If you have ever wondered what the short grass prairie looked like in the late 1800s, look no further than the Pawnee National Grassland in northern Weld County. In 1862, the Homestead Act opened the West to Americans looking to claim land for their own, but they eventually learned the land was not conducive for growing crops. Between the plowing of the ground and the infamous wind in the region, the top soil disappeared, and the land could no longer produce.
Thanks to the efforts of the Soil Conservation Service and the Forest Service, this land has been successfully restored and is now managed for multiple use.
A hiking trail leading to the Pawnee Buttes, as well as restrooms and a sheltered picnic area, are open to the public on the east side of the grassland. A self-guided 21-mile bird tour is available to visitors on the west side of the grassland. A stop at the Forest Service Visitors Center, located at 660 O Street in Greeley, is a must to make sure you take advantage of all the things to see and do on the Pawnee. Brochures are available in the Visitors Center during their office hours as well as outside of the Visitors Center should you arrive after hours.
The Pawnee Grassland is located about one hour north of Greeley and encompasses 193,000 acres. Bring binoculars, clothes to layer, and snacks as amenities on the grassland are few. Grover, Briggsdale and New Raymer are communities in the area that do offer some conveniences to travelers.
|Introduction To The Pawnee Buttes|
|Visit Pawnee National Grassland|
|History of the Pawnee National Grassland|
|Camping on the Pawnee National Grassland|
|Crow Valley Recreation Area|
|Birds of the Pawnee National Grassland|
|Mountain Plover Viewing Guidelines|
|Wildflowers of the Pawnee National Grassland|
|Main Draw Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Area|