Comanche National Grassland encompasses more than 440,000 rural acres in the southeastern plains. Highlights include dinosaur footprints, ancient rock art, abandoned homesteads and the Sante Fe Trail.
Over 1300 visible tracks make it one of the largest documented dinosaur trackways in North America, residing in the picturesque Picketwire Canyonlands. The natural beauty of Comanche is another draw, with short grass, rugged canyons and rolling bluffs. Southeast Colorado brings isolation, so if you’re looking to avoid the crowds, this is a good place for it.
The grassland is split into two main parts: Timpas Unit in the northwest (of Comanche National Grassland), and Carrizo Unit in the southeast along the Oklahoma border. The roads are well marked and should be good for even low clearance cars. Remember to bring water and a full tank of gas when visiting.
Activities in Comanche National Grassland
Biking/Hiking – The Santa Fe National Historic Trail passes through the grassland. In addition there are numerous well marked trails.
- Picket Wire Trail goes by a long set of Jurassic tracks.
- Picture Canyon trail passes Crack Cave, a tiny cavern full of prehistoric drawings. However, Crack Cave is fully sealed off unless you are on a guided tour during the equinox in March or September.
- Vogel Canyon trail also passes by petroglyphs.
Birding – Over 235 bird species exist within the grassland.
Camping – Dispersed camping is permitted everywhere except Picketwire Canyon. Please use preexisting sites and watch out for private property. The primitive campsites by Picture Canyon trailhead are probably the most used.
- Read about the camping near La Junta and Lamar.
Horseback Riding – Allowed on parts of Santa Fe Trail and others.
Petroglyphs – Native American rock art can be found in Picture Canyon, Carrizo Canyon, and Vogel Canyon. Vogel Canyon also has remnants of prehistoric rock shelters.
Wildlife – Common sightings include rattlesnakes, elk, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, dove, quail, and turkey. Lesser seen animals include burrowing owl, massasauga, northern harrier, ferruginous hawk, mountain plover, long-billed curlew, loggerhead shrike, grasshopper sparrow, swift fox, black-tailed prairie dog, plains leopard frog, whooping crane, and the American bald eagle.
Season: Year round, daily
Pets: Yes, on leash
Motor Vehicle Use Maps: Large, PDF’s from the USFS. They show forest service roads.