ForestCamping.com Features Comanche National Grassland in Colorado

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Fred and Suzi Dow, publishers of ForestCamping.com, recently visited Comanche National Grassland and are featuring this grassland on their website

ForestCamping.com, the comprehensive website for camping in national forests and grasslands, recently visited Comanche National Grassland, CO. It is featuring the grassland with detailed up-to-date camping information, photographs and things to do.

Located south of Denver and east of Trinidad, CO, the Comanche National Grassland (NG) has much to offer visitors. Although it would appear rolling prairies dominant the landscape, the Comanche has enough hidden nooks and crannies to described it as an “English muffin” grassland. It has steep canyons with a few trees hidden by gently rolling slopes covered by sage, yucca, and cactus. This variation in topography gives the Comanche its many nooks and crannies and provides a range of recreational opportunities from camping to wildlife viewing, hiking to scenic drives, star-gazing to bird-watching, and more.

One of the more interesting aspects of the Comanche is that human history abounds in those hidden canyons. Evidence that early American Indians occupied the area can be found in rock art hidden in rock niches and on cliff faces. Some of the rock art is thought to be at least 8,000 years old while there is newer art depicting horses which were introduced to the area in the 16th century. Remember, all rock art and other artifacts are considered to be part of a fragile, irreplaceable legacy. Please, do not touch or remove.

Starting in the 1820s, wagon trains loaded with goods for New Mexico (known then as Old Mexico), followed the Santa Fe Trail until the railroad was built through the area. A small section of the original trail can be found on the Comanche NG and is open to the public.

Among the first non-Indian settlers on the grassland was a group of eleven New Mexico families who, in 1871, settled along the Purgatory River (a.k.a. Picket Wire Canyon). During the same year, Eugene and Mary Rourke established a ranch in a nearby canyon. Visitors can take a Ranger-led auto tour of Picket Wire Canyon (fee and reservations are required) and visit the ruins of the settlements as well as one of the largest dinosaur track-ways in the world and one of many ancient rock art sites in the canyon. For the Picket Wire Canyon Auto Tour contact the Carrizo Ranger District Office for more information and reservations, 719-523-6591.

The uniqueness of the Comanche NG is illustrated in its camping opportunities. While dispersed camping is permitted throughout the Comanche, there is a "developed" campground at the Picket Wire Canyon trailhead called Withers Canyon Trailhead. This campground has large Juniper trees providing shade and offers basic amenities, such as picnic tables, fire-grill, vault toilet, and parking aprons, but no potable water. In addition to Withers Canyon Trailhead, several picnic areas, such are Vogel, Carrizo and Picture Canyon, which are located south of Springfield, CO, permit overnight camping. As an added bonus, the later two picnic areas are convenient to some delightfully scenic areas.

There is much to see and do on the Comanche National Grassland. Visitors can gain some insight into the history of the area from rock art left by the American Indian, the commercial importance of the Santa Fe Trail, and the fortitude of those who settled in this rugged area.. There are opportunities to “walk with the dinosaurs” in the Picket Wire Canyon, do some star-gazing in the vast open space, and enjoy the solitude of a place off the beaten path, just to mention a few things.

About ForestCamping.com
ForestCamping.com, the U.S. National Forest Campground Guide website, is a complete and comprehensive guide to developed campgrounds in national forests and grasslands. It provides detailed information to campers looking to experience the great outdoors. In addition to managing a website, Fred and Suzi Dow also self-publish Ebook CDs and downloads of eleven U.S. National Forest Campground Guides, which can be purchased online at their website

Fred and Suzi Dow, authors and publishers of ForestCamping.com, have devoted 18 years to visiting, personally researching, and providing the public with free, detailed information about 175 national forests and grasslands and more than 2,400 personally surveyed campgrounds.

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