead of you).

Visitor Services
Parking
Pet Area

Designations
State Register of Historic Places

Travel Tips
Fill up with fuel before leaving Springfield or Lamar, expect long distances and remote dirt roads.

Entrance Fees
Division of Wildlife property; Habitat Stamps or Parks Pass may be required.





Willow Creek Park

Take a stroll in shady Willow Creek Park and enjoy the fine craftsmanship of Colorado’s first Civil Works Administration (CWA) project and Lamar’s first planned park. Begun in 1933, work on the park continued under the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) and completed under the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in 1938. The project provided employment to hundreds of local men. Explore the various hand-crafted stone structures in the 28-acre park including the Boy Scout Kiva, caretaker’s house, outdoor fireplace, small bridge, gates, walls, and “Pike’s Tower” located at the mouth of Willow Creek and named for explorer Zebulon Pike, who stopped in the area.




Parkview Avenue & Parkway Drive
Lamar, CO 81052
(719) 336-2774


Hours of Operation
Outdoor Site

Directions
From US Hwy 50/385 (aka E. Olive Street in Lamar) head south on 4th Street 10 blocks to the end of the street at East Parkway Drive. Turn east (left) and go one block to Parkview Avenue. You are at the north end of the park, near the swimming pool. The park stretches along the east side of Parkview Ave. south to Memorial Drive.

Visitor Services
Parking
Restrooms
Picnic Area

Designations
National Register Individual Listing
State Register of Historic Places

Travel Tips
Located near the southeast edge of Lamar, Willow Creek Park is bordered by Parkview Avenue to the west, Willow Valley Road to the east, and the Willow Creek Bridge to the south. The Lamar Swimming Pool is located at the north end of Willow Creek Park. Pike’s Tower is located at the south end of the park.

Entrance Fees
Free.




Springfield City Park

In 1939, the Springfield City Council applied for a WPA project to improve Springfield’s City Park. The total project cost was around $10,000. The city provided the stone and the WPA provided the project labor. The project included the construction of stone walls, stone benches and tables, stone ovens, a stone wading pool, flower beds, and toilets.






Tipton St. and 4th Ave
Springfield, CO 81073
(719) 523-6524

Hours of Operation
Open all day. Closed 10 p.m.-6 a.m.

Directions
The park is located west of Main St. along Tipton St. in Springfield.

Visitor Services
Parking
Pet Area
Picnic Area
Restrooms

Travel Tips
Nice place for picnic, playgrounds and lots of shade.