2024/2024 Explore Colorado Magazine

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Limon •
Brush Burlington Fort Morgan Haxtun Holyoke Julesburg Ovid Sedgwick Sterling Stratton
Plus More to Explore!
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Welcome to the Pioneering Plains of Colorado

The Pioneering Plains of Colorado is a captivating region that offers a blend of history, charm and adventure. This area, comprising towns like Akron, Atwood, Brush, Burlington, Cheyenne Wells, Crook, Elbert, Elizabeth, Flagler, Fort Morgan, Holyoke, Hugo, Idalia, Julesburg, Kiowa, Kit Carson, Limon, Ovid, Sterling, Stratton, Wray, Yuma and Sedgwick, is a treasure trove for travelers seeking an authentic and off-thebeaten-path experience.

Why Stay?

The Pioneering Plains, with its open skies and vast landscapes, provides a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Each town has its unique allure, from the historical landmarks in Fort Morgan to the picturesque farmlands of Holyoke. The region’s hospitality shines through in its charming bed-andbreakfasts, cozy motels and unique guest ranches. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a family-friendly vacation, the Plains offer a variety of accommodations to suit every preference.

Why Explore?

The region is steeped in history and natural beauty. Fort Morgan, for example, boasts a rich heritage with its ties to the famed jazz musician Glenn Miller, who spent his formative years here. The Overland Trail Museum in Sterling is a must-visit for history buffs, featuring artifacts, exhibits and buildings that chronicle the region’s past.

For outdoor enthusiasts, the Plains are a paradise. The Pawnee National Grassland, near Sterling, offers hiking, bird-watching and stargazing opportunities. The wide-open

spaces and quiet trails are perfect for those seeking solitude and a deep connection with nature.

Why Eat?

Food lovers will delight in the culinary offerings of the Pioneering Plains. Local establishments serve up hearty, farm-to-table fare that highlights the region’s agricultural bounty. In Brush, you’ll nd the Drover’s Cafe, known for its delicious homestyle cooking and friendly atmosphere. Burlington’s Dish Room offers a modern twist on classic American dishes, using locally sourced ingredients. Don’t miss out on the seasonal farmers’ markets, where you can taste and purchase fresh produce, homemade jams and artisanal cheeses. These markets not only provide a taste of the region but also support local farmers and producers.

Why Shop?

Shopping in the Pioneering Plains is a unique experience, with each town offering a variety of local shops and boutiques. In downtown Sterling, Sterling Creatives is an artists’ cooperative that features the work of talented

local artists and artisans that can make a great memento of your visit. Elizabeth’s quaint Main Street is lined with antique stores and specialty shops, perfect for nding one-of-akind treasures.

For those interested in western wear and gear, Limon’s Ranchland Western Store offers everything from cowboy boots to handcrafted leather goods. The region’s shops provide a chance to take home a piece of Colorado’s pioneer spirit.

Hidden Gems and Interesting Facts

• Akron: Known for its annual “Akron Ram Sale,” a major event for sheep farmers.

• Cheyenne Wells: Home to the Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Company Museum, showcasing vintage communication equipment.

• Julesburg: Julesburg has the unusual distinction of having existed in four different locations. The current and fourth Town of Julesburg is known as the “Gateway to Colorado. Julesburg is also Colorado’s only home station for the Pony Express.


The Pioneering Plains of Colorado is more than just a collection of small towns; it’s a vibrant region brimming with history, culture and natural beauty. Whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in the past, enjoy the great outdoors, savor local cuisine or shop for unique nds, the Plains offer an unforgettable experience. So, turn the pages of this guide to learn more about the fascinating aspects of our region and keep this guide handy as you set out to explore where the spirit of the Old West meets the charm of small-town America.

4 EXPLORE COLORADO – The Pioneering Plains | 2024
Explore is produced annually by the Akron News-Reporter, Brush News-Tribune, Burlington Record, Fort Morgan Times, Julesburg Advocate and Sterling Journal-Advocate. ©2024 Prairie Mountain Media. Visit ExploreColoradoMag.com for more information. Akron Brush Burlington Fort Morgan Haxtun Holyoke Julesburg Limon Ovid Sedgwick Sterling Stratton | Plus More to Explore! ARTS ENTERTAINMENT | FESTIVALS FAIRS | HISTORY HERITAGE | OUTDOOR ADVENTURE Explore. 2024-2025 THE PIONEERING PLAINS OF EASTERN COLORADO FREE Explore. The Pioneering Plains of
We invite you to stay, dine, shop and explore! ON THE COVER: Julesburg Pony Express Annual Re-Ride. (Photo courtesy: Larry Patchett).



We invite you to visit, shop, recreate, dine and stay in Brush!

Quality Schools

Brush School District supports learning through Career and Technical Education programs which prepare students to enter the workforce, military, or higher education. Being a Beetdigger is a point of pride in Brush.

Quality People

In Brush, you will find a diverse population with safe neighborhoods, friendly and inviting businesses, supportive local government and elected officials, and an open invitation to partake in Hometown Happiness.

Quality Community

Residents of Brush enjoy an open and tightknit community with abounding recreation opportunities ranging from Doty Pond to The Course at Pettys Park, a great library with open space, and events throughout the year to meet neighbors.

5 2024 | The Pioneering Plains – EXPLORE COLORADO
Come to Brush, Colorado. Enjoy Homegrown Happiness. Brush
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Food + Drink

Savor the Plains

9 culinary hotspots to taste while in Eastern Colorado

Embark on a flavorful journey across the Eastern Plains of Colorado, where local cuisine and spirited beverages paint a delicious narrative of this diverse region. From quaint eateries and spirited distilleries to scenic wineries and rustic ranch experiences, each stop adds a unique taste to your travel palette. Follow this guide to the top food and drink destinations that promise more than just a meal, but a memorable part of your Eastern Colorado adventure.

The Dish Room, Burlington

Immerse yourself in the charm of The Dish Room, a 2023 Trip Advisor Traveler’s Choice, known for its handcrafted cuisine including house ground burgers, hand cut steaks, homemade bread and farm to table ingredients featuring locally sourced produce and family raised Wagyu/Angus & locally raised Berkshire pork. This eatery provides a upscale casual and inviting atmosphere perfect for food enthusiasts. 218 S. Lincoln St, Burlington, thedishroomburlington.com.

Meridiem Spirits, Elizabeth

Step into Meridiem Spirits and discover a world of artisanal vodka and spirits crafted with care. This small-batch distillery is celebrated for its interactive cocktail workshops, making it a vibrant spot for spirit lovers to gather. 72 N Banner St., Elizabeth.

Cables Pub & Grill, Fort Morgan

Enjoy a laid-back dining experience at Cables Pub & Grill, where the menu boasts flavorful burgers and a robust selection of beers. This friendly pub offers the ideal setting to unwind after a day exploring Fort Morgan. 431 Main St, Fort Morgan.


Road Vines & Wines, Fort Morgan

Relax at Country Road Vines & Wines, where the peaceful vineyard scenery complements an exquisite selection of wines, including a standout Merlot. It’s the perfect place for a serene afternoon tasting. 16985 County Road 21, Fort Morgan.

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The Dish Room. (Photo courtesy: The Dish Room). Hootenannies. (Photo courtesy: Hootenannies). Lucy’s Place. (Photo courtesy: Lucy’s Place).

Retail + Shopping Retail Retreat

Our standout picks for gifts, decor & treats

Eastern Colorado might be known for its expansive plains and quiet towns, but it also offers unique shopping experiences that are worth the detour. From bespoke cakes and charming home décor to creative art pieces and vintage treasures, there’s a store for every shopper. Here are our top picks that promise a memorable retail adventure.

Sweetly Vintage, Sterling

Sweetly Vintage in Sterling provides

8 EXPLORE COLORADO – The Pioneering Plains | 2024
Sweetly Vintage. (Photo courtesy: Sweetly Vintage).

a nostalgic journey through carefully curated vintage clothing, accessories, and home decor. This boutique’s charming collection inspires fashionistas and decorators alike to add a touch of past elegance to their modern lives. Each item in the store has its own history and character, making your shopping experience both unique and personal. Sweetly Vintage is a treasure trove for anyone looking to add some vintage flair to their wardrobe or home. 108 Main St., Sterling, sweetlyvintage.com.

Sterling Creatives Art Cooperative and Gallery, Sterling

Located in downtown Sterling, this cooperative is more than just a gallery; it’s a vibrant hub for local artists and art enthusiasts. Sterling Creatives showcases a diverse range of art from paintings and sculptures to handmade jewelry and crafts. The gallery not only sells art but also encourages visitors to engage with local culture and creativity. A visit here supports local artisans and offers an intimate look at the region’s artistic talent.129 N 3rd St.,

Suite 8, Sterling, sterlingcreativesl. wixsite.com/ sterlingcreatives.

Oak Tree / Heidi’s Cakes, Holyoke

Nestled in the heart of Holyoke, Oak Tree combined with Heidi’s Cakes offers a delightful mix of retail and gourmet treats. Shoppers can browse through a variety of home décor, gifts, and accessories, and then sweeten the experience with a custom cake or a batch of freshly baked cookies. This local gem is a perfect stop for those looking to indulge in shopping and sweets under one roof. Whether you’re seeking a unique gift or a personal treat, Oak Tree / Heidi’s Cakes caters to all.141 S. Interocean, Holyoke,


Each of these destinations offers a distinct slice of Eastern Colorado life, making them essential stops for travelers in the region. Whether you are a local or just passing through, these shops provide a blend of products and experiences that can’t be found elsewhere.

