The Pawnee National Grassland lies 35 miles east of Fort Collins and 25 miles northeast of Greeley in Weld County. Contained within the 30-by-60 mile area are 193,060 acres managed by the Pawnee National Grassland. The rest of the land is a checkerboard of private land, State of Colorado ownership and the Central Plains Experimental Range.
While developed facilities are limited on the grassland, recreation opportunities are not. The Pawnee is an internationally known birding area. It supports many bird species, especially during migration. The Colorado State Bird, the lark bunting, is very common on the grassland in spring and summer. The grassland also has many unique high plains bird species such as the mountain plover, burrowing owl and many birds of prey. Hiking, camping, picnicking, horseback riding and stargazing are also popular activities. Pronghorn, mule deer, coyote, swift fox, snakes and prairie dogs are just a few of the species that make the prairie their home.
The windswept plains have witnessed the pageant of the frontier, the tragedy of the “Dust Bowl” and the wonders of modern agriculture. The rich history of the area is represented by old cemeteries and nearby museums. A person can explore the old homesteads and gain an appreciation of the area’s history. The network of numbered forest service and county roads will take you within easy walking distance of almost all parts of the grassland. A visit to the grassland is unique. Take a moment to experience the abundant wildlife, spring wildflowers and peaceful serenity of the prairie and let your imagination run wild. For more information on recreation opportunities on the Pawnee National Grassland see our District recreation page.