The Eastern Plains of Colorado! Learn how the state offers more than mountains for beauty, as well as popular attractions to visit.

*This article was written by BTTM team member Alicia Glassmeyer*

Welcome To The Eastern Plains Of Colorado

When you think of Colorado, what is the first thing that comes to mind? The Rocky Mountains, of course. We’re here to let you know that there is more to Colorado than mountains. Let us introduce you to the beauty of the eastern plains of Colorado.

Flatlanders

People that live in the mountains of Colorado, call Denverites and other non-mountain town dwellers, flatlanders. Being a flatlander, I used to resent that, but I’ve learned that it’s not really all that bad. I get to see the entire front range of the Colorado Rockies from my backyard every day. I also have all of the conveniences of city life. As a proud flatlander, let me share some of my favorite things about the plains and maybe you’ll agree it’s worth a visit.

the eastern plains of Colorado
How amazing are the the eastern plains of Colorado?

Weather

Because of the unique geography of this region, we get some amazing thunderstorms. If you are a weather nerd, like me, you can have a great adventure watching the storms build up and follow them toward the east to live out your amateur storm chasing dreams.

Yes, this can bring hail and tornadoes. However, the big skies of the open plains give some fantastic views during storm season. There can be strong winds out on the plains so you will often see wind farms with giant turbines towering over the landscape creating sustainable energy!

Note: If you are flying into Denver, this unique geography can often lead to turbulent skies. Be prepared for a bumpy ride on the way in. Trust us, though, it’s worth it once you get here.

Geography

Some people might think that the landscape of the plains is just flat and boring. I think you need to change your perspective. Remember that many of the peaks of the Rocky Mountains are over 14,000 feet and you can see those from a good distance out on the plains. Watching the sun set behind the mountains from our beautiful prairie is not to be missed!

sun set behind the Rocky Mountains
Watching the sun set behind the Rocky Mountains

Geology

The flat nature of the plains can be deceptive. There are hidden geological gems carved out of the Colorado plains that you might miss if you don’t know where you’re heading. Just east of Colorado Springs is a lovely place, the Paint Mines Interpretive Park. You can’t see these impressive rock formations until you are right up on them, and there are some views here that truly shouldn’t be missed.

If you do visit this wonderful site, remember it is full of history and is very fragile. Follow “leave no trace” practices and do not climb the rocks! Unlike some of the more popular mountain vistas in our gorgeous state, there is not a huge elevation gain when hiking amongst these beautifully colored hoodoos. So, breathe easy and enjoy the stroll!

Note: Do keep in mind the elevation in this area is still around 6,500 feet. It can still be harsh for someone visiting from sea level. Always give yourself time to acclimate to Colorado’s elevation before exerting yourself, and stay hydrated!

Paint Mines Interpretive Park
Paint Mines Interpretive Park

Wildlife

There is an abundance of wildlife on the prairie. One of the most prominent animals you might see while adventuring on the eastern plains of Colorado is the Pronghorn, commonly known as the antelope. This beautiful animal can somehow survive in this hot, arid, environment.

You will also see many birds, including owls, eagles, hawks, a variety of song birds, and even bats! Coyote, deer, rabbits, prairie dogs, and some less adorable animals like rattlesnakes and tarantulas call the plains home. Keep that in mind in case you were thinking about venturing off the trail.

Pro Tip: A good place to see a lot of wildlife without venturing too far out of the city is the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge.

Pronghorn, commonly known as the antelope
Pronghorn, commonly known as the antelope

Cities

Eastern Colorado has all the major cities our state is known for. Denver, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, and Pueblo, all call the High Plains home and are situated along the I-25 corridor. You can easily drive between all of these cities within a day, but we suggest you take some time in each one and explore what they have to offer.

  • Denver is the capital of Colorado and is a great home base for some Colorado exploring. There is a vibrant downtown area to explore, great street art, excellent hotels and restaurants, and is home to multiple major sports teams. There is always something to do here!
  • Fort Collins has a major university and a lovely old town area to explore. It is also a good starting point if you do want to visit the less flat areas of Colorado and head to Rocky Mountain National Park.
  • Colorado Springs has tons of natural beauty. It’s a mountain town at heart but situated on the extreme western edge of the plains. There are many attractions including the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, The Broadmoor Hotel, and Garden of the Gods.
  • Pueblo is lesser known, but steadily growing. We haven’t had the pleasure of exploring much of the city yet, but we hear it has a nice Riverwalk area and some cool museums.

Final Thoughts On The Eastern Plains Of Colorado

We hope that you have now learned a little about the eastern plains of Colorado. What do you find most interesting? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

About The Author: Alicia is a photographer from Colorado. She loves camping, dogs, and cake. Check out her website for more amazing photography.

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The Eastern Plains of Colorado! Learn how the state offers more than mountains for beauty as well as popular attractions to visit.