Pawnee Grasslands Willow Creek Loop

5/5 (6 reviews)
Briggsdale, Colorado (Weld County)
Last Updated: 12/27/2020
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Trail Information

Highlights

Sprawling across the plains northeast of Greeley, Colorado, the Pawnee Grasslands are criss-crossed by a network of gravel county roads and 2-track dirt Forest Service Roads. These easy roads offer an alternative to the usual mountain ‘wheeling of the Colorado Rockies, especially from late fall to early spring when many of the mountain trails are snowed in. The Pawnee Grasslands are an internationally recognized bird-watching area and support many species of birds, especially during migration season. Pronghorn, prairie dogs and other wildlife are plentiful and there are opportunities for hiking, target shooting, camping and star gazing as well as a rich history with a mix of abandoned homesteads and working farms and ranches. This route combines several Forest Service Roads connected by a few short sections of County Roads along the northern edge of the Willow Creek drainage providing wide open views of the rolling hills and plenty of solitude.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

Trail Reviews

5/5 (6 reviews)
Status: Open
Visited: 12/12/2021
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

A great trail to experience the scenery of the grasslands with great views of the front range on a clear day. There were no challenges or obstacles, some ruts and washouts on the main road bed were easily bypassed. Some of the trail markers have been damaged, pay attention at intersections as there are a lot of two-tracks out there.
Bill Andrews
Official Crew
39550
Status: Open
Visited: 12/27/2020

Although I did not run this specific trail, the trails I did run on Pawnee Grasslands on December 26 were clear and dry.
Bill Andrews
Official Crew
39550
Status: Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 05/16/2020

We went out to Pawnee Grasslands to get pics and data for a refresh of the trail guide for Willow Creek Loop. My wife, Missy, and our dog, Ranger were riding along so we took our stock Grand Cherokee to be a little more comfortable. Also along in her mildly modded 1977 Plymouth Trailduster (Dusty) was our daughter, Leona, her boyfriend, Steve, and her dog, Mason. We had nice weather except it was a bit windy. The trail was muddy in places from the recent rain but not too bad. There was one spot where the mud made the Grand slip into some deeper ruts and high center. Leona pulled me out easily and we continued without incident. The dogs enjoyed getting out several times and exploring the new sights, sounds and especially smells. Steve was scouting for pronghorns as he has an antelope tag for the fall in the general area. We did see several, although not the very large herds we sometimes encounter. There were also plenty of prairie dogs, a few rabbits and what I think was a badger but I didn’t get a really good look at it as it scurried away. If it was a skunk, it was a very large one. Overall it was a very nice family outing.
Trail Review: Pawnee Grasslands Willow Creek Loop - Bill Andrews
Trail Review: Pawnee Grasslands Willow Creek Loop - Bill Andrews
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Status: Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 11/27/2019

Me and my buddies always do this loop after a snowstorm or after a lot of rain, and driving it after the 2 ft of snow we got right before Thanksgiving was a blast! There was lots of drift busting, some getting stuck, and a great chance to test out the Duratracs! Both the Jeep and the Tacoma did great!
Bill Andrews
Official Crew
39550
Status: Open
Visited: 12/16/2017

Calvary 4-Wheelers took a mid December trip to the Pawnee Grasslands on Saturday, December 16. 2017. Along for the trip were Jon and Katie in Jon's red Cherokee, Karen in her red JK and me in my dark green Cherokee. According to the calendar this was supposed to be a snow wheeling trip but the weather has been very mild this fall and there was no snow to be found. The day was partly cloudy to mostly sunny and would have been quite pleasant if it had not been for a cold, stiff breeze out of the north. We started the day running a couple of short trails on the western edge of the Grasslands in the morning and got to the Willow Creek trailhead a little after noon. We headed down 116 and connected to 241 enjoying the desolate beauty of the short grass prairie and the Willow Creek drainage. As we turned north on 69 we startled a small herd of pronghorns and watched as they raced off to the west. Once they were out of view we made our way north to 671. As we made our way around 671, we encountered another herd of pronghorns that ran off to the south as we turned north toward County Road 120. From County Road 120 we turn south again on 69 but, instead of turning west on 114 to complete the loop, we continued south past the old homestead and exited to the east on 110, heading for Murphy Reservoir.
Trail Review: Pawnee Grasslands Willow Creek Loop - Bill Andrews
Trail Review: Pawnee Grasslands Willow Creek Loop - Bill Andrews
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