If there's enough daylight left, take a loop drive through the Comanche National Grassland; on your way back through La Junta, pick up a map or trail guide at the Forest Service office (8-12 and 1-5 Mon-Fri; 1420 E. Third St.; www.fs.fed.us/r2/psicc/coma or 719/384-2181). Scan the waving grass ― and the barbed-wire fences ― and you'll likely find lots of meadowlarks, saffron-hued Bullock's orioles, and horned larks, perhaps spiraling and singing in their courtship flight. You'll also find a sense of peace and solitude that will linger long after your return to the city.
La Junta is a three-hour drive from Denver and 90 minutes from Colorado Springs. Contact the La Junta Chamber of Commerce ( www.lajuntachamber.com or 719/384-7411).