9 2024 | The Pioneering Plains – EXPLORE COLORADO 324 W. Main St. Sterling 970-522-0204 Dine-in, Take-out Deliver y with DoorDash Happy Hour 4-6 pm & 9-Close Wings, Burgers, Steaks & more Sterling’s Premier Bar And Grill!
VAL HEIM P.G.A. Professional Jessica Fiscus Special Events Coordinator Brent Fiscus Club Director www.river viewgolf.com 13064 Co Rd 370, Sterling, CO 80751 314 Chestnut St, Sterling, CO 80751 970-441-0429
Sterling Creatives Art Cooperative and Gallery. (Photo courtesy: Sterling Creatives Art Cooperative/Gallery).

The City of Living Trees

13 must-see sculptures while in Sterling by local sculptor Bradford Rhea

(Photo courtesy:

Often referred to as “The City of Living Trees,” the city of Sterling stands as a beacon of artistry. This unique title owes much to local sculptor Bradford Rhea, whose original wood carvings transformed Sterling into a veritable outdoor gallery that attracts visitors from across the nation.

Rhea, who calls Merino home and was born in Denver, began his sculpting career in the mid-1980s after studying at Marble, Colorado’s Marble/marble symposium. Fascinated by the way natural materials can be shaped to convey deep emotions and stories, Rhea turned the trees damaged in a 1986 tornado and ravaged by Dutch elm disease into stunning sculptures. His works, many of which have been replaced with bronze casts to preserve them, are now integral parts of Sterling’s landscape, with each piece inviting viewers to ponder its cultural and ecological narratives.

Here’s a guide to some of Rhea’s must-see sculptures in Sterling:

1 Metamorphosis

Located at 102 N. Riverview Road, this sculpture symbolizes transformation and growth, reflecting the community’s resilience and adaptability.

2 Scion

At 110 N. Riverview Road (Logan County Justice Center), Scion represents the dauntless tenacity of those who survive life on the Plains. The winged appearance symbolizes our flight through time and the need for cohesiveness in the community.

3 Windlace

Found inside the Sterling Public Library at 420 N. Fifth St., portrays the evolution of women’s roles in our society, as the figures gradually and gracefully ascend.

4 Seraphim

The second sculpture inside the Sterling Public Library at 420 N. Fifth St. was inspired by Revelation 4:6, with the four living

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Sterling Journal-Advocate). Arts + Entertainment

creatures covered in eyes watching over the town’s inhabitants.

5 Tiger

Tiger, located at Sterling High School, 407 W. Broadway St., pays homage to the school’s mascot, embodying the spirit and pride of the local community.

6 Dream Redeemer

At Prairie Park, 808 Elm St., this work encourages onlookers to hold onto their dreams, featuring surreal, clockwork elements that captivate and inspire.

7 The Mask

Situated inside the Dorothy Corsberg Theater at Northeastern Junior College, The Mask invites viewers to look beyond facades, probing the depth of human emotions and the complexities of identity.

8 Plainsman Pete

As the mascot for Northeastern Junior College, located at 100 College Ave., this sculpture celebrates the pioneering spirit of the region’s early settlers.

9 Jack

Found on the campus of Northeastern Junior

College, this lifelike sculpture created in 2004 pays tribute to a beloved, long-time employee of the college and champion of Colorado agriculture, Jack Annan.

10 Skygrazers

Found at Columbine Park, this piece depicts giraffes with necks extended, heads reaching for the expansive field of blue that is the beautiful Colorado sky.

11 The Minuteman

Located at Columbine Park, The Minuteman reflects the valor and readiness of soldiers, a tribute to those who serve and protect.

12 The Dreamer

At Pioneer Park on Highway 14, The Dreamer embodies the joy and vitality of youth, a fitting piece for its setting overlooking a playground.

13 Full Swing

This playful sculpture at 17408 CO-14 (Sky Ranch Golf Course) depicts the focus and determination of a golfer mastering their stroke.

Each sculpture is more than just a visual treat; it’s a node in the narrative web that Rhea weaves through the city, blending natural beauty with human creativity. Sterling’s sculptures offer a profound journey through themes of life, resilience and transformation.

For travelers and residents alike, a stroll through Sterling is a reminder of how art can deeply influence a community’s identity and spirit. Sterling, with its living trees and sculptures, invites all to appreciate the quieter, yet profoundly moving, intersections of nature and human ingenuity.

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Dream Redeemer.
Discover Your Creative Escape: Grand Lake Beckons! Embark on Your Upcoming Creative Escape: Explore Our Diverse Lineup of Artistic Events! Experience the Heartbeat of Grand Lake: Where Nature Inspires Creativity! Scan the QR code to discover a world of artistic wonders and cultural events in our vibrant town. From majestic landscapes to enriching creative experiences, Grand Lake Creative District celebrates the fusion of natural beauty and artistic expression. Join us in shaping a thriving year-round economy while immersing yourself in the magic of creativity Your journey starts here More Information: www.GrandLakeCreativeDistrict.org/creative-escape-21/ Art Classes Performing Arts Events Lodging Deals 100 E 3rd St , Julesburg, CO 80737 (970) 474-3341 www.pwcbank .com PAOLI FARMERS CO-OP ELEVATOR CO. www.paolifarmerscoop.com | 970-774-7234 Certified Seed Cleaner Westbred Certified Seed Wheat Locally Owned Locally Controlled
(Photo courtesy: Sterling Journal-Advocate).

Arts + Entertainment

More Arts + Entertainment Attractions To Explore...

The Hippodrome Theatre and Arts Center, Julesburg

The Hippodrome Theatre and Arts Centre in Julesburg stands as a cultural beacon in Eastern Colorado, offering a blend of cinema, live theater and special events. This historic venue, dating back to 1919, provides a nostalgic setting with modern entertainment choices, from latest films to vibrant theatrical productions. Perfect for arts lovers and families, the Hippodrome promises a captivating experience in a quaint, volunteer run, community-focused environment. Visit for a unique blend of history and contemporary arts that enrich the local cultural landscape.

215 Cedar St, Julesburg, CO 80737 • (970) 474-9977 • hippodromeartscentre.com

Barn Quilts Tour, Morgan County

Discover the colorful heritage of Morgan County through its Barn Quilts Tour. This self-guided journey showcases over 30 vibrant quilt patterns displayed on barns and buildings across the county. Each quilt block tells a story, celebrating the area’s agricultural history and the artistry of local quilters. Ideal for a leisurely drive, this tour offers a picturesque glimpse into rural life and the community's creative spirit. Don't miss this unique blend of art, history and scenic beauty that makes Morgan County a must-visit destination. visitmorgancountycolorado.com/things_to_do/barn-quilts • mcbarnquilts.blogspot.com

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Lauck family barn in Morgan County (Photo courtesy:Fort Morgan Times).

Friends and food at Cables Pub & Grill

Enjoy delicious half-pound burgers, gour met pizza, fresh sandwiches and meal-sized salads at this long time favor ite spot, located in For t Morgan for 25 years and in Greeley for 49 years. Watch your team win on one of the big screen TVs with fr iends and order a pint. We have over 25 local and national brews and a full ser vice bar so ever yone can celebrate

“Where Friends M eet! ”

11 am-11 pm cablespubandgr ill.com 431 Main St For t Morgan, CO 970-867-6144

59th Ave


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NORTHEASTERN COLORADO’S FINEST 9-HOLE COURSE 970-842-5470 VISIT petteysparkgolf.com TO BOOK A TEE TIME Immediately Following the Rodeo AMUSEMENT ENTERTAINMENT T JULY 21 - 27 RECKLESS KELLY E SaturdayConcert Wild West Show with Rider & Bethany Kiesner Tickets can be purchased online at coloradoboxoffice.com FRIDAY 26TH

Family-Friendly Destinations

The Pioneering Plains of Colorado offer a unique blend of history, wildlife and family-friendly attractions that make for an unforgettable trip. From exploring the rich heritage of Old Town Museum to the exhilarating experience at Julesburg Dragstrip, these destinations provide something for everyone. Whether you’re an animal lover or just looking for a fun family outing, the Eastern Plains have you covered.

Old Town Museum, Burlington

Step back in time at Old Town Museum, a living history museum that showcases Burlington’s pioneer roots. Visitors can explore historic buildings, including a general store and a one-room schoolhouse, all meticulously preserved. The museum offers a glimpse into the daily lives of early settlers, making it a must-visit for history enthusiasts.

14 EXPLORE COLORADO – The Pioneering Plains | 2024 JASON BOLAND & THE STRAGGLERS Pioneer Days Saturday Aug. 17 Old Town MuseuM Burlington Co live in concert! LIVE CANCAN SHOWS j GUNFIGHTS @ HIGH NOON d 2 P.M. EVERY SATURDAY THROUGH AUGUST 17TH Call us at (719) 346-7382 JUNE 1ST & 22ND July 20TH August 10TH Wild west dinner theatre dates Attractions
Glenn Miller Park in Fort Morgan. (Photo: Fort Morgan Times).

