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.
For 51 years, Picketwire Center for the Performing and Visual Arts cast and crew members have been mounting local theatrical productions from character driven dramas to large scale musical productions to original plays by local playwrights. Equally remarkable is the theater itself: an 85-year-old, restored stone building built by local men as part of the Great Depression's WPA.
While in La Junta, take the time to check out the Picketwire Center. Years later, you'll still find yourself saying, "Remember that night when we went to Picketwire?"
In 1931, a spring day started with warmer temperatures and blue skies. By day's end, a massive blizzard had paralyzed the High Plains, marooning 20 young children and their bus driver in a broken down bus in the middle of nowhere. The ordeal lasted 33 long, life changing hours, resulting in a story of that captured hearts across the nation. That story still has an impact today.
In a small town like La Junta, it's very unusual to have such a quality, interesting museum as the Koshare Museum and Trading Post. But then, the Koshare Museum is a very unusual place.