Hike through primitive canyons rimmed with juniper and piñon pine. Ski on glassy waters of a dozen reservoirs and lakes. Connect firsthand with the dramatic history that fills Colorado’s past. Embrace the warmth you’ll find in small towns along the way.
Discover the other Colorado. It's waiting for you.
Someone once said "history is all around us", and no truer statement could be made of the Canyons & Plains of southeastern Colorado. Over 1/4 mile of dinosaur tracks—the largest Jurassic site in North America—gives a sense of the extraordinary creatures who roamed this land in prehistoric times. An abundance of mysterious, ancient petroglyphs left by Native Americans centuries ago can be found in the Comanche National Grasslands and John Martin Reservoir. Wandering from room to room or listening to any one of the volunteers working at Bent's Old Fort describe life in the 1840s provides an authentic glimpse into the reality of that era in time. Walking up the hill on the sacred land at Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site while an interpretive guide tells the story of that horrendous massacre provides a perspective—unheard anywhere else—on how history was forever changed on that day. A tour at Camp Amache allows a new depth of understanding of the price paid by Japanese Americans during World War II. Even the small towns you'll drive through on your tour of the region remind us of those days gone by.
These are the Canyons & Plains. No glitz, no glamour. Just authentic Colorado. Real, raw and off the beaten path.
Birding. Biking. Water skiing. Hiking. Kayaking. Backpacking. Dinosaur tracking. Swimming. Sailing. "Jet skiing was great." 9 lakes and John Martin, number two in the state. Camping. Canoeing. "Petroglyphs! They're how old?" No crowds. Lots of silence, more precious than gold. Fishing at night. Water like glass. "They come from all over for the wiper and bass." Watching the sunset. No sound of cars. Watching the wildlife. Billions of stars.
Leave the city behind. You should give it a try. See the canyons and plains beneath a big Western sky.
When, in 1873, a homesteader named Brewster M. Higley VI wrote a poem named “My Western Home,” and his friend Daniel Kelley, a Civil War veteran, wrote the music for the poem that became “Home on the Range,” there is every likelihood that they were writing of the deer and antelope found in the canyons and plains.
Deer, antelope, bear, badgers, bobcats, big horn sheep, mountain lions, muskrats, elk... wildlife is abundant in the canyons and plains. Taking the time to stop and watch reminds us of what’s important. It can even feel like you’re home. On the range.