420 S. 14th St., Burlington, oldtownburlington.com

The Wild Animal Sanctuary, Keenesburg

The Wild Animal Sanctuary is dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating abused and neglected wildlife. Visitors can observe lions, tigers, bears and other rescued animals in spacious habitats, offering an educational and awe-inspiring experience for all ages. 2999 County Road 53, Keenesburg, 303.536.0118, wildanimalsanctuary.org

Glenn Miller Memorial Park, Fort Morgan

Named after the famous big band musician Glenn Miller, who was born in Clarinda, Iowa, and raised in Fort Morgan, this park honors his legacy. The park features beautiful green spaces, a memorial plaque, and a playground, making it a great spot for a family picnic or a leisurely afternoon. East Beaver Avenue and Main St, Fort Morgan, cityoffortmorgan.com.

Pope Farms, Wiggins

Pope Farms offers a range of family activities, including a corn maze, pumpkin patch, and farm-themed playground. It’s a perfect destination for a day of outdoor fun, with seasonal events ensuring there’s always something new to experience. 19502 CR 3, Wiggins, popefarmscornmaize.com

Julesburg Dragstrip, Julesburg

Thrill-seekers and motorsport enthusiasts will love Julesburg Dragstrip, the oldest, continually operating dragstrip in the nation. Hosting races from April to October, the

dragstrip offers an adrenaline-pumping experience and a chance to see some of the fastest cars in action.

US-138, Julesburg, julesburgdragracing.com

Downtown Brush Walking Tour, Brush

Take a leisurely stroll through history with the Downtown Brush Walking Tour. This selfguided tour highlights 12 historic buildings, each with its own story. It’s a delightful way to explore the charming town of Brush and learn about its architectural heritage. brushcolo.com

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Old Town Museum in Burlington. (Photo: Burlington Record). The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg. (Photo courtesy: Wild Animal Sanctuary). Julesburg Dragstrip, Julesburg. (Photo courtesy: Julesburg Advocate).
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Sterling Creative District, Sterling

Sterling Creative District, which is the only certified Colorado Creative District in northeast Colorado and encompasses a wide variety of creatives, such as Sacred Matter, home of Sterling’s premier glass blowers. The Logan County Arts League (LOCAL), which manages the district, also holds a variety of events throughout the year, including The Art of BBQ and July Jamz,


Rocky Mountain Roosters, Calhan

Rocky Mountain Roosters is a premier hunting club offering pheasant, chukar, and quail hunting. With experienced guides, welltrained dogs, and beautiful terrain, it provides an exceptional hunting experience for both novices and seasoned hunters. 19184 County Rd 78, Calhan, rmroosters.com

Roaming the Plains A visit to Prairie Ridge Buffalo Ranch

While in Eastern Colorado, be sure to plan a visit to the Prairie Ridge Buffalo Ranch in Limon which offers a unique glimpse into the world of the American bison.

Ray and Debbie Thieman established Prairie Ridge Buffalo Ranch in 1999, initially as a modest hobby farm. Over the years, it has evolved into a sustainable buffalo ranch, now home to nearly 800 buffalo spanning various ages. The ranch has become a true family affair, with their daughter and son-inlaw, along with all 12 grandchildren, joining the operation to fulfill their vision of a multigenerational ranching enterprise.

The family is dedicated to preserving the heritage and natural behavior of these majestic creatures, the ranch provides an authentic experience that attracts both adventure seekers and conservation enthusiasts.

Visitors to Prairie Ridge are immediately struck by the vastness of the landscape, where large herds of buffalo roam freely. The ranch’s mission is rooted in sustainable practices that not only protect but also

nurture the environment and the bison. It’s a place where guests can learn about the intricate balance of ecosystems and the critical role bison play within them.

A tour of Prairie Ridge is a journey through history and nature. Guests can explore the ranch via guided tours that offer insights into bison behavior and the operational aspects of bison farming. These tours are educational and interactive, suitable for all ages, emphasizing the conservation efforts and the ecological benefits of bison grazing.

For those looking for a more handson experience, the ranch provides the opportunity for buffalo hunting. Conducted with strict adherence to ethical standards and conservation principles, these hunts are a way to manage the herd’s population and health. Hunters are guided by experienced ranchers, ensuring a respectful approach to the process, which is deeply ingrained in the ranch’s philosophy.

In addition to tours and hunting, Prairie Ridge Buffalo Ranch operates a meat sales business, allowing visitors to purchase bison

Fort Morgan Museum, Fort Morgan

Fort Morgan Museum offers a rich exploration of local history, from Native American artifacts to agricultural exhibits. The museum provides a comprehensive look at the development of Fort Morgan and its surrounding areas, making it a must-visit for history buffs. 414 Main St., Fort Morgan, fortmorgan.org/museum

Pawnee National Grassland, Ault

For nature lovers, Pawnee National Grassland offers stunning landscapes, hiking trails, and bird-watching opportunities. This vast expanse of prairie is home to a variety of wildlife and provides a peaceful retreat for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. 115 North 2nd Ave, Ault, fs.usda.gov/arp

meat directly from the source. This not only supports the ranch’s sustainability efforts but also lets guests enjoy a taste of the prairie. The meat is renowned for its flavor and nutritional benefits, making it a popular choice among health-conscious consumers.

A visit to Prairie Ridge Buffalo Ranch is not just a trip; it’s an immersion into the storied past and vibrant present of America’s great bison, offering a profound connection to the land and its original inhabitants. 2024 summer tours take place June 4 through the end of August. Bison Tours and Cookouts take place Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 6 to 8 p.m. Call 719.775.1502 to schedule and reserve your spot. 23001 County Road 201, Limon, prairieridgebuffalo.com

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Photo by Larry Patchett Pawnee Buttes at Pawnee National Grassland. (Photo: Fort Morgan Times).

Spinning Through Time

The Historic Kit Carson County Carousel

The Kit Carson County Carousel in Burlington stands as a cherished relic of American history and a beacon of craftsmanship. As one of fewer than 150 remaining wooden carousels from the nearly 2,500 carved in America between 1885 and the 1930s, this masterpiece offers a delightful journey back in time for visitors of all ages.

A Ride Through History

The Kit Carson County Carousel, built in

1905 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company, originally entertained guests at Elitch Gardens in Denver. In 1928, it was relocated to Burlington, where it has become an enduring symbol of community pride. Remarkably, this carousel is one of the few in the world that still boasts its original paint and nearly all its original parts, making it a rare gem for historians and carousel enthusiasts alike.

A Masterpiece of Craftsmanship

What sets the Kit Carson County Carousel apart is its exquisite craftsmanship. The

carousel features 46 hand-carved animals, including horses, giraffes, lions, and even a rare hippocampus (a mythical sea creature with the body of a horse and the tail of a fish). Each figure is a testament to the artistry and attention to detail of the early 20th-century carvers. The carousel is accompanied by a 1909 Wurlitzer Monster Military Band Organ, which fills the air with nostalgic melodies, enhancing the enchanting atmosphere.

A Must-Visit Attraction

Visitors to the Kit Carson County Carousel

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The Kit Carson County Carousel is more than just a ride; it is a journey into the past, a celebration of artistry, and a testament to the enduring appeal of simple pleasures.

are treated to more than just a ride; they experience a living piece of history. The carousel is housed in a round, red-domed building that adds to its old-fashioned charm. The ride itself is a brisk one, revolving at a speed that might surprise those accustomed to the slower carousels of today. This faster pace, combined with the rousing tunes from the Wurlitzer, creates an exhilarating experience reminiscent of a bygone era.

Beyond the Carousel

While the carousel is undoubtedly the star attraction, the Kit Carson County Carousel Museum offers additional insights into the carousel’s storied past. The museum features photographs, historical documents, and artifacts that chronicle the journey of this beloved amusement ride from its creation to its current home in Burlington. The museum also educates visitors about the broader

history of carousels in America, highlighting their cultural and artistic significance.

The Perfect Stop on the Eastern Plains

Burlington, located on the Eastern Plains of Colorado, provides a picturesque backdrop for the Kit Carson County Carousel. The town’s quaint charm and friendly atmosphere make it a welcoming destination for travelers. After enjoying the carousel, visitors can explore other local attractions, such as the Old Town Museum, which showcases the history and heritage of the area.

Why Visit?

The Kit Carson County Carousel is more than just a ride; it is a journey into the past, a celebration of artistry, and a testament to the enduring appeal of simple pleasures. For families, it offers a fun and educational outing. For history buffs, it provides a unique glimpse into America’s cultural heritage. For everyone, it promises a memorable experience that captures the magic and nostalgia of yesteryear.

Plan Your Visit

The Kit Carson County Carousel is located at 815 N. 15th St., Burlington, CO 80807. To plan your visit and learn more about this historic attraction, visit their website at kitcarsoncountycarousel.com. Whether you’re a local or a traveler passing through the Eastern Plains, the Kit Carson County Carousel is a must-see destination that will spin you back in time and leave you with lasting memories.

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The carousel features 46 hand-carved animals, including horses, giraffes, lions, and even a rare hippocampus (a mythical sea creature with the body of a horse and the tail of a fish).

Historical Attractions

Step Back in Time at Old Town Museum in Burlington

Are you ready to journey back to the early days of Burlington, Colorado, and experience the rich history of the region? Look no further than Old Town Museum, where history comes alive through a captivating collection of over 20,000 objects, photographs, and documents, most of which date back to the 1880s through the 1940s and belonged to the original residents of Burlington and its surrounding areas.

