Though known as the shortest byway in Colorado, the South Platte River Trail is big in history. It’s located near Nebraska’s border, and was used as a westward route by pioneering traders, fortune seekers and settlers of the 19th century. Covering the entire loop, it features a picturesque view of the South Platte River.
South Platte River Trail is only 19 miles long, and can be accomplished in just about 30 minutes. It’s really up to the traveler where he would want to start, but the trail usually begins and ends in the scantily populated Julesburg.
About 150 years ago, the town used to be the sole Pony Express station in the whole of Colorado. This is also where the 15-year old Buffalo Bill (William Cody) signed in as a rider. Going west of the trail is Fort Sedgwick, which served as an important installation used to protect travelers and telegraph lines from Indians and robbery threats.
Activities near South Platte River Trail
Major points of interest along its path are the refurbished Hippodrome Arts Center, which was built in 1919. It features an art gallery, an event space and a movie house. The Fort Sedgwick Depot Museum features Indian artifacts, antique collections and other interesting memorabilia.
The byway is best navigated during spring, summer and fall, and offers enough recreation for its travelers. Sedgwick Bar and Julesburg State Wildlife areas provide good fishing and hunting grounds. South Platte River offers great tailwater fishing as well. Other delightful activities include bird watching, hiking and biking.
Read about the camping near Julesburg, CO and Lake McConaughy, NE.
Address: Julesburg, CO
Passes through: Ovid, CO
Season: Year round
Length: 19 miles
Map: South Platte River Trail Byway (png)