Pawnee National Grassland, NE of Greeley


Beautiful picture of the Pawnee National Grassland sky.

The Pawnee National Grassland lies 35 miles east of Fort Collins, CO and 25 miles northeast of Greeley, CO 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.

Please refer to a Motor Vehicle Use Map for location of public lands, as it is intermixed with a lot of private land. There are also some two-tracks that are closed to the public.

The area is rich in history and wildlife. A wide variety of plants and animals call the Pawnee National Grassland home. The wildflowers, flora and fauna are adapted to the environments of the area.

Come visit for a day or stay a while. Your national grasslands have much to offer year-round.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Pawnee National Grassland Roads Status
Reservations: View Campgrounds At-A-Glance table to quickly view what sites are reserveable.
Area Amenities: Interpretive Site,Accessible,Tent camping,Picnic tables,Toilets
Open Season: Year-round
Usage: Medium
Best Season: Spring, summer, and fall.
Busiest Season: Spring, summer, and fall.
Restrictions: There are regulations, restrictions, and closures in effect. Conditions can change quickly. The roads are gravel and/or dirt. These can become impassable with rain or snow. Call for updated information, directions, and other important details.
Closest Towns:
  • West side: Ault, CO; Grover, CO; Briggsdale, CO
  • East side: Sterling, CO; Raymer, CO
Water: Potable water available during warm weather.
Restroom: Available at Crow Valley Campground in warm weather, Briggsdale and Grover

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities

Campground Camping

Crow Valley Recreation Area and Campground is located 22 miles east of Ault, at Highway 14 and County Road 77, adjacent to Briggsdale, CO, and is open April to November, weather permitting.  It offers a variety of campsites depending on group size. Some are first-come, first-served and for others reservations can be made through the National Recreation Reservation Service at 1-877-444-6777 or online at www.recreation.gov. All sites are wheelchair accessible.

RV Camping is allowed, however, there are no water or electrical hookups.  While there is electricity available at the Steward J. Adams Educational Site in the shelter, it is not for RV hookups.  There is no dump station available at the campground. 

Campfires are generally allowed, unless fire restrictions are in effect.

There are three types of sites at the campground:

Family Campground

Group Campground

Steward J. Adams Education Site

Status: Open
Reservation info: Call 1-877-444-6777 or access www.recreation.gov
Best Season: Spring, Summer and Fall

Areas for Campground Camping at Pawnee National Grassland, NE of Greeley

RV Camping

RV Camping is allowed at the Crow Valley Recreation Area campground.  There are no electrical hookups.  While there is electricity available at the Steward J. Adams Educational Site in the shelter, it is not for RV hookups.  There is no dump station available at the campground. 

Reservation required?: Y
Reservation info: For reservations, call 1-877-444-6777, or go to www.recreation.gov
Best Season: Spring and Fall

Areas for RV Camping at Pawnee National Grassland, NE of Greeley

Group Camping

Crow Valley Recreation Area and Campground is open from April to November.   Reservations for group sites can be made up to a year in advance.  Group site Hawk holds 6 vehicles and/or 30 people, Plover holds 7 vehicles and/or 30 people, and Lark holds 9 vehicles and/or 30 people.  The Steward J. Adams Education Site is for tents only and holds up to 100 people. There is parking space for up to 20 cars, trucks or vans, or two 40 ft. motor coaches. All group sites are wheelchair accessible.

Fees: Lark, Hawk and Plover: $50 per day for 1-30 people; Education site: $65/day for 1-50 people; $120/day for 51-100 people
Reservation required?: Y
Reservation info: Make reservations by call 1-877-444-6777 or accessing www.recreation.gov
Best Season: Spring and Fall

Areas for Group Camping at Pawnee National Grassland, NE of Greeley

Dispersed Camping

Dispersed camping is also allowed on the Pawnee National Grassland, year-round.  This provides an alternative to campground camping for those who want to experience the grassland the way people did in the past. No fee required. A Motor Vehicle Use Map will help you determine if you are on private or public land.

Day Hiking

Trail of the Mourning Dove and the Birdwalk Trailhead (area is unavailable) are open during the Crow Valley Recreation Area season and offer access to possible sightings of the many birds that frequent the area near the campground.

Pawnee Buttes Trail is open for day hikes year-round, weather permitting.  Lipps Bluff and the Overlook are closed to all traffic, including walking, March 1 - June 30 to protect nesting raptors.

Status: Open
Fees: No fee required
Best Season: Spring and Fall

Areas for Day Hiking at Pawnee National Grassland, NE of Greeley

Viewing Wildlife

The Pawnee National Grassland in Weld County is an internationally-known birding area. There are also numerous other wildlife species that call the prairie home that you have a chance to spot while exploring!

Areas for Viewing Wildlife at Pawnee National Grassland, NE of Greeley

OHV Road Riding

Off-highway vehicle riding is only allowed at the Main OHV Area, from November 1 to April 9. OHVs must be registered with Colorado Parks & Wildlife at www.cpw.state.co.us. Conditions change with the weather, so call the Pawnee National Grassland office at 970-834-9270 for details. Off-highway vehicles/unlicensed vehicles, along with all motorized vehicles, are not allowed cross country on the Grassland.

Target Shooting

Areas for Target Shooting at Pawnee National Grassland, NE of Greeley

Interpretive Areas

Lee and Dorothy Rhodes Farm Implement Museum

An exhibit of early machinery used by farmers is available at the Crow Valley Recreation Area, when open.

Pawnee Bird Tour

A self-guided road tour for viewing the birds of the Pawnee National Grassland.

Pawnee Buttes Trailhead

The Pawnee Buttes are a signature landmark of the Grassland, rising more than 200 feet from the prairie floor and offers hiking opportunities.

Areas for Interpretive Areas at Pawnee National Grassland, NE of Greeley

Picnicking

Crow Valley Recreation Area has a picnic area that will accommodate up to 200 people, during the open season.  For large groups, please make reservations by calling 877-444-6777 or go to www.recreation.gov.  Also, picnicking anywhere on the Grasslands is permitted.  Stop by the Pawnee office for a map and recommendations.

  Crow Valley Picnic Area

Reservation info: www.recreation.gov or 1-877-444-6777.
Best Season: Spring

Areas for Picnicking at Pawnee National Grassland, NE of Greeley

Scenic Driving

The Pawnee Pioneer Trails Scenic Byway is a 68 mile trip through the grassland, beginning at Ault, CO, and ending at Sterling, CO. The Byway offers historic attractions and recreation areas along the roadways.  For a map and more information on the Scenic Byway, please contact our office. Visitors can experience solitude and explore nature through bird watching, wildlife study, photography and hiking.

Status description: Open year-round, weather permitting

Areas for Scenic Driving at Pawnee National Grassland, NE of Greeley

Amenities

Interpretive Site: Farm Implement Display, Pawnee Bird Tour, and the Pawnee Buttes Trailhead.
Picnic tables: At Crow Valley Rec Area; will accomodate up to 200 people. The Pawnee Buttes Trailhead has covered picnic tables available year-round.
Tent camping: Dispersed camping is permitted anywhere on the Grassland.
Toilets: Vault toilets are available at Crow Valley Rec Area when campground is open (April to November). Toilets are available at Pawnee Buttes Trailhead and Baker Draw Shooting Area year-round.
Accessible: All campsites are wheelchair accessible. Campsite #5 has a raised platform for tent set up for wheelchair accessibility.

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Location

 
  Latitude : 
40.7614588

  Longitude : 
-104.0493284

  Elevation : 
4800' - 5400'