The NoCo50 Challenge has seen hiking around the fun festivals and events that make summertime in Northern Colorado so entertaining. With the next challenge, it is time to get back to NoCo’s great outdoors and do some hiking as nature intended.
When we think of hiking in NoCo, we instinctively look to the west and the amazing trails of the Rocky Mountains. For this week’s challenge, we are asked to affix our gaze 180 degrees away from the Rockies to Colorado’s great Eastern Plains. It is there that we find the Pawnee National Grasslands in the heart of Weld County and NoCo50 Challenge No. 26: Hike the Pawnee Buttes.
The Pawnee Buttes are two prominent buttes located within the Pawnee National Grassland in northeastern Colorado. Rising approximately 300 feet above the eastern Colorado plains, the buttes are erosional remnants left standing in isolation as the surrounding plains’ surface has gradually worn away.
The Pawnee Buttes Trail is noted for its scenery and bird-watching potential. The Overlook, the Lipps Bluff trail, and the area within 200 yards of the cliffs are closed to hikers from March 1 to June 30 to protect nesting falcons, eagles and hawks. Since it is now summer, these trails will be open, and it’s time to tackle the buttes. The Pawnee Buttes Trail is 4.1 miles in length, has little elevation gain and is considered easy.
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