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The Pawnee National Grasslands is a beautiful area to visit

Hundreds of species of birds live in the grassland area, some seasonally, others year-round. May and June are the best times to see the most variety, but anytime you go will provide an interesting escape from the busyness of life. The Pawnee National Grassland is located in Weld County, Colo. It is approximately 35 miles east of Fort Collins, Colo., and 65 miles southeast of Cheyenne, Wyo.

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We have been to the Pawnee Grasslands and Buttes, but going to the mountains usually took priority over going back to them. In mid June a friend told us, “If you want to see something beautiful, go out east to the grasslands. The Evening Primrose is so thick; it looks like hail covering the ground. And it’s free!”

The “free” got our attention; an outing just for the cost of some gas is our kind of fun. We headed east on Highway 14 to Ault where we ate our sandwiches in the city park. Just a ways out of town the white primrose covered the normally dry land. Turning north on CR61 we understood what the area ranchers, some of whom are over 80 years old, meant when they said they can’t recall the flowers being so beautiful.

This spring has brought downpour after downpour of rain, making the prairie burst into bloom. The pioneers who came here in the 1880s learned that plowing the sod in the arid high desert shouldn’t have been done and when the Dust Bowl hit in the 1930s, the farms were abandoned.



After the people gave up on their dreams and forfeited their land, it reverted back to its natural state. Remnants of homesteads, windmills and cemeteries can be seen from the trails near the Buttes.

Small black and white birds, tiny tan birds, and doves sat on fence posts and Meadow Larks filled the air with melodies. Baby antelope were a delight to see as they bounded about on toothpick legs, oblivious to the fact that they were playing in a flower garden that happens so seldom.



Whenever we’d see a photo opportunity, I’d say, “Stop!” Wild flowers were everywhere we looked, a sea of lavender, Vetch, Yellow Evening Primrose, Ball Cactus, Prickly Pear Cactus, Sand Lilies, bright pink Locoweed, Penstemon, lavender, Fleabane, and yellow sweet clover, had us saying, “Mighty pretty, mighty pretty,” and “I’m so glad we came out here.” As I snapped pictures, Allen was telling me where to point the camera next.

We had grown tired of the weeks of gray skies and rain, but now we praised God for providing this beautiful showcase of His handiwork.

The unique landscape of the 193,000 acres offer wildlife viewing, flowers and hiking. Rattlesnakes are abundant near the Buttes, so watch where you put your feet. Hundreds of species of birds live here, some seasonally, others year-round. May and June are the best times to see the most variety, but anytime you go will provide an interesting escape from the busyness of life.

Gas and food are available at Grover and Briggsdale. There’s one restroom at the Butte’s parking lot and one at the Crow Valley campground. Be sure to carry water with you. During rainy weather some of the roads can become a quagmire of ruts. We will be sure to take high top hiking boots, our bird book and wildflower book on our next trip east to the Buttes.

Contact the Pawnee Ranger District at (970) 346-5000 or http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/arnf/ for more information.

We have been to the Pawnee Grasslands and Buttes, but going to the mountains usually took priority over going back to them. In mid June a friend told us, “If you want to see something beautiful, go out east to the grasslands. The Evening Primrose is so thick; it looks like hail covering the ground. And it’s free!”

The “free” got our attention; an outing just for the cost of some gas is our kind of fun. We headed east on Highway 14 to Ault where we ate our sandwiches in the city park. Just a ways out of town the white primrose covered the normally dry land. Turning north on CR61 we understood what the area ranchers, some of whom are over 80 years old, meant when they said they can’t recall the flowers being so beautiful.

This spring has brought downpour after downpour of rain, making the prairie burst into bloom. The pioneers who came here in the 1880s learned that plowing the sod in the arid high desert shouldn’t have been done and when the Dust Bowl hit in the 1930s, the farms were abandoned.

After the people gave up on their dreams and forfeited their land, it reverted back to its natural state. Remnants of homesteads, windmills and cemeteries can be seen from the trails near the Buttes.

Small black and white birds, tiny tan birds, and doves sat on fence posts and Meadow Larks filled the air with melodies. Baby antelope were a delight to see as they bounded about on toothpick legs, oblivious to the fact that they were playing in a flower garden that happens so seldom.

Whenever we’d see a photo opportunity, I’d say, “Stop!” Wild flowers were everywhere we looked, a sea of lavender, Vetch, Yellow Evening Primrose, Ball Cactus, Prickly Pear Cactus, Sand Lilies, bright pink Locoweed, Penstemon, lavender, Fleabane, and yellow sweet clover, had us saying, “Mighty pretty, mighty pretty,” and “I’m so glad we came out here.” As I snapped pictures, Allen was telling me where to point the camera next.

We had grown tired of the weeks of gray skies and rain, but now we praised God for providing this beautiful showcase of His handiwork.

The unique landscape of the 193,000 acres offer wildlife viewing, flowers and hiking. Rattlesnakes are abundant near the Buttes, so watch where you put your feet. Hundreds of species of birds live here, some seasonally, others year-round. May and June are the best times to see the most variety, but anytime you go will provide an interesting escape from the busyness of life.

Gas and food are available at Grover and Briggsdale. There’s one restroom at the Butte’s parking lot and one at the Crow Valley campground. Be sure to carry water with you. During rainy weather some of the roads can become a quagmire of ruts. We will be sure to take high top hiking boots, our bird book and wildflower book on our next trip east to the Buttes.

