The Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests invites you to come and celebrate National Grasslands Week, June 23-29, by experiencing all the Pawnee National Grassland has to offer.
From hiking to birding to stargazing, there is something on the grassland for everyone. The Pawnee National Grassland (PNG) is one of 20 national grasslands, located in 13 states. These 193,060 acres of prairie are located in northern Weld County.
People travel to the PNG from all over the globe to experience first-class birding. More than 300 bird species have been seen on the grassland. Although the time has passed for most migrating birds, many nesting birds are still making the PNG their home. Swainson, red-tailed, and ferruginous hawks, as well as Lark Buntings and burrowing owls, are just a few birds visitors may spot. Get out early in the morning or later in the afternoon for the best viewing. There is also a bird tour with interpretive signs on the PNG.
Other opportunities for enjoying this local gem include driving the Pawnee Pioneer Trail Scenic and Historic Byway and camping under the starry sky. The Byway takes a traveler north of Briggsdale, Colo., off State Highway 14, through much of the PNG, and back down to State Highway 14. Those choosing to head off the main routes should know that many of these roads become virtually impassable if the area has received recent rain.
The Crow Valley Campground on the west side provides a developed area to set up your tent or RV. Dispersed camping is also a popular activity on the PNG. There is a mixed land ownership pattern on the PNG, so pick up a map.
Before heading out everyone should stop by or call the PNG Visitor Information Office at 660 O Street in Greeley (970-346-5000) or the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland Visitor Information Office at 2150 Centre Ave, Building E, in Fort Collins (970-295-6700).
Remember, facilities are limited on the grassland. Bring plenty of water and have a full tank of gas before heading out.