National Grasslands Week is June 22-28.  Celebrate by experiencing all the Pawnee National Grassland has to offer. From hiking to birding to stargazing, there is a little something for everyone. The 193,060 acres of prairie are located in northern Weld County.  Here are the top 5 reasons to visit Pawnee National Grassland:

5. Hiking - Wildflower viewing is great in spring and early summer on the Pawnee. The prairie evening primrose is still in bloom, along with the greenthread, western wallflower and tansy aster. The prickly pear cactus is just starting to show its colors as well.

4. Bird watching - More than 300 bird species have been seen on the grassland. 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.

3. Target Shooting - In addition, shooting enthusiasts have the chance to go to the Baker Draw Designated Shooting Area which is located near the intersections of Weld County Roads 96 and 63. The area provides 25, 50, and 100-yard shooting opportunities.

2. Camping - The Crow Valley Campground on the west side provides a developed area to set up your tent or RV. Dispersed camping under the starry sky is also popular.

1. Pawnee Buttes - The Pawnee Buttes that jut out more than 200 feet from the prairie floor. The Pawnee Buttes Trailhead is a four-mile, round-trip trail that introduces visitors to this geological find that is located on the eastern side of the grassland. Foot or animal traffic is welcomed, but mountain bikes are prohibited.


Join the National Grasslands Week celebration with a visit to the Pawnee National Grassland office at 660 O Street in Greeley, Wednesday through Friday, to enjoy cookies and a chat with district staff. To bring the week to a close, interpretive guides will be out on the grassland Saturday.

Visitors are invited to the Pawnee Buttes Trailhead on the east side of the Pawnee this Saturday from 8:30 to about 10:30 a.m. to learn about grassland fauna and flora, recreational opportunities, area history and more. There will be a scavenger hunt and a prairie game with fabulous prizes.