Explore Prairie trails - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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We enjoyed Pawnee Buttes on a beautiful 50 degree Sunday in January. We left the parking lot and headed down to the the fork and took the right path onto Lips Bluff Trail, up and over enjoying the amazing views.
We rejoined the main trail and hiked to the both bluffs and back along the main trail back to the parking lot. Very unique landscape in the plains of NE Colorado. We hiked with our son and two dogs
And they all loved it. A great winter option for us that live in NOCO.

Best to go on a cooler day. The hike to all the Buttes is worth it!

Nice trail with Texas back country terrain. Nice.

Accidental fire last summer (2018) burned much of the eastern half of park. Most of this trail is through the burn scar. Some grasses are coming back. It should be nice for wildflowers in the spring. Lots of water on the trails from recent rains. Traverses lots of rough granite terrain.

almost like a moonscape in places around what i hope are controlled burn spots.

Great little trail on top of Scottsbluff National Monument. Great views of surrounding bluffs and the surrounding area. Great flowers and plants depending on time of year. I try to make it there whenever we visit family in the area.

like walking back in time, super peaceful and quiet, much of the hike you see nothing man made. if you need to decompress walk this trail. super nice park ranger @ the visitor center, she filled us in on some stuff.

scenic driving
1 month ago

a lot easier to come from the south than the north, directions were suspect. but we made it, few bucks a person. just a view of the plains in the distance, not much elevation change. few buffalo herds way in the distance.

hiking
3 months ago

Stretch your legs and enjoy the view.

hiking
4 months ago

Very pretty trail, especially at sunrise! Quiet and serene.

hiking
4 months ago

Great afternoon walk. Many different routes to explore. Low traffic. Some climbing on certain trails.

hiking
4 months ago

Expansive views. Easy hike, but the trailhead is a bit out of the way.

a great hike for our 4 grandkids

hiking
5 months ago

This place is a hidden gem! The cattle were loitering at the trailhead, but beyond that I was completely alone. In all my hikes and parks, I’ve never had such a sense of solitude. There’s solitude and then there’s SOLITUDE. If you want to unplug for a couple of hours, each lunch on a butte (or at the picnic tables), and let your thoughts unwind come here.

The long dirt road there is like a preview of the solitude and view you’ll have.

Nebraska high point! Google Maps got us right there from the south. At turn off there's a sign with some information and a envelope/drop box for your $3.

From the turnoff you drive a dirt road about a mile to the highpoint. You're not allowed to walk the road from turnoff due to the fact that it's a working bison ranch (High Point Bison).

Once to the top there's a simple monument, bench, and metal desk with register.

Pretty great views of Wyoming, Colorado, and Nebraska plains.

One request: please don't leave loose paper or even trinkets in the drawers. I spent 5-10 minutes picking up trash that had blown/fallen out of the drawer.

hiking
5 months ago

Awesome, couldn't believe I was the only person there on a Sunday morning. Loved the scenery, would never have expected how life thrives in a place that looks so desolate at first glance. Easy and peaceful.

Can’t really expect more from a drive-up highest point :).

NOTE - $3.00 per person. Don’t drive all the way out there without your funds

Views yes, but very ordinary. No markers or info. Did see buffalo herd.

hiking
6 months ago

loved it. A prairie hike may not have what some look for but I find great beauty and views. Nice rock formations. Trail head is developed with nice shelter, restrooms and tables. A couple of Free public land primitive campsites just west of trail head.

hiking
6 months ago

wish i would have known about the gravel roads to get there but it was worth it once i arrived. i was the only one at the trailhead the whole time. super easy 3/4 of the way is all flat then some easy climbing up the buttes. it was so cool to experience them and see the unique landscape. didn’t see any rattlesnakes but heard a ton kind of close to the trail. bring a ton of water, sunscreen and a hat for sure

good short hike. couldn't go to top of butter because of mating season.

hiking
7 months ago

This is an excellent short hike with beautiful views. There was no shade so be sure to big plenty of water and a hat if needed. We went close to sunset so there were a lot of birds singing and cooler weather. There was also some antelope around the area.

The history of the area is nicely displayed. It is a nice paved path so I wouldn't call it a hike.

We went on Saturday. I expected it to be busy because it was a nice weekend. It was not. We did see the buffalo and they were not behind any fence. The trail was not marked real well, but it is prairie so you can't really get lost

backpacking
9 months ago

Varied terrain and views for a relatively short hike. I found the roads slick and muddy in the rain. The trails were in better shape than the roads! I camped overnight between the two buttes; bring all the water you need, as there is none on the trail. Prepare for complete exposure to the elements on the trail (sun, rain, snow, wind....) Amazing sunset and sunrise in a cool landscape.

Neat views, if you look towards Chimney Rock National Monument you can see it on a clear day.

Great hiking. Some parts challenging to a beginner like me. But a fantastic work out. The wildlife is abundant.

hiking
11 months ago

What a neat trail to find in the Eastern part of Colorado. The roads (gravel and pitted pavement) getting to this trail are not for the type of car we were driving and was glad the weather was nice. It was very easy park to find and the trails are very well worn so you will not loose your way. I recommend bearing to the right of the trail as you go through the second gate. On you way back from the two main buttes, take the right after the sign and head into the canyon for some very cool exploring. We were there for about 4 hours and wished we had a couple more hours. We were the only hikers there this day.

hiking
Wednesday, January 10, 2018

I came for the bison. I'm not a big fan of hiking in open prairies...I prefer wooded trails. But I was excited to try something new on a sunny but cold January day. The visitors center is a nice amenity, and I spoke with the nicest park staff there. She really helped me decide which trail(s) to do and how to enjoy the scenic views. After hiking about an hour, I saw the bison just on the other side of a fence that the park ranger told me not to cross. I watched the herd of about 12 bison for a while, then backed off a bit, then returned to watch them file out of their grazing area, passing through an open gate. They were quiet and calm; I never felt threatened. Really exciting experience!
The trail itself has virtually no markings. If you are not super good with an internal compass, you will need a map and some tips from the park ranger. I really think they need some trail blazes. I saw only one at the very beginning of this trail--a painted stone set in the ground. You can't really get lost since it's open prairie, but I would like to have more way-finding available.
The 4th star is for the bison and the wonderful park ranger.

hiking
Monday, December 11, 2017

Nice views. Quiet.

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