Between Keenesburg and the Nebraska border along Hwy. 76 is Sterling, Colo., a small agricultural town of 15,000 people. With native grasslands and farms dotting the landscape, it’s hard to believe this area, home to the Overland Trail, was one of the heaviest traveled roads in America between 1862-68.
Sterling has a rich past to explore in the historic downtown area with its mix of grand buildings and vibrant shops, as well as at the acclaimed Overland Trail Museum, which records the greatest migration of people our country has ever experienced. You will also be impressed with the city’s collection of Living Trees—hand-carved by world-renowned sculptor Bradford Rhea—and other stately bronze sculptures dotting the scenery.
Top 4 Things to Do in Sterling:
See North Sterling State Park
Hike, fish, swim or look for wildlife like pronghorn antelope at this great state park. The 3.5-mile South Shoreline Trail is great for hiking or biking. Take a dip in the Cottonwood Cove Swim Beach. No lifeguard is on duty. Campsites must be reserved in advance; parks.state.co.us.
Explore the Overland Trail Museum
Opened in 1936 the museum is housed in a replica of an old fort and is filled with artifacts from early life on the prairie. Explore the 13 other buildings on the property, including a one-room schoolhouse, a stocked general store, a 1910 barn and a train depot, most of which were relocated from surrounding communities.
See a Wind Farm
See one of the nation’s largest wind farms near Peetz. More than 400 wind turbines sprout from the plains in northern Logan County. Overall about 14 percent of Colorado’s electricity is provided by the wind, which is enough to power 870,000 average Colorado homes.
Do the City of Living Trees Walk
Artist Bradford Rhea transformed 17 dying cottonwood tree trunks into fantastic sculptures, some of which have been cast in bronze. Do a self-guided walking tour of 12 of Rhea’s tree sculptures by picking up a map at the Tourist Information Center at the Sterling Rest Area.
For more information:
Sterling Tourist Information Center
102 N. Riverview Road, Sterling, CO 80751