Contact the Pawnee Ranger District at (970) 346-5000 or http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/arnf/ for more information.

We have been to the Pawnee Grasslands and Buttes, but going to the mountains usually took priority over going back to them. In mid June a friend told us, “If you want to see something beautiful, go out east to the grasslands. The Evening Primrose is so thick; it looks like hail covering the ground. And it’s free!”

The “free” got our attention; an outing just for the cost of some gas is our kind of fun. We headed east on Highway 14 to Ault where we ate our sandwiches in the city park. Just a ways out of town the white primrose covered the normally dry land. Turning north on CR61 we understood what the area ranchers, some of whom are over 80 years old, meant when they said they can’t recall the flowers being so beautiful.

This spring has brought downpour after downpour of rain, making the prairie burst into bloom. The pioneers who came here in the 1880s learned that plowing the sod in the arid high desert shouldn’t have been done and when the Dust Bowl hit in the 1930s, the farms were abandoned.

After the people gave up on their dreams and forfeited their land, it reverted back to its natural state. Remnants of homesteads, windmills and cemeteries can be seen from the trails near the Buttes.

Small black and white birds, tiny tan birds, and doves sat on fence posts and Meadow Larks filled the air with melodies. Baby antelope were a delight to see as they bounded about on toothpick legs, oblivious to the fact that they were playing in a flower garden that happens so seldom.

Whenever we’d see a photo opportunity, I’d say, “Stop!” Wild flowers were everywhere we looked, a sea of lavender, Vetch, Yellow Evening Primrose, Ball Cactus, Prickly Pear Cactus, Sand Lilies, bright pink Locoweed, Penstemon, lavender, Fleabane, and yellow sweet clover, had us saying, “Mighty pretty, mighty pretty,” and “I’m so glad we came out here.” As I snapped pictures, Allen was telling me where to point the camera next.

We had grown tired of the weeks of gray skies and rain, but now we praised God for providing this beautiful showcase of His handiwork.

The unique landscape of the 193,000 acres offer wildlife viewing, flowers and hiking. Rattlesnakes are abundant near the Buttes, so watch where you put your feet. Hundreds of species of birds live here, some seasonally, others year-round. May and June are the best times to see the most variety, but anytime you go will provide an interesting escape from the busyness of life.

Gas and food are available at Grover and Briggsdale. There’s one restroom at the Butte’s parking lot and one at the Crow Valley campground. Be sure to carry water with you. During rainy weather some of the roads can become a quagmire of ruts. We will be sure to take high top hiking boots, our bird book and wildflower book on our next trip east to the Buttes.

Contact the Pawnee Ranger District at (970) 346-5000 or http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/arnf/ for more information.

We have been to the Pawnee Grasslands and Buttes, but going to the mountains usually took priority over going back to them. In mid June a friend told us, “If you want to see something beautiful, go out east to the grasslands. The Evening Primrose is so thick; it looks like hail covering the ground. And it’s free!”

The “free” got our attention; an outing just for the cost of some gas is our kind of fun. We headed east on Highway 14 to Ault where we ate our sandwiches in the city park. Just a ways out of town the white primrose covered the normally dry land. Turning north on CR61 we understood what the area ranchers, some of whom are over 80 years old, meant when they said they can’t recall the flowers being so beautiful.

This spring has brought downpour after downpour of rain, making the prairie burst into bloom. The pioneers who came here in the 1880s learned that plowing the sod in the arid high desert shouldn’t have been done and when the Dust Bowl hit in the 1930s, the farms were abandoned.

After the people gave up on their dreams and forfeited their land, it reverted back to its natural state. Remnants of homesteads, windmills and cemeteries can be seen from the trails near the Buttes.

Small black and white birds, tiny tan birds, and doves sat on fence posts and Meadow Larks filled the air with melodies. Baby antelope were a delight to see as they bounded about on toothpick legs, oblivious to the fact that they were playing in a flower garden that happens so seldom.

Whenever we’d see a photo opportunity, I’d say, “Stop!” Wild flowers were everywhere we looked, a sea of lavender, Vetch, Yellow Evening Primrose, Ball Cactus, Prickly Pear Cactus, Sand Lilies, bright pink Locoweed, Penstemon, lavender, Fleabane, and yellow sweet clover, had us saying, “Mighty pretty, mighty pretty,” and “I’m so glad we came out here.” As I snapped pictures, Allen was telling me where to point the camera next.

We had grown tired of the weeks of gray skies and rain, but now we praised God for providing this beautiful showcase of His handiwork.

The unique landscape of the 193,000 acres offer wildlife viewing, flowers and hiking. Rattlesnakes are abundant near the Buttes, so watch where you put your feet. Hundreds of species of birds live here, some seasonally, others year-round. May and June are the best times to see the most variety, but anytime you go will provide an interesting escape from the busyness of life.

Gas and food are available at Grover and Briggsdale. There’s one restroom at the Butte’s parking lot and one at the Crow Valley campground. Be sure to carry water with you. During rainy weather some of the roads can become a quagmire of ruts. We will be sure to take high top hiking boots, our bird book and wildflower book on our next trip east to the Buttes.

Contact the Pawnee Ranger District at (970) 346-5000 or http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/arnf/ for more information.


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