As you step onto the grounds of the Old Town Museum, you’ll be transported back in time by the sight of several meticulously preserved historic buildings. These architectural gems, relocated to the museum over the years, offer a glimpse into the past of Eastern Colorado.


It all began with the barn, a majestic structure built in 1937 and moved from Kanorado, Kansas, in a remarkable feat of engineering. Today, this iconic barn serves as more than just a relic of the past; it hosts weddings, corporate dinners, and various events, while also welcoming visitors daily as part of the museum tour.


The oldest building on the premises, the Depot, originally constructed in 1889 in Bethune, Colorado, by the Rock Island Railroad, is a testament to the area’s early transportation history. Inside, you’ll find relics such as an original blueprint from 1915 and a potbelly stove, offering a window into the past.


Step into the past as you explore this charming schoolhouse, built in 1911 near Cope, Colorado. Complete with desks dating back to 1889, this building provides insight into the educational practices of a bygone era.


Built in 1921 in Armel, Colorado, this quaint church features a sloping floor design, allowing all attendees to have a clear view of the minister. With its dark pews sourced from the German settlement community in Bethune, the church is a symbol of community and faith.


Experience the grandeur of early 20th-century living in this impressive house built in 1915 south of Vona, Colorado. With its original wallpaper and curtains adorning the sewing room, the Boese House offers a glimpse into the lives of its former inhabitants.

Old Town Museum isn’t just a place to admire artifacts; it’s also a hub of lively summer activities that the whole family can enjoy. From thrilling gunfighter shows and

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Can Can performances to melodramatic Wild West Dinner Theatre, there’s never a dull moment at Old Town. The Wild West Dinner Theatre has its summer dates set for June 1, June 22, July 20 and Aug. 10. Spots must be reserved; tickets cost $25 for adults, and $12 for children ages 4 to 11.

Old Town Museum is open Monday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., offering ample opportunities to explore its rich history and engage in exciting activities. For reservations, inquiries about special events, or to book tickets for the Wild West Dinner Theatre, simply call 800-288-1334.

Embark on a journey through time and immerse yourself in the fascinating history of Burlington, Colorado, at Old Town Museum. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a lover of immersive experiences, or simply seeking a unique adventure, Old Town promises an unforgettable visit lled with discovery and delight.

Old Town hosts three large community events each year. Pioneer Days is a living history festival style event complete with a working blacksmith shop, pony rides, chuckwagons and several attractions for kids and families. The museum caps off the last night of summer vacation with a concert on the lawn. This year will feature Texas red dirt music sensation Jason Boland & the Stragglers.

In the fall, the museum hosts Old Town Ghost Town, where it hands out more than 25,000 pieces of candy to area kids in two hours! And last but certainly not least is the Winter Wonderlights event that has quickly become the largest regional holiday light display. With more than 80,000 lights, live reindeer, horse drawn wagon rides, a live nativity complete with donkeys, and visits with the big guy himself, this event is a must-do during the holiday season!

420 S. 14th St., Burlington.

21 2024 | The Pioneering Plains – EXPLORE COLORADO
MUSEUMS of COLORADO’S EAST CENTRAL PLAINS colorado’s central plains Supported by the Enterprise Zone Marketing Grant www.PrairieDevelopment.com www.OurJourney.info


The Overland Trail Museum in Sterling is a comprehensive historical attraction that covers the pioneers’ journey westward. The museum’s detailed dioramas, artifacts, and period buildings provide a vivid depiction of life on the trail. 110 Overland Trail, Sterling, sterlingcolo.com/departments/parks_library_ and_recreation/overland_trail_museum.php


The Wray Museum offers a rich collection of artifacts and exhibits that celebrate the history and culture of Wray and the surrounding areas. Visitors can explore everything from prehistoric finds to 20th-century memorabilia. 205 E 3rd St, Wray, cityofwray.org/179/ Wray-Museum


Fort Sedgwick Museum interprets rails, trails and incredible tales of life on the eastern plains of Colorado. Fort Sedgwick, a former U.S. military post from 18641871 was featured in the film “Dances with Wolves” and provides a fascinating glimpse into the region’s military history. Julesburg was Colorado’s only Pony Express Home Station on the journey from St. Joseph to Sacramento. Three local museums include artifacts from prehistoric animals, Native Trails, California Trail, Overland Stage, Pony

Express, Transcontinental Railroad and the Lincoln Highway. 114 W. 1st St, Julesburg, townofjulesburg.com/page/museums


The Cheyenne Wells Jail offers a rare look at the rustic conditions of early 20th-century incarceration. This small, well-preserved jailhouse serves as a poignant reminder of the rough-and-tumble days of frontier justice. 151 S. 1st West Cheyenne Wells, townofcheyennewells.com.

Galloping Through History

The Pony Express and Julesburg’s Annual Re-Ride

Julesburg offers visitors a unique glimpse into the past with its rich Pony Express history and the annual Re-Ride event. The Pony Express, a legendary mail service that operated from April 1860 to October 1861, revolutionized communication across the United States. Riders traveled 1,966 miles from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California, relaying messages in just 10 days.

Julesburg, an essential stop on the Pony Express route, celebrates this historic legacy each June with the Pony Express Re-Ride. This event honors the courageous riders who braved treacherous conditions to deliver mail. Modern-day riders, dressed in authentic

period attire, retrace the original route, passing through Julesburg and other historic stations.

The Re-Ride spans ten days, replicating the original journey’s schedule. Participants exchange mailbags at designated stations, mirroring the Pony Express’s relay system. Spectators can witness these exchanges and participate in various educational activities that highlight the Pony Express’s impact on American history.

This year’s Re-Ride will take place from June 17 to 27. Julesburg, a town rich in pioneer history, offers an ideal setting to experience this living history event. Visitors can explore the local museums,


Located in Kiowa, the Elbert County Historical Society and Museum showcases the rich history of the county with exhibits ranging from Native American artifacts to pioneer settlements. The museum’s intimate setting allows for an engaging and educational experience. 515 Comanche St, Kiowa, elbertcountymuseum.org

attend presentations, and enjoy the festive atmosphere that accompanies the riders’ arrival.

For those interested in learning more about the Pony Express and the annual Re-Ride, visit the National Pony Express Association’s website at nationalponyexpress.org. This site provides detailed information on the event, including maps, schedules, and historical insights, ensuring an enriching experience for history enthusiasts of all ages.

23 2024 | The Pioneering Plains – EXPLORE COLORADO sedgwickcolorado.com/attraction
The Overland Trail Museum in Sterling. (Photo: Julesburg-Advocate).

Historical Attractions

Hauntingly Beautiful

Exploring Eastern Colorado’s towns now shrouded in mystery and history

Colorado’s Eastern Plains offer more than just sweeping landscapes; they house remnants of once-thriving towns now shrouded in mystery and history. Visiting these ghost towns provides a unique glimpse into the past, where abandoned buildings and silent streets tell stories of dreams and despair. Here are the top ghost towns you must visit.



Dearfield was once the largest African American homesteading settlement in Colorado. Founded in 1910 by Oliver T. Jackson, Dearfield at its peak was a thriving agricultural community. Visitors can stop and view the few remaining structures on the site, which is being considered for possible inclusion in the national parks system. 42468 US-34, Orchard, coloradoencyclopedia.org/article/dearfield


Keota is a mostly abandoned town located on the prairie in the Pawnee National Grasslands in Weld County. Established in the 1880s,

served as a cattle shipping point. By the 1970s, the town was largely abandoned. Today, you can walk through its deserted streets and see the old schoolhouse and other structures that stand as relics of a bygone era. Keota is located approximately 50 miles east of Fort Collins on County Road 103.


Founded in the early 1900s, Last Chance was a small agricultural hub. A fire in 2012 devastated the town, leaving behind charred remnants. Despite the tragedy, the town’s story is a testament to resilience and the unforgiving nature of the plains. Last Chance is located at the intersection of US Highway 36 and State Highway 71. coloradoencyclopedia.org/image/last-chancecolorado


Thurman was once a bustling settlement, established in the late 19th century. The town dwindled after the Dust Bowl. The remnants of the school and a few other buildings provide a hauntingly beautiful scene, perfect for history enthusiasts. County Roads 3 and CC, 9 miles south of Anton.


Aroya, founded in the early 20th century, was a stop along the Rock Island Railroad. The town was abandoned as the railroad declined. Visitors can see the old schoolhouse and several other buildings, offering a glimpse into the past. State Highway 94 near its junction with U.S. Highway 40/U.S. Highway 287


Karval, established in 1909, was once a thriving agricultural community. The town’s population dwindled post-Depression. Today, you can explore the remnants of old homesteads and imagine the lives of the

families who once called it home. County Rd E, Karval, lincolncountyco.us


Wild Horse was a lively stop on the Kansas Pacific Railway in the early 20th century. The decline of the railway led to the town’s abandonment. The remaining structures, including the general store and post office, provide a fascinating look at life in a railroad town. Hwy 287, Wild Horse, colorado.com


Summit Springs, located in Logan and Washington counties, was the site of a significant battle in 1869. The area is now a ghost town, with remnants of buildings and a monument commemorating the battle. It’s a site of both historical and archaeological interest. 6830 CO-63, Sterling, hmdb.org/m.asp?m=61997

24 EXPLORE COLORADO – The Pioneering Plains | 2024
One of the buildings remaining in Dearfield. (Photo courtesy: Hustvedt/wikimedia commons) Last Chance. (Photo courtesy: Kahnbarsst/wikimedia commons) An overview of the Battle of Summit Springs site, showing three of the monuments. (Photo courtesy: Jeffrey Beall/wikimedia commons)
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JUNE 9th

Ovid Days

JUNE 19th

Pony Express

ReRide & Seven Falls Tribal

Dancers at the Stretesky Pavillion.

