Pawnee Grasslands Willow Creek Loop

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4.5/5 (8 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

Check out our Kelly Flats (57.27 mi away) trail guide for an All-Access Preview!

Trail Reviews

4.5/5 (8)
Open
Rated 4/5
Visited: 03/20/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Agree with Dominik, we went together and it was quite fun! Was very different compared to all the trails I'm used to in the mountains, would recommend if you want to try something different.
Trail Review: Pawnee Grasslands Willow Creek Loop - Lalo Martinez
Trail Review: Pawnee Grasslands Willow Creek Loop - Lalo Martinez
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Open
Rated 4/5
Visited: 03/18/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

In the Pawnee Grasslands, you have a large choice of different routes to take – all of them unique, but largely similar. We drove most of the Willow Creek Loop on a sunny day in March and it was very dry, so traction was never an issue (I could imagine that being the case shortly after heavy rain). The roads don’t offer a technical challenge, but they are quite fun! If you don’t have too much ground clearance, you’ll have to choose your line carefully in places, but that shouldn’t be an issue. Please keep in mind that a lot of the grasslands are used as pasture; that means being considerate of animals and closing every gate you open behind you.
Trail Review: Pawnee Grasslands Willow Creek Loop - Dominik Vereno
Trail Review: Pawnee Grasslands Willow Creek Loop - Dominik Vereno
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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.
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Official Crew
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50100
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.
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Official Crew
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50100
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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