When you think of Southeast Colorado, what comes to mind? I’ll admit that for years I thought it was flat, brown ranch land punctuated by the occasional cantaloupe and watermelon farm, and it was not high on my must-visit list.
I had heard about the High Plains Snow Goose Festival, and the bird nerd in me was intrigued, but my overdo visit to the southeast still didn’t happen until last week when we made a trip to attend the snow goose festival.
We quickly discovered that we had been very wrong about Southeastern, Colorado. It is a flat brown landscape during this time of year, but the massive amount of history and nature here turns this seemingly desolate place into a cornucopia of hidden treasures; from fascinating little museums to fantastic nature trails to some world class historical sites.
On our quick, one night trip to the area our biggest realization was that we were going to have to come back.
When we arrive in town, we at lunch at Thai Spicy Basil and then moseyed over to the Colorado Visitor’s Center inside Lamar’s historic train depot. The friendly visitor’s center volunteer told me that Lamar is the hottest spot in Colorado (winter and summer) and lamented the fact that many Front Range folks don’t know the town exists because the Denver weathermen and women always stand in front of Lamar when giving the weather.
This next morning, as we were watching the Denver news in our hotel room, we noted that she was indeed correct. The weatherman stood directly in front of Lamar on the map.
While Denver’s weather people may be unknowingly keeping southeastern Colorado out of the public eye, I will do my best as the Mayor of HeidiTown to be its newest champion.
Southeast Colorado is for history lovers
A wide range of history can be studied in this area, from prehistoric art to a Japanese internment camp. There’s a great little museum in Lamar. When you visit find staffer Caroline Hedge (she also works at the awesome downtown bookstore, the Lamar Book Depot). Caroline, a fourth generation Coloradan, knows a lot about everything in the museum and touring the museum with her adds a lot of value to the visit.
This is the only history-related stop we made on this trip, but we are definitely going back to do some historical digging in this area. On the top our list is Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site in La Junta. There are too many historical sites in Southeast Colorado to list them all here, but take my word for it, there are a lot.
Southeast Colorado is for nature lovers
While this area is paradise for birders, you don’t have to be a bird nerd to enjoy nature in Southeast Colorado. Hikers, bikers and horseback riders will find miles of wild area to explore, fisherman will find reservoirs to fish and photographers will find breathtaking landscapes & sky-scapes to photograph.
I plan on writing much more about this area, but in the meantime I have found a website that may help you learn more: ExploreSoutheastColorado.com.