Dinner begins at 5:30 p.m. and Dancers take the stage at 7 p.m.

JULY 4th

Hometown 4th of July in Julesburg

JULY 24th to 28th

Sedgwick County Fair at the Sedgwick County Fairgrounds in Julesburg


Cruise Night in Julesburg

Events start at 2 p.m. and the Cruise starts at 5:30 p.m.

AUGUST 17th & 18th

Tri State Hot Rod Revival

Hosted by the Julesburg Dragstrip


Harvest Festival in Sedgwick

27 2024 | The Pioneering Plains – EXPLORE COLORADO

Historical Attractions

Colorado State Register of Historic Properties

COLORADO STATE REGISTER of historic properties

elbert county


lincoln county

Courtesy: Eastern Colorado Council of Governments

28 EXPLORE COLORADO – The Pioneering Plains | 2024

Looking south, note the semi coming out from behind the bluff on I-76 to help understand the scale of the bluffs and their ability to conceal over 1,000 warriors.

to time.

One theory is that the center pivot location to the two wells that were known to have been present at Camp Rankin. Hopefully in the spring we can pursue this more.

A view to the south of the bluffs where F Company likely entered the sand hills in pursuit of the Native warriors. 24 Looking south, note the semi coming out from behind the bluff on I-76 to help understand the scale of the bluffs and their ability to conceal over 1,000 warriors.

The stage with its powerful set of horses was able to outrun the attack and dash the 6-7 miles due west to the stage station, Julesburg

Looking to the east, along County Road 28. It generally follows or parallels the Overland Train and Pony Express Route.

re and sounds of the battle. As a result, word of this second attack quickly reached Captain O’Brien. However, this time as day was breaking and civilians were under attack, Captain O’Brien ordered his troops to their saddles. Due to tastings from his regiment, he could muster less than 40 troopers to head to the defense of the wagon train. As he departed the post and headed east down the

Looking north towards the South Platte, in 1865, before the water was diverted agriculture and people, the Platte was much broader than it is today.

ahead of the warriors being chased. What happened next is unknown and how long the initial battle took is not known so we can only speculate that on seeing the other warriors the detachments halted to assess the situation. We do know, from George Bent, and the accounts of the 7th Iowa that moments later the entire sandbluffs south of the river came alive with warriors 1,200-1,500 in all from various bands of the Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Lakota. Shortly afterwards they descended on the three detachments in icting heavy casualties. By the time retreat was ordered and the detachments and Captain O’Brien behind them made it back to the wagon train site, where Colonel Summers had remained, the Company had already suffered 12 men killed

As they were in danger of being overrun, Captain O’Brien was told to return to the post and retrieve the artillery to help cover them on the entire units retreat back to the fort. He fought his way back, retrieved the artillery, and used it to help drive off the superior number of warriors so the remainder of the unit could escape back to the station and ultimately the post. Fighting their way back they took with them the civilians that remained in at the trains


flag pole that marks Our fieldwork in 2019 the right location.

Philo Holcomb, sometime in the late morning telegraphed to Denver the events as he knew them. His strength of the Cavalry was a little off as he was the operator at the stage station.

Looking at to the southwest from the Ovid road back across the field where the fort would have been and on to the sand bluffs beyond.

“JULESBURG, 7TH – A train was attacked this morning about three miles below this post by a band of Indians numbering seventy- ve. Two white men were killed and four wounded. Two Indians were killed. One hundred soldiers well -armed and mounted are now in pursuit. The Indians are retreating to the Bluffs. Particulars soon. HOLCOMB, Operator.”

the wagon train. In doing so, according to the letters home by members of F Company, the 7th Iowa pursued the warriors to the southeast an additional three or four miles up the bluffs and into the sand hills.

Looking south, note the semi coming out from behind the bluff on I-76 to help understand the scale of the bluffs and their ability to conceal over 1,000 warriors.

In their pursuit the broke

The bluffs have many fingers and saddles that can be used to hide warriors, this is the area we believe the 7th Iowa rushed into on that fateful morning as they pursued the warriors to the southeast coming from the stage station.

You can see at this point he had no idea of the complex attack orchestrated by the combined Tribal force. If not for the two over eager warriors that sprung the ambush before the cavalry was in the kill zone, it is likely the entire command would have been decimated. Instead of ending the day with 15 dead troopers, it might well have been 40-50 dead troopers, an overrun fort, with dozens of dead

One theory is that the the two wells that were present at Camp Rankin. spring we can pursue

Looking southeast from River Road. The stage station would have been to the left of the trees in the background and the post in the center right.

With Colonel Summers and Captain O’Brien retreating to the safety of their forts sod walls defended with two bastions and two mountain howitzers, the assembled Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Lakota Warriors were now free to secure their primary objective, the stores of

known parts of the First Battle of Julesburg
A view to the south of the bluffs where F Company likely entered the sand hills in pursuit of the Native warriors. 24 Looking south, note the semi coming out from behind the bluff on I-76 to help understand the (Photo courtesy: Ray Sumner). The bluffs have many ngers and saddles that can be used to hide warriors, this is the area we believe the 7th Iowa rushed into on that fateful morning as they pursued the warriors to the southeast coming from the stage station. (Photo courtesy: Ray Sumner).

To view larger copies of the maps, visit ExploreColoradoMag.com. (Courtesy: ColoradoDirectory.com).


Explore Eastern Colorado’s Pioneering Plains: Scenic & Historic Byways

Embark on a captivating journey through Eastern Colorado’s rich history, stunning landscapes, and charming towns along its scenic and historic byways. ese picturesque routes reveal fascinating

stories, hidden gems, and breathtaking vistas. Prepare for an enchanting adventure through Colorado’s Pioneering Plains.

Highway 52 / Pawnee Pioneer Trail

Scenic Byway

Highway 52, part of the

Pawnee Pioneer Trails

Scenic Byway, o ers a mesmerizing journey through Colorado’s history and natural beauty. Stretching from Sterling to Ault on Highway 14 and along Highway 52 to Fort Morgan, this

route retraces the steps of Native Americans, pioneers, fur trappers, and settlers across the open plains.

Characterized by striking sandstone towers called Pawnee Buttes, the byway’s landscape contrasts with the

34 EXPLORE COLORADO – The Pioneering Plains | 2024

surrounding prairie. Outdoor enthusiasts can hike the four-mile Pawnee Buttes Trail, mountain bike, or picnic. Wildlife, including pronghorn antelope, mule deer, coyotes, and various bird species, makes birding popular in the Pawnee National Grasslands.

South Platte River Trail Byway

e 19-mile South Platte

River Trail Byway connects Julesburg and Ovid in northeastern Colorado. is route traces the historic path of the South Platte River, the Pony Express, Transcontinental Railroad, and Lincoln Highway. Fascinating attractions include the Fort Sedgwick Museum and the restored Julesburg Depot.


• To make your journey unforgettable, follow these tips:

• Plan your route and research attractions ahead of time to discover hidden gems.

• Check the weather forecast and road conditions before departing.

• Pack a picnic or stop at local eateries for regional fare.

• Bring a camera to capture stunning landscapes and picturesque towns.

• Take your time and immerse yourself in the stories and beauty of Eastern Colorado’s Pioneering Plains.

• Embrace the open road and breathe in the fresh air while exploring the wonders of Colorado’s scenic and historic byways, where the spirit of the Pioneering Plains remains vibrant.

35 2024 | The Pioneering Plains – EXPLORE COLORADO
To view larger copies of the maps, visit ExploreColoradoMag.com. (Courtesy: ColoradoDirectory.com).

Serene Beauty

Top parks for birdwatching, recreation and nature

The Eastern Plains of Colorado offer a tranquil escape into nature’s serene beauty, far from the bustling cities and mountain crowds. This region, characterized by vast grasslands, rolling hills, and shimmering reservoirs, boasts some of the state’s most picturesque and least crowded parks. From birdwatching havens to historical landmarks, each park provides unique experiences for nature lovers and adventurers alike.


Brush State Wildlife Area is a sanctuary for bird enthusiasts and anglers. Its serene atmosphere and rich history of wildlife conservation make it a prime spot for nature photography and fishing. The area is teeming with diverse bird species, offering a peaceful retreat into nature. 29235 County Road S, Brush, coloradobirdingtrail.com/site/brushstate-wildlife-area.


Pawnee National Grasslands offers sweeping vistas of open prairies and the iconic Pawnee Buttes. This historic area is ideal for hiking and wildlife viewing, showcasing the unique flora and fauna of Colorado’s high plains. The solitude and expansive landscapes provide a serene and contemplative experience. 115 N 2nd Ave, Ault, fs.usda.gov/recarea/ arp/recarea/?recid=32178.

36 EXPLORE COLORADO – The Pioneering Plains | 2024 Outdoors
Jumbo Reservoir (Photo: Julesburg Advocate).


Jumbo Reservoir State Wildlife Area is a fisherman’s paradise, known for its abundant fish species and scenic waterside views. The area is also great for camping and boating, with its tranquil waters offering a relaxing backdrop for outdoor activities. 24000 County Road 95, Julesburg, cpw.state.co.us/swa/ JumboReservoir


Jackson Lake State Park is often called an “oasis on the plains.” It offers swimming, boating, and camping facilities, making it a popular family destination. The park is a designated International Dark Sky Park, making it ideal for star gazers. The park’s history as a pioneer recreation area adds a layer of charm to its natural beauty. 26363 County Road 3, Orchard, cpw.state.co.us/ placestogo/Parks/jacksonlake


North Sterling State Park features a large

reservoir ideal for water sports and fishing. The park’s expansive landscapes are perfect for hiking, wildlife viewing, and picnicking. Its history of serving as a water supply and recreation area enhances its significance. 24005 County Road 330, Sterling, cpw.state. co.us/placestogo/Parks/northsterling


John Martin Reservoir, known as the “sapphire on the plains,” is a top spot for fishing and birdwatching. Its historical significance as a World War II training ground and its modern amenities make it a unique destination. The park offers a blend of natural beauty and historical intrigue. 29955 County Road 25.75, Hasty, cpw.state.co.us/ placestogo/Parks/JohnMartinReservoir


Akron Fishing Pond is a peaceful spot perfect for a relaxing day of fishing. Stocked with various fish species, it offers an ideal setting for both novice and experienced anglers. The pond’s serene environment and easy accessibility make it a great family destination. Located 1.5 miles south of Akron on Highway 63.townofakron.com/fishing-pond

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Pawnee Buttes at Pawnee National Grassland. (Photo: Fort Morgan Times). Archery range at North Sterling Park. (Photo: Sterling Journal-Advocate). Bald eagles at North Sterling Park. (Photo: Sterling Journal-Advocate). Family fishing at Akron Fishing Pond. (Photo: Akron News Reporter).


Frisbee Fun

The best disc golf courses in Eastern Colorado

Disc golf is increasingly popular in Colorado. From the Eastern Plains to the Western Slope, and the mountains in between, Colorado is home to nearly 300 disc golf courses. UDisc, an app dedicated to the sport, ranks Colorado as the 12th best state to play disc golf. Here are the top courses to play a round of frisbee golf in the Eastern Plains of Colorado.


This course features open fairways and challenging wind conditions, making each game unique. Located 1.5 miles south of Akron on Hwy 63 circling around the Akron Pond, it’s perfect for family outings. Hwy 63, Akron


This Par 3 course offers nine holes on flat terrain, making it a great spot for a quick round. 342 Yellowstone Ave., Brush.


This 9-hole course starts near the southeast corner of the Brush Secondary Campus, and brings you full circle around the school. Check

with the school before playing during school hours. 400 West Ave., Brush


This course’s wide-open spaces and prairie winds offer a classic Eastern Plains disc golf experience. 100 N 5th St, Cheyenne Wells.


Prickly Pines Disc Golf Course, Elizabeth, takes players through Evans Park’s wooded north. It features challenging throws, a detailed map, and marked tee signs. 34201 County Road 17, Elizabeth


There are two courses at Riverside Park: Pessimist, on the east end, is the first DiscGolfPark installed in the United States. Optimist, on the west end of the park, features a mix of wooded and open shots.1600 Main St., Fort Morgan


This course’s wide, open layout is perfect for

those looking to improve their distance throws. 101 S Bowman Ave, Holyoke, CO 80734


A true rural gem, this course’s simple design allows players to focus on perfecting their technique amidst the quiet plains. 102 S Main St, Kit Carson, CO 80825


With a mix of open fields and tree-lined fairways, Limon’s course provides a dynamic playing experience for all levels.

701 1st St, Limon, CO 80828


This nine-hole course at Otis Schools, established in 2020, features clear signage, QR code maps, and two challenging modes: “BullPup” and “BullDog.” 518 Dungan St., Otis.



A quaint course offering a peaceful round of disc golf, Ovid’s layout is ideal for a relaxing game in a small-town setting. 300 Cedar St, Ovid.


This course’s beautiful park setting and varied landscape offers unique challenges to test every skill level. 17615 CO-14, Sterling.


A small but challenging course, Stratton’s layout demands precision and skill, making each round exciting. 219 Colorado Ave, Stratton


Set in the scenic plains, Wray’s course features open holes with varying distances, catering to players of all abilities. W 7th St, Wray, CO 80758


This course offers a fun and engaging layout with a mix of short and long holes, perfect for a leisurely game. It is located around the Yuma District Hospital Health Park. 1000 W. 8th Ave., Yuma


A charming course in a quiet town, Sedgwick’s layout is perfect for a peaceful and enjoyable round of disc golf. 300 Pine St, Sedgwick.

38 EXPLORE COLORADO – The Pioneering Plains | 2024
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Outdoors Stargazing and Night Skies

Unravel the cosmic beauty of Eastern Colorado’s dark skies

The night sky has captivated humans for millennia, and the towns of Eastern Colorado’s Pioneering Plains offer pristine locations to indulge in stargazing. With expansive rural landscapes, minimal light pollution, and a dedication to preserving dark skies, the region is a paradise for astronomy enthusiasts. So, pack your telescope and a cozy blanket, and get ready to explore the celestial wonders of Eastern Colorado.

Begin your star-studded journey at Pawnee National Grassland, a vast expanse of land in northeastern Colorado. The wide-open spaces and minimal light pollution make it an ideal location to admire the glittering night sky. As you lay beneath the stars, enjoy the gentle rustle of the grasslands, and let the serenity of

nature wash over you.

Another enchanting spot to observe the celestial wonders is the town of Sterling. Its rural surroundings provide the perfect dark sky canvas for stargazing. While you’re there, explore the charming downtown area and grab a bite to eat at one of the local restaurants. As night falls, find a quiet spot outside the town’s center and immerse yourself in the cosmic beauty above.

Located near Fort Morgan, Jackson Lake State Park is Colorado’s first state park to be certified as an International Dark Sky Park. With exceptional stargazing opportunities and the option to camp overnight, this park is a must-visit destination for any astronomy aficionado.

For a stargazing experience with a historical twist, visit the small town of Julesburg, situated in the northeastern corner of the state. During the day, learn about the town’s rich history at the Fort Sedgwick Museum, and as night falls, venture to a nearby open area to marvel at the stunning display of stars.

As you explore Eastern Colorado’s Pioneering Plains dark skies, keep these stargazing tips in mind for the best experience: Check local regulations, park hours, and weather conditions before embarking on your stargazing adventure.

Allow your eyes to adjust to the darkness for about 20 minutes to better perceive faint celestial objects.

Use a red flashlight or headlamp to preserve your night vision while navigating in the dark. Bring a comfortable chair or blanket, warm clothes, and some insect repellent to ensure a cozy and enjoyable experience.

Utilize a star map or stargazing app to help you identify constellations, planets, and other celestial objects.

Eastern Colorado’s Pioneering Plains dark skies provide a stunning backdrop for stargazing, allowing you to connect with the cosmos in a profound and unforgettable way. Whether you’re an experienced astronomer or a curious novice, the celestial wonders of Eastern Colorado await you. So, gather your loved ones, and embark on a journey through the stars that you’ll cherish for years to come.

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Tee Time!

Top courses to tee off for a round of golf

The Eastern Plains of Colorado boast some of the most scenic and enjoyable golf courses in the state. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or a casual player, these courses offer a perfect blend of challenging play and picturesque settings.


Washington County Golf Club is a hidden gem

that provides a relaxed atmosphere with wellmaintained greens and fairways. It’s a perfect spot for those looking to enjoy a quiet game of golf surrounded by the natural beauty of the plains. 39469 Highway 63, Akron, townofakron.colorado.gov


Located along the South Platte River, Riverview

Golf Club offers a unique golfing experience with scenic water views and lush fairways. The course’s challenging layout attracts golfers of all skill levels.13064 Co Road 370, Sterling, riverview.golf


Quail Dunes Golf Course is another gem in Fort Morgan, offering an 18-hole course that blends rolling terrain with challenging holes. It’s ideal for golfers looking to test their skills while enjoying the scenic beauty of the plains. 17586 Morgan County Rd. T.5, Fort Morgan, quaildunes.com


Indian Hills Golf Club offers a welcoming atmosphere and a well-maintained 9-hole course that suits both beginners and experienced golfers. The course’s layout and friendly staff make it a favorite among locals and visitors alike. 5294 County Rd. 39 Yuma, golfindianhills.com


Prairie Pines Golf Club offers a picturesque 9-hole course with open fairways and stunning prairie views on the outskirts of Burlington. It’s a great place for a casual game and is known for its friendly local community. 48780 Snead Drive, Burlington facebook.com/ burlingtoncoloradogolf.


Uniquely positioned on the Colorado-Nebraska border, Sedgwick County Golf Course is probably the only Colorado course located in an adjoining state. This 9-hole course offers a peaceful setting with a blend of grass greens with buffalo grass fairways. State Hwy 11, Julesburg, townofjulesburg.com.

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Embark on an Unforgettable Fishing Adventure in Colorado’s Pioneering Plains

Embark on an unforgettable shing adventure in Colorado’s Pioneering Plains, a region brimming with diverse aquatic life and numerous angling opportunities. Home to a variety of serene lakes and bustling reservoirs, the Pioneering Plains offer an idyllic setting for anglers of all levels. Get ready to be enticed by the prospect of visiting this area for a truly memorable shing experience.

