Campo Town Park
Community Park right in the middle of the town. Central location for Campo Days festivals, school activities, and camping.
Amenities: Swing Set-Slide-Restrooms-Tables-Grills-Tennis Court(east)-Basketball Court (east)
Carrizo canyon, hidden in the heart of cattle country is lush and breath-taking surprise. Almost humid – even during drought – Carrizo Canyon provides a marshy home to a variety of vegetation including willows, cattails, and of course, cottonwoods and junipers. Carrizo Canyon also boasts wild grapevines, mammoth calabaza plants and, most remarkably, fields of wild tomatillo. Like other canyons in the area, Carrizo Canyon is a gallery of pre-historic rock art. Carrizo Canyon is very easy to explore; the Forest Service has even provided stone and wooden staircases to get in and out of the canyon. In addition to parking area picnic tables, there are several secluded and shady picnic tables in the canyon.
Carrizo Canyon: The east fork of Carrizo Creek flows through this small canyon graced by juniper and cottonwood trees. American Indian petroglyphs can be found along the canyon walls. A variety of wildlife, especially birds, can be seen in the early morning or before sunset.
Carrizo Picnic Area: The hiking trail along Carrizo Creek gives access to one of the few permanent water sources on the Carrizo Unit of the Comanche. Many different bird species come and go throughout the year. Bird highlights include the Black-chinned Hummingbird, Ladder-Backed and Lewis’s Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe, Cassin’s Kingbird, Greater Roadrunner, Ash-throated Flycatchers, Mississippi Kite, Western Screech Owl, and Canyon and Bewick’s Wren. Beneath the water surface are snapping turtles, softshell turtles, bullfrogs and channel catfish. Along the trails near the rock walls you may find bullsnakes, collared lizard and the Texas horned lizard.
How to get there: Take Highway 287 north from Campo. About 2 miles outside of town, you will find a small Forest Service sign marking the road to the canyon. Turn west on this dirt road. Follow the Forest Service signs to get to the canyon. With occasional soft shoulders, drive carefully and be alert for cattle and deer.
Canyon access: You can park your car at the top of the canyon. There are stone and wooden stairs to help you climb down into the canyon.
Picture Canyon, named for its prehistoric rock art is a friendly and easily-accessible canyon. About 35 miles southwest of Springfield. Armed with bug spray, Picture Canyon is an ideal place for camping, hiking, bike riding, horseback riding and exploring. Beautiful sleek cows and deer make nice company while they snack on the canyon’s buffalo grass. The mix of sandy green landscape, delicate wildflowers and big prairie sky create breathtaking vistas along the canyon. Picture Canyon is a must-see for bird watchers, amateur horticulturists and anthropologists, and anyone who needs a quick getaway.
The recorded history of Picture Canyon begins with the Sante Fe Trail of the early 1800’s. The Aubry Cutoff branch of the Trail passes just a few miles east of the canyon. Cattle barons carved huge range empires from the vast grasslands in the 1870’s and 1880’s. The Picture canyon area was used by the JJ outfit from near Higbee, Colorado, and by several spreads from “no man’s land” (the Oklahoma Panhandle.) The famous outlaw, Black Jack Ketchum, was reported to have had several brushes with the law in and around the Canyon. Southeast Colorado was first homesteaded in the late 1880’s. By 1890 numerous farming and ranching communities were established in what was to become Baca County. Picture Canyon contains a chronicle of the pioneer era. Rock houses, rock fences, and cemeteries can be found in the area. Remains of a typical homestead, perhaps built by a squatter, stands near the entrance of Crack Cave. Drought and dust storms of the “Dirty Thirties” ruined local farms and forced the owners off the land. Many of the marginal farms were then purchased by the federal government just before WWII. These lands are the majority of the present day Comanche National Grassland. You can visit Picture Canyon yearlong, with spring and fall having more desirable weather!
Facilities: Three covered picnic tables with grills, (fires allowed in grills only), 1 vault toilet, 4 mile loop trail, drinking water not available.
Canyon access: Once into the canyon, you will find a nice parking area with a public restroom and picnic tables. There are two long looping hikes that begin near the parking area. There is open camping in Picture Canyon, but you must pack out all of your trash and observe any fire restrictions.
From Springfield, Colorado drive south on Highway 287 for 17 miles; turn right (west) on County Road M for 8 miles or from Campo, Colorado drive north on Highway 287 and turn left (west) on County Road M for 8 miles; turn left (south) on County Road 18 for 8 miles; turn right (south) at the Picture Canyon road sign (Forest Service Road 2361) and continue on into the recreation area.
Canyon Safety Tips
1. Bring water. You can not drink the water in any of the canyons. Bring at least one gallon of water per person.
2. Protect yourself. Use sunglasses, sunscreen, hat and insect repellent.
3. Dress properly. Dress for the heat during early fall, late spring and summer. Temperatures in the some of the canyons can reach up to 110 degrees during the summer. • During fall, winter and early spring, dress in layers for changing weather conditions. • Always bring rain gear.
4. Do research. Before going out to any of the canyons, it is a good idea to contact the Forest Service for any guidelines or maps. • Always check current weather and road conditions before you begin.
5. Prevent wildfire. Wildfire is always a risk. Don’t throw cigarette butts on the ground. • Before any canyon trip, check with the local Forest Service for current fire restrictions.
Contact: U.S. Forest Service • Commanche National Grasslands
719-384-2181 (La Junta) • 719-523-6591 (Springfield)