Trails of Northern Colorado Share Your Experiences Resources Tour 1: The Foothills Tour 2: The River Tour 3: Mountains to Plains Your Natural Places
Map Key Tour 1: The Foothills Tour 2: The River Tour 3: The Plains Tour 3: The Plains

“The trail is the thing, not the end of the trail.
Travel too fast and you miss all you are traveling for.”

—Louis L'Amour

In northern Colorado, where the Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountain foothills, trails have defined the movement of animals and people on the landscape for thousands of years, creating a diverse and rich tapestry of stories, legends, and physical remains. Generations of American Indians have migrated and lived throughout the area for more than 13,000 years, and today many consider it to be part of their ancestral homelands. Since the mid-1800s to the present, trappers and traders, homesteaders and ranchers, entrepreneurs and beet farmers, academics and recreationists, and many others have traveled trails from all directions on their own personal journeys to this area.

A trail has many definitions. It can be as simple as a track or mark made by something that has passed, like the course of a river or an animal searching for dinner, or it can be a path that has been formed in the landscape through continued use by humans – a rancher’s cattle trail, a wagon’s tracks, a train’s railways, or an automobile’s highway. Trails can also be viewed as transitory, timeless journeys – birds migrating overhead, American Indians following ancestral pilgrimage routes, and peoples whose traces remain yet are revealed only to the careful observer, say on a headstone or in a museum’s collection of artifacts.

There are countless stories to uncover in northern Colorado and we invite you to learn more about the people and stories shared on this site, to visit these places, or to explore your own personal trail. See where the journey takes you.

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