DePoorter Lake, nestled just south of Julesburg’s business district along State Highway 385, is a 22acre grassed parcel with many shade trees, a covered picnic area, and restroom facilities. This family-friendly location provides a perfect setting for a relaxing day of shing. However, please note that swimming, hunting, ice skating, ice shing, alcoholic beverages, and motorized vehicles are prohibited at DePoorter Lake.


Reservoir is known for its excellent shing opportunities for walleye and crappie, along with quality shing for channel cat sh, smallmouth bass, and bluegill. The reservoir’s picturesque

surroundings and the thrill of reeling in your catch make it a popular destination among anglers.

Bonny Dam, located 22.5 miles from Burlington in Yuma County, is another promising shing spot. Whether you prefer spinning, baitcasting, or y shing, your chances of getting a bite here are high. Grab your favorite y shing rod and reel, and head out to Bonny Dam for an exhilarating shing experience.

North Sterling Reservoir draws anglers with its popular warm-water shery throughout the spring, summer, and fall. The reservoir boasts excellent populations of wiper, walleye, and cat sh, while also providing a habitat for rainbow trout, smallmouth and largemouth bass, yellow perch, bluegill, crappie, northern pike, tiger muskie, drum, and carp. Keep in mind that North Sterling is an irrigation reservoir, with water levels uctuating up to 40 vertical feet during the irrigation season from April to September. This unique characteristic adds an extra layer of excitement to your shing adventure. For a more intimate

and tranquil angling experience, consider visiting the shing ponds in Phillips County, such as Haxtun’s Fishing Pond and Holyoke Lions Club Fishing Hole These smaller bodies of water provide a peaceful setting for a leisurely day of casting your line and soaking in the natural beauty of the area.

Jackson Lake is stocked with an impressive array of warm-water sh species, including walleye, saugeye, cat sh, perch, rainbow trout, crappie, and wipers. Northern pike and large and smallmouth bass have also been introduced to the lake. Be aware that shing is restricted during waterfowl hunting season and is prohibited from the swim beaches year-round, ensuring

a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors.

In addition to the fantastic shing spots mentioned, the Pioneering Plains also offer numerous local eateries where you can savor delicious regional fare and recount the day’s adventures. Don’t forget to bring a camera along to capture the stunning landscapes and picturesque towns you’ll encounter during your shing expedition.

With a wealth of shing opportunities spread across the Pioneering Plains, you’re sure to nd the perfect location for your next angling adventure. As you explore these beautiful bodies of water, take a moment to appreciate the region’s natural splendor and diverse shing prospects. So, gear up, cast your line, and experience the joys of shing in the captivating Pioneering Plains of Colorado.

Explore Wray Fish Hatchery: Colorado’s Warm Water Fish Haven

Discover the intriguing world of warm water sh production at Wray Fish Hatchery, one of only three such facilities in Colorado. Open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., the hatchery offers guided tours between April and September, providing insights into the breeding, hatching, and rearing of various sh species.

Join knowledgeable guides as they walk you through the hatchery’s operations, showcasing the efforts to maintain a healthy sh population in Colorado’s lakes and reservoirs. Don’t miss this unique and educational experience at the Wray Fish Hatchery.

42 EXPLORE COLORADO – The Pioneering Plains | 2024

Outdoors Sporting Adventures

Geocaching, Skydiving, Archery and more!

The Eastern Plains of Colorado offer wide-open spaces and diverse terrains – a perfect backdrop for a variety of exhilarating sporting activities. From treasure hunting and geocaching to the adrenaline rush of skydiving, there’s something for every adventure enthusiast. Here’s your guide to the top sporting endeavors to experience while visiting this captivating region.


Unleash your inner adventurer with geocaching, a real-world treasure hunt using GPS devices. Explore hidden caches near historic sites like Ovid Methodist Church and discover the thrill of the hunt. Geocaching combines technology and outdoor exploration, making it a popular activity for families and enthusiasts alike. Visit geocaching.com to find caches near you and start your adventure. geocaching.com


Experience the ultimate adrenaline rush with a tandem skydive at Skydive Orange Skies in Fort Morgan. As you freefall from 10,000 feet, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of the Eastern Plains and beyond. This popular skydiving center is renowned for its safety and experienced instructors, making it an ideal choice for both first-timers and seasoned jumpers. 23101 State Hwy 52, Fort Morgan, skydiveorangeskies.com


Sharpen your archery skills at the Archery Range at North Sterling State Park north of Sterling. This range offers targets for various skill levels, set amidst the serene beauty of the reservoir. It’s a great spot for both beginners and experienced archers to practice and enjoy the outdoors. North Sterling State Park, 24005 Co Rd 330, Sterling.


Test your marksmanship at the Logan County Shooting Sports Complex in Sterling. This state-of-the-art facility offers a variety of shooting disciplines, from trap and skeet to rifle and pistol ranges. It’s a popular destination for shooting enthusiasts seeking a comprehensive range experience. Logan County Shooting Sports Complex, Sterling, lcssc.colorado.gov.

43 2024 | The Pioneering Plains – EXPLORE COLORADO Julesburg, Colorado I-76, Exit 180 and U.S. Hwy. 385 970-474-4989 *FUEL & FOOD *UNIQUE GIFTS * HISTORICAL SOUVENIRS COLORADO, PONY EXPRESS & OVERLAND STAGE WAGON WHEEL CONOCO & GIFTS your “one-stop and shop” center!
Archery range at North Sterling Park. (Photo: Sterling Journal-Advocate).


D&J Cafe


Opening July of 2024

Micro Brewery, Bar & Restaurant 128 S Interocean Ave, Holyoke, CO Like us on Facebook


Saturday, June 22 • Main Avenue, Akron

Full day of fun!

Non-competitive car show, vendors, cornhole tournament, BBQ cook-off, beer garden and more!


Brand new 11-hole course , opened in 2023. Located 1.5 miles south of Akron around Akron Pond.


Renovated in 2021 – great for fishing, canoeing and kayaking!

Located 1.5 miles south of Akron.


Public pool –fun for all ages! Located at 382 Elm Avenue WASHINGTON COUNTY GOLF COURSE

Public 9-hole course , cart rentals available

Located 1.5 miles south of Akron.

Support Local.

There are many ways to strengthen our community, and one easy way is by supporting local. Whether it’s a restaurant, boutique, home and garden store, apparel or shoes, auto dealer or other service provider, supporting local has many benefits, and building a stronger community is only one of them. Our local businesses give our community character, create vibrancy and bring us unique experiences.

44 EXPLORE COLORADO – The Pioneering Plains | 2024
Living Center
Cedar St, Julesburg, CO • (970) 474-0982
Emergenc y Room,
Home, Assisted
and Pain Clinic.
Cedar St • Julesburg, CO • (970) 474-3323
W 3rd • Big Springs, NE • (308) 889-3376 758 2nd St • Chappell, NE • (308) 205-0706
visit www.townofakron.com. –
– For more on happenings and what to do
45 2024 | The Pioneering Plains – EXPLORE COLORADO New & Pr e-owned Sales • ATVs • Utility Vehicles • Boats • Watercraft • Power Equipment • Mowers • Motors Brands You Can Tr ust Yamaha • Kawasaki • Lund • Lowe Boats • Mercur y • Manitou • Sea-Doo • Bennington • Can-Am • Stihl • Honda Power Equipment • Walker • Hustler Tur f Equipment. Sales & Services A W estern Nebraska Dealer Eichner’s REBATES AND LOW FINANCING RATES On select models W ith approved credit Stop in or visit us on line today for details THE AREA’S BEST SELECTION Trusted & Experienced All Parts & Labor Guaranteed No-Hassle Service Trades Welcome Top Rated Gear & Accessories If you don’t see your dream machine for sale in stock among our new boats, off-road vehicles, mowers and power equipment, we can order you any manufacturer model seen here. Request a model! And don’t miss current manufacturer deals and financing offers. Eichner’s Sales and Ser vice 1210 Ogallala Beach Rd. | Ogallala, NE 69153 800-286-4852 | www.eichners.net Come to see. S tay to live. PHILLIPS COUNTY DANDELION DAZE June 15, 2024 • Holyoke OLD FASHIONED SATURDAY NIGHT July 20, 2024 • Haxtun PHILLIPS COUNTY FAIR July 23-28, 2024 • Holyoke HAXTUN CORN FESTIVAL September 28, 2024 • Haxtun https://phillipscounty.colorado.gov

Birding Bliss on the Pioneering Plains: Uncovering

Attention bird enthusiasts! The Pioneering Plains of Eastern Colorado offer a treasure trove of birdwatching opportunities, with diverse habitats that attract a wide variety of avian species. From the serenity of wetlands to the rugged beauty of grasslands, these prime birding locations are perfect for reconnecting with nature, honing your bird identi cation skills, and spotting some of Colorado’s most magni cent feathered friends.

Jumbo Reservoir

State Wildlife Area: A Serene Sanctuary

Nestled near the charming town of Julesburg, the Jumbo Reservoir State Wildlife Area is a haven for both migratory and resident bird species. With over 1,700 acres of riparian habitat, you’ll nd an abundance of waterfowl, wading birds, and even the occasional bald eagle. Don’t miss the chance to spot the American white pelican during migration season!

Bonny Reservoir: An Avian Oasis

Located near the town of Burlington, Bonny Reservoir boasts an

Colorado’s Avian Treasures

impressive variety of bird species in its diverse ecosystems. With grasslands, wetlands, and woodlands, this birding hotspot is home to the elusive greater prairie-chicken, sandhill cranes, and various songbirds. Keep your binoculars at the ready for a glimpse of the striking red-headed woodpecker!

North Sterling State Park: A Picturesque Birding Haven Situated near the city of Sterling, North Sterling State Park offers fantastic birding opportunities amidst breathtaking landscapes. The park’s diverse habitats attract waterfowl, shorebirds, and raptors, making it an ideal location for birders of all levels. Be

sure to visit during the spring and fall migration seasons for the best chances of spotting rare and unique species!

Brush Memorial Park: A Charming Escape

Located in the heart of Brush, Brush Memorial Park is a charming green space with a diverse selection of bird species. Stroll along the park’s meandering trails and admire the lovely mix of urban and natural environments. Look out for the American gold nch, western kingbird, and northern icker as you explore this delightful park.

Prewitt Reservoir

State Wildlife Area: A Birdwatcher’s


Just a stone’s throw from Brush and Sterling

in Merino, the Prewitt Reservoir State Wildlife Area is a birdwatcher’s dream. With its expansive reservoir and marshy wetlands, this area attracts an array of waterfowl and wading birds, including the stunning white-faced ibis and the iconic great blue heron. Don’t forget to pack your camera for this picturesque birding location!

When embarking on your birding adventure in Eastern Colorado’s Pioneering Plains, consider these tips:

• Pack your binoculars, a eld guide, and a notebook to document your sightings.

• Dress in layers and wear comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing.

• Keep a respectful distance from nesting birds and avoid disturbing their habitats.

• Practice patience and stay quiet to maximize your chances of spotting elusive species.

• Share your sightings with local birding groups and contribute to citizen science initiatives.

With its diverse habitats and charming local towns, the Pioneering Plains of Eastern Colorado are a birdwatcher’s paradise. So, grab your binoculars, lace up your hiking boots, and embark on an unforgettable birding adventure in the heart of Colorado’s Pioneering Plains.

46 EXPLORE COLORADO – The Pioneering Plains | 2024 BIRDING
North Sterling State Park
47 2024 | The Pioneering Plains – EXPLORE COLORADO

Navigating the Law

A tourist’s guide to recreational marijuana in colorado

With its stunning landscapes and vibrant cities, Colorado has long been a top destination for tourists. Since the legalization of recreational marijuana in 2012, it has also become a hotspot for cannabis enthusiasts. However, navigating the state’s marijuana laws can be tricky for newcomers. This guide will help ensure you enjoy your visit while staying on the right side of the law.


First and foremost, you must be 21 or older to purchase, possess, or use recreational marijuana in Colorado. You’ll need a valid ID to prove your age, so always have it with you. Marijuana can be purchased at licensed dispensaries across the state, many of which offer a wide variety of products, from traditional ower and edibles to concentrates and topicals.


Dispensaries are plentiful in cities like Denver, Boulder, and Colorado Springs. It’s important to note that each purchase is subject to state and local taxes, which can signi cantly increase the nal cost. When shopping, ask the knowledgeable staff about the different strains and products to nd what best suits your preferences and experience level.


The law allows individuals to possess up to one ounce (28 grams) of marijuana. This includes a combination of marijuana ower, edibles, and concentrates. Exceeding this limit can result in nes or more serious legal consequences. Remember that while you can purchase marijuana in different forms, the total amount you carry should not exceed one ounce.


One of the most important aspects of Colorado’s marijuana laws is where you can consume it. Public consumption is illegal, which means you cannot smoke, vape, or consume edibles in public places such as parks, sidewalks, and restaurants. Most hotels also prohibit smoking, including marijuana, on their


However, there are designated cannabis lounges and private 420-friendly accommodations where you can legally consume marijuana. Always check the policies of your accommodation before partaking.


If you plan to drive in Colorado, be aware that driving under the in uence of marijuana is illegal and dangerous. Law enforcement can test for marijuana impairment, and penalties are severe, including DUI charges. It’s also illegal to consume marijuana in a vehicle, whether you’re the driver or a passenger. When transporting marijuana, it should be in a sealed container and kept in the trunk or another area not accessible while driving.


Marijuana may be legal in Colorado, but it remains illegal under federal law. This means you cannot take marijuana across state lines, even if you are traveling to another state where it is legal. Airports, including Denver International Airport, also prohibit the possession of marijuana. If you’re ying out of Colorado, leave any leftover marijuana behind.


Different cities and counties in Colorado may have additional regulations regarding marijuana. Some places have banned dispensaries, while others have stricter rules on consumption. Always research local laws in the areas you plan to visit to ensure compliance.


Enjoying recreational marijuana in Colorado can be a unique and memorable part of your visit. By understanding and respecting the state’s laws, you can ensure a safe and legal experience. Remember to consume responsibly and always consider the impact on those around you. Happy travels and enjoy all that Colorado has to offer!

48 EXPLORE COLORADO – The Pioneering Plains | 2024
Visitor’s Guide SPONSORED BY PEAK DISPENSARY NORTH Visit Peak Dispensary North, 140 Railroad Ave., Sedgwick or visit facebook.com/people/ Peak-North-Dispensary/100050961619561.

explore further...

Just a short drive from the Pioneering Plains of Colorado, there are many more areas to explore. Here’s several of our favorites.


Grand Lake, Colorado, a charming mountain town,is home to one of 30 designated Creative Districts in the State of Colorado, the Grand Lake Creative District. Travelers should visit for its scenic lake, vibrant arts scene, galleries and local crafts. The district offers art classes, performances and a unique cultural experience in a picturesque setting. Ideal for nature and art lovers alike. grandlakecreativedistrict.org


The Royal Gorge Bridge and Park in Cañon City features one of the world’s highest suspension bridges,

offering travelers breathtaking views and thrilling attractions. Visitors can enjoy the scenic beauty, various adventure activities, and the unique experience of walking 956 feet above the Arkansas River. It’s a must-visit destination for any thrillseeker. royalgorgebridge.com


Lake McConaughy in Nebraska, the state’s largest reservoir, offers pristine white sand beaches and clear waters. Travelers can enjoy fishing, boating, swimming, and camping. Known as “Big Mac,” it’s a premier destination for water sports enthusiasts and nature lovers seeking outdoor adventure and scenic beauty in the Great Plains. Lake McConaughy

49 2024 | The Pioneering Plains – EXPLORE COLORADO
Royal Gorge Bridge

upcoming events Calendar



Guided Nature Walk

Overland Trail Recreation Area 121 N Riverview Road Sterling exploresterling.com


Dandelion Daze

Phillips County Court House, Holyoke holyokechamber.org/ dandelion-daze-3


Pony Express

Re-ride and Westernaires Sedgwick County Fairgrounds, Julesburg nationalponyexpress.org


Quilts of the Plains Main Street, Wray wraychamber.net/ quilts-of-the-plains


Crazy Dayz & Car Show

245 Main St., Akron townofakron.colorado.gov


JULY 2-4

Brush Rodeo 829-899 Ellsworth St., Brush brushrodeo.com

JULY 12-13

Bobstock Music Festival

Glenn Miller Park, 414 Main St., Fort Morgan bobstockmusicfestival.com

JULY 20-27

Kit Carson County Fair

Kit Carson County Fairgrounds 815 15th St., Burlington kitcarsoncounty.colorado.gov/ fair-grounds/county-fair

JULY 22-27

Eastern Colorado Roundup

Washington County Event Center, 551 W. 2nd St., Akron, ecroundup.com

JULY 23-28

Phillips County Fair

Phillips County Fair Grounds, 22505 Hwy 85, Holyoke phillipscountyfair.org

JULY 24-28

Sedgwick County Fair & Rodeo

Sedgwick County Fairgrounds, 315 Cedar St., Julesburg sedgwickcountycofair.com


Logan County Fair & Rodeo

315 Main St., Sterling lcfair.org

JULY 26-28

Wray Daze Main Street, Wray wraychamber.net



Lincoln County Fair & Rodeo

Lincoln County Fairgrounds, 33747 County Road 2w, Hugo seelincolncounty.com/fair


Julesburg Cruise Night Downtown Julesburg townofjulesburg.com



Harvest Festival Sedgwick



Sugar Beet Days

315 Main St., Sterling sugarbeetdays.com


Fall Harvest Car Show

Downtown Fort Morgan fallharvestcarshow.org/



Brush Oktoberfest

Clayton St., Brush brushchamberofcommerce.org/ events


Pope Farms Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch

19502 CR 3, Wiggins, popefarmscornmaize.com

Dates and times are subject to change. Visit ExploreColoradoMag.com for more events and details.

50 EXPLORE COLORADO – The Pioneering Plains | 2024
Ill ■■■ $60 PRE WEIGH OUNCES Over 75 Choices of Top Shelf Flower Colorado’s Premium Dispensary 140 RAILROAD AVE SEDGWICK, CO 80749 BROADWAY, DENVER & SEDGWICK | 8AM-8PM MON-THU 8 AM - 9 PM FRI - SAT SUN 9AM-7PM

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