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Pawnee Pioneer Trails Scenic Byway

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Pawnee Pioneer Trails Scenic Byway
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General Information

Description - This route travels through the shortgrass prairie that was once inhabited by Plains Indians and buffalo. This territory was also used by Overland Trail travelers and fur trappers in the Nineteenth Century. Agriculturalists homesteaded this land and still reside there today.

The route leads east from Ault to Briggsdale on State Highway 14. In Briggsdale the route turns northward on to State Highway 392. At this point the byway enters Pawnee National Grassland and leads toward Grover. Immediately east of Grover the byway follows an abandoned railroad bed that eventually merges with State Highway 14. Pawnee National Grassland lies east and north of this stretch of the route. The next community the byway enters is Raymer. From this point the byway divides and heads east to Sterling on State Highway 14 and south to Fort Morgan on State Highway 52.

This byway leads through 125 miles of northeastern Colorado's high plains. The Colorado Scenic and Historic Byways Commission offers this travel advice for the route: start with a full tank of gas and avoid gravel roads in heavy rain or snow.

Recreation - The most obvious recreation opportunity along the byway is scenic driving. Within Pawnee National Grassland you will find mountain biking, hiking, picnicking and camping facilities.

Climate - The region through which Pawnee Pioneer Trails Scenic Byway travels is the high prairie. The general elevation of the region is 4,000 feet plus. Few trees exist in the area therefore, shelter from the sun and wind is limited. Summer temperatures can reach into the triple digits. The sun really bakes this area so it is necessary to protect your skin from it. Winter temperatures can be bitterly cold, but the sun shines throughout the season providing warmth from the cold winds.

Location - This scenic byway is located in the northeast region of the state. It leads through the shortgrass prairie of Pawnee National Grassland connecting the communities of Ault, Briggsdale, Sterling and Fort Morgan.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
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Filed By: Brian Hoag (Littleton, CO)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: This area is well worth a visit for those seeking solitude, scenery, and wildlife. Antelope are numerous and birding opportunities are abundant. Private land to Pawnee Buttes is vehicle accessable without permission per the land owner. He requires staying on the established roads on his property which includes the east butte. Two roads depart from the main Pawnee Pioneer Trails byway over this private land. The first road is at the intersection of county road 115 and county road 110 1/2. This road heads generally north and is seldom used and would be rated a 3 on the Colorado back country road rating system. 1/2 mile west of this intersection and just before a cattle guard is another road heading north. This is the better of the two roads and would be rated a 2 on the Colorado scale. This road passes between the west and east buttes. Beautiful views are available of both buttes and surrounding escarpments. We traveled the route from Ft. Morgan north to highway 14, west to New Raymer and then north to Pawnee Buttes. We continued to the town of Grover, and back to the town of Ault. From Ault, I'd recommend continueing west on highway 14 to I-25 for a return trip to Denver as there are numerous traffic lights on US highway 85 all the way to Denver.

More Information

Contact Information:
USFS-Pawnee National Grasslands, 660 ³O² Street , Greeley, CO, 80631, Phone: 970-353-5004

Additional Information:
Colorado Scenic Byways - Driving through Colorado can be some of the most rewarding driving possible. The scenic byways deserve their name and are definitely worth the detour.

Scenic Byways Homepage - National Scenic Byways official web site with detailed info on all national and state byways.


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