Things To Do in the Fowler Area
The History of our home town and surrounding area is represented at the Fowler Historical Museum. History memorabilia is collected from the files of the Fowler Historical Society and Museum.
The Museum is located at 114 Main Street in Fowler, Colorado. Visit the web site for more information:
Fowler Historical Museum
Southeast Colorado is one of the best kept secrets of the state. Around the Fowler area outdoor enthusiasts will find miles of trails and rural roads just right for hiking, biking or plain exploring - all within minutes of Fowler. The area abounds with natural beauty. From the red hued cliffs and steep bluffs of the Purgatory River to the open high plains of Comanche National Grassland you can get away from the hustle and bustle of modern life and slow down a bit. Bird watching expeditions, wild flower excursions, or historic journeys back in time are yours - all within a short distance from Fowler.
There are many boating and fishing opportunities in the area.
Popular boating and fishing locations within a short drive of Fowler include Lake Henry and Meredith, the Arkansas River and several small ponds.
John Martin and Lake Hasty are located off Hwy 50 near Hasty. John Martin Reservoir State Park is about 60 miles east of Fowler, this massive lake was created by the damning of the Arkansas River in the 1930s. The length of the dam is 2.6 miles with a height of 118 feet. Its discharge capacity is 639,200 feet with a drainage area of 18,913 square miles. Today the lake is open for boating and skiing, as well as fishing for bass, crappie and trout.
Over 300 species of birds inhabit the area around Fowler. Quail, pheasant, dove, bald eagle, golden eagle, ducks, geese and hawks, lesser prairie chickens and longbill curlew are just a few of the species to be found by astute bird watchers. From the short grass prairies and rugged canyons south of town to the Arkansas River basin on the north edge of town popular bird watching spots are just minutes away.
The primary purpose of the Grasslands is the responsible management of 419,495 acres of range lands and the wildlife management of approximately 275 different species of birds that use or live here. In addition, there are about forty different species of reptiles, nine amphibians, and eleven fish in the grasslands. Lion, bear, antelope, fox, and bobcat are among the mammals that inhabit the more remote regions.
Located just a few miles from Fowler, Picketwire Canyon is great for a more strenuous adventure. No motorized vehicles are allowed in the canyon except for guided tours led by Comanche National Grassland rangers. The canyon is open to the public though, a trail heads on the mesa above the canyon offer access to Picketwire canyon 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 19 th century ranch, now preserved by the Comanche National Grassland.
Dinosaur Tracks – Along the Purgatory River tracks from dinosaurs such as apatosaurus (brontosaurus), stegosaurus and allousaurus are found. The area has come under serious scientific investigation in recent years. But it wasn’t always that way, in fact the dinosaur tracks were a well-guarded secret until letters in Life Magazine and Scientific American in 1935 reported the existence of dinosaur track ways in the Purgatory Valley, called Rio De Las Animas Pedidas or River of Lost Souls. The track site is considered to be the largest continuously mapped site in North America with over 1,300 footprints in four different layers of rock.
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. The canyon is a tributary of the Purgatory River and offers a varied habit from short grass prairies to the pinion-juniper ecosystem. Two permanent springs located at the bottom of the canyon support a variety of wildlife.
Native Americans lived in the canyon 300-800 years ago and left rock art visible on the canyon walls. There are historic ruins of an old stage station and numerous homesteads to be found in the canyon. Walls constructed of native stone from the heavy 19 th century ranching days can be found throughout the canyon.
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. Hikers must beware of rattlesnakes and scorpions, as well as pack appropriate dress for late afternoon showers.
Fowler is located in the heart of the Old Santa Fe Trail country. U.S. Highway 50 from the Kansas border through La Junta and U.S. Highway 350 from La Junta to Trinidad follows the "Mountain Route" of the Santa Fe Trail. Here on Highway 350 on your way to Trinidad you can easily travel and explore the old trail by car. Faint traces of the old wagon ruts can still be seen just outside of La Junta and along Highway 350 at various locations.
West U.S. Highway 50, from La Junta through Fowler and on into Pueblo along the Arkansas River, follows a spur of the old Santa Fe Trail. Long a favorite route for Native Americans, fur trappers, gold seekers, and later settlers. This was the route that led to the fabled "Shinning Mountains" - today known as the Rocky Mountains.
Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site is located just 35 miles from Fowler and over 150 years back in time. This reconstructed trading post located on the Santa Fe Trail was the last United States outpost before crossing the Arkansas River and entering Mexico. It became the most important frontier hub during the era of “Manifest Destiny” for a growing young country. American trade and influence radiated from here south into Mexico, west into the Great Basin and north to southern Wyoming.
The Fort was originally built in 1833-34 by brothers Charles and William Bent and Ceran St. Vrain for the Native American fur trade but soon became an important stop along the Santa Fe Trail. In its hey-day it was know as the only civilization between Independence, Missouri and Santa Fe, Mexico. This early nineteenth century fort is filled with period furnishings and hosts historic re-enactors throughout the year during several special events.
Boggsville stands apart in the history of this region as the only non-military settlement along the Santa Fe Trail. The small settlement is located on the Purgatory River two miles south of present day Las Animas. Boggsville was founded in 1862 by Thomas O. Boggs, his wife Rumalda Luna Bent (as stepdaughter of Charles Bent), L.A. Allen and Charles Ritc. In 1867, the noted frontiersman, Kit Carson, moved to Boggsville. This was his last home before his death in 1868 at Ft. Lyon. During its short lifespan from 1867 through 1873 when the railroad arrived, Boggsville was important as a center for agriculture, government, commerce and culture.
In 1985, the site was acquired by the Pioneer Historical Society of Bent County. The site is currently being restored to its former glory. The restored and reconstructed buildings already completed offer a personal experience of life on the frontier for the visitor.
History is evident all throughout the area at Boggsville in Las Animas, Bent’s Fort in La Junta, along Highway 350 to Trinidad, or Highway 50 through Fowler.
Visit our Links Page for Links to the web sites of these activities.