Eastern Plains of
Colorado refers to a region of the
U.S. state of
Colorado east of the
Rocky Mountains and east of the population
centers of the Front Range.
2.1 Native Americans
8 See also
Eastern Plains are part of the High Plains, which are the
westernmost portion of the Great Plains. The region is characterized
by mostly rolling plains, divided by the
South Platte River
South Platte River and
Arkansas River valleys. There are also several deciduous forests,
canyons, buttes, and a few large natural lakes and rivers throughout
the region. The
Eastern Plains rise from approximately 3,400 feet at
the eastern border of
Colorado with Kansas, where the Arkansas River
leaves the state, to 7,500 feet east of the Denver Basin.
Most of the
Eastern Plains region lies within Colorado's 4th
Eastern Plains have a semi-arid climate and receive little
rainfall. Much of the area relies on irrigation to survive. Summers
are typically hot and dry, often bringing thunderstorms, which are
often severe, to the area, with some occasionally forming landspouts
and tornadoes. Eastern
Colorado winters are cold and dry, with
significant snowfalls and icy conditions. Temperatures can sometimes
fall to -40 to -30 degrees Fahrenheit in extreme cold waves, although
this is rare.
Many of the original settlers of Eastern
Colorado built sod houses
where lumber was scarce.
Colorado was once home to many Native American tribes. The
Plains Indians that lived in the region included the Arapahoe,
Cheyenne, Kiowa, Pawnee, and Sioux. The
Ute people formally ruled
all over central and western Colorado, and onto the eastern plains as
Comanche once ruled all over southeastern Colorado, and the
Jicarilla Apache ruled in southeastern
Colorado as well.
In 1541, the Spanish came to the area now known as the south eastern
portion of Colorado, in search of gold after hearing rumors in Mexico
city. Not having found any gold, the Spanish largely left the area
untouched. During the late 17th and 18th century Spain and France
claimed southeastern Colorado. However, nobody settled the land. In
1803 the United States gained possession of the land east of Rocky
Mountains with the Louisiana Purchase.
Zebulon M. Pike was sent by the federal government to lay out the
boundary lines of territory in 1806. This expedition investigated the
area now known as
Colorado Springs. The prominent mountain in the area
was named Pike's Peak after Pike, the leading commander of the
exploration. There were multiple expeditions sent to lay out and
explore the territory throughout the early 1800s. This created
multiple trading posts with fur trades attracting many backcountry
adventurers. There was still no permanent settlement created until
after the conclusion of the Mexican War in 1848. San Luis was founded
on the Culebra River in 1851. Spanish-speaking settlers who had moved
north from New Mexico founded it. San Luis was shortly followed by
settlements of San Pedro, San Acacio and Guadalupe.
Colorado plains are among the most sparsely populated
areas in the continental United States. Some of the region, with the
exception of comparatively urban areas like Sterling, is experiencing
depopulation, which in some areas began with the influenza pandemic of
1918 and agricultural price collapses after World War I. The Dust
Bowl devastated the region and further accelerated this outmigration.
Kiowa County demonstrates the population decline and its associated
The Pawnee Buttes, located in the
Pawnee National Grassland
Pawnee National Grassland on the
high plains in Northeastern Colorado.
Picture Canyon, located in the
Comanche National Grassland, is typical
of the scattered canyons found on the high plains in Eastern Colorado,
Eastern New Mexico, West Texas, and the Oklahoma panhandle.
Pawnee National Grasslands
Pawnee National Grasslands and
Comanche National Grasslands
are located in the Eastern Plains. They are composed of marginal
farmlands that were withdrawn from agriculture and consolidated under
federal control beginning in the Dust Bowl.
Colorado is largely farmland, with many small farming
communities. The major cash crops are corn, wheat, hay, oats, and
soybeans. There is also significant livestock farming, dairy and
poultry farming, including chicken for meat and eggs, and turkey
farming. Most of the towns in the region have grain elevators and
prominent water towers. Also, over 90% of the farms in Eastern
Colorado are family farms.
Colorado most small towns have their own schools and sports
teams, but in some parts where depopulation has been the worst, a
single school is shared among surrounding towns. There are also a
number of schools serving students in grades K–12 run by religious
groups or public school districts. Eastern
Colorado is one of the few
remaining places in the United States with still operating one-room
The most prominent religion in Eastern
Colorado is Christianity, with
Roman Catholicism the largest denomination.
Colorado roads span the gamut from paved roads to gravel roads
to dirt roads. The unpaved roads are typically county or local roads
that do not receive enough traffic to be paved. Some of the major
paved roads include:
U.S. Highway 6
U.S. Highway 24
U.S. Highway 36
U.S. Highway 40
U.S. Highway 50
U.S. Highway 160
U.S. Highway 287
U.S. Highway 350
U.S. Highway 385
State Highway 10
State Highway 11
State Highway 36
State Highway 59
State Highway 71
State Highway 86
State Highway 94
State Highway 96
^ "Eastern Plains".
Colorado State University. Archived from the
original on July 11, 2007. Retrieved December 5, 2007.
Colorado Climate Summaries". dri.edu. Retrieved 16 December
Colorado Climate Center - Climate of Colorado". colostate.edu.
Archived from the original on 3 July 2012. Retrieved 16 December
Colorado Native Americans, History & Genealogy". ancestry.com.
Retrieved 16 December 2016.
Colorado Indian Tribes - Access Genealogy". accessgenealogy.com. 9
July 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
^ "History". howstuffworks.com. 27 February 2008. Archived from the
original on 11 February 2014. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
Pawnee National Grassland
Pawnee National Grassland History". U.S. Department of Agriculture,
Forest Service. March 24, 2004. Retrieved 2007-12-01.
^ "Chronological History of National Grasslands" (PDF). U.S.
Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. Retrieved 2007-12-05.
^ a b "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on
2009-10-15. Retrieved 2009-11-09.
^ Family farms
^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-03-09. Retrieved