Colorado Unexpected - Five Amazing Experiences

1. Tarantula Trek

Visit the Comanche National Grassland during the yearly tarantula trek when tarantulas appear en masse in Southeast Colorado. For species that are present in Southeast Colorado the migration of the adult males take place from late August through September (into early October) and it is at this time of the season when Colorado tarantulas are most often observed. The first time visitor to the Comanche National Grassland is usually surprised to find such a varied landscape from rolling short grass prairies to rugged canyons rimmed by pinion-juniper forests.


2. Farm Fresh Produce

Arkansas Valley farmers work hard on their farms all season to grow a wide variety of produce – corn, watermelons, cantaloupes and much more. La Junta and the Arkansas Valley are famous for its fresh vegetables and melons. Farm markets are typically open between July and October to the delight of residents and visitors alike seeking the good bounty from this fertile land.  The Farm Markets are such an important tradition in Southeast Colorado.

The Rocky Ford Growers Association was formed in 2011 by the growers of Rocky Ford Cantaloupe™ to strengthen and protect the reputation of the world famous melons. The Rocky Ford growing region has now been defined as Otero County and Crowley County South of the Colorado Canal.


3. History

Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site features a reconstructed 1840s adobe fur trading post on the mountain branch of the Santa Fe Trail where traders, trappers, travelers and the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes came together in peaceful terms for trade.  Today, living historians recreate the sights, sounds and smells of the past with guided tours, demonstrations and special events.



4. Outdoor Recreation

The Comanche National Grassland is responsible for the management of 443,764 acres of range lands and 300 different species of birds, reptiles, amphibians, & mammals. Not only that but the Comanche National Grassland encompasses a fascinating landscape that reveals the history of the region in its exposed rock layers of prehistoric sea bedsand ancient lake shores rift with dinosaur tracks.

Picketwire Canyon is located just 20 miles from La Junta, and is open for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking. Picketwire Canyon contains one of the largest dinosaur track beds in the world, ruins of an old Mexican mission and settlement, Native American Rock Art and an early 19th century ranch, now preserved by the Comanche National Grassland.

Vogel Canyon is just a short drive from La Junta; beautiful Vogel Canyon is always a popular destination because it has something for everybody - from a short hike to a quiet picnic. Four hiking trails take you to the canyon bottom and mesa top. The park provides picnic grounds and hiking trails with a variety of difficulty and length.

Guided auto tours are the easiest way to experience Picket Wire Canyonlands and learn about its rich, colorful past. During the tour, knowledgeable guides will show you difficult to find dinosaur tracks, and the interesting prehistoric, historic, and natural features of the canyons. All day tours (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) are offered on Saturdays in May, June, September, and October.

5. Community Theatre

Picketwire Center for the Performing & Visual Arts, recognized by the State of Colorado as the longest, continuously running community theatre remaining in Colorado that owns its own building, celebrated 50 years of live community theatre in the Arkansas Valley in July 2018.