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.
Prowers, Bent, Baca, and Kiowa Counties can boast over 400 species of birds that will visit, reproduce, or even stay all year in these counties. It is a Mecca for both the serious birder and the casual observer. Birding is a perfect activity for individuals and families. Each county has at least one hotspot place that is notorious for finding not only expected species but also the occasional rare or unexpected flyer.
Camping and Boating in Southeastern Colorado
No car horns. No screeching tires. No traffic jams, no neighbors partying (or arguing) into the wee hours, no streetlights that block out the night sky or any of those other things that make us think, “Wow, I need to get away.” Boating on glassy, uncrowded waters during the day and camping in the great outdoors at night. It’s remote. It’s real. It’s raw. And nothing says “authentic Colorado” like going to sleep with a billion stars overhead.
Comanche National Grassland
Even if a single book had never been written about the Comanche National Grassland, its history would still be known, for the land, itself, tells its own tale. Under the management of the US Forest Service, these 435,000 acres are divided into two separate, independent sites—one by La Junta and the other south of Springfield—both of which offer an array of experiences for people of all ages and levels of ability. Those adventurers who trek through these lands will find themselves on a remarkable and memorable journey through time.
John Martin Reservoir State Park
Located 100 miles east of Pueblo on the historic Santa Fe Trail in the canyons and plains of southeastern Colorado, the uncrowded, clear, cool, blue waters of John Martin Reservoir provide some of the best boating, fishing and birdwatching in the state. For those who prefer terra firma, biking and hiking trails offer ample opportunities to watch wildlife and ponder the meaning of petroglyphs etched into the rocks by Native Americans who, centuries before, passed through as they followed the buffalo. Two different campgrounds are also available for those who want to cap off their outdoor adventure with a peaceful night's sleep beneath the stars. John Martin Reservoir State Park is one of the largest reservoirs in all of Colorado and qualifies as a "must do" on the outdoor adventurist list.