Southeast Colorado Wildlife Weekend

      La Junta, CO 81050, USA

      22 reviews
      Sep 21 - 24, 2023
      Group size: 4 - 7
      Southeast Colorado Wildlife Weekend
      La Junta, CO 81050, USA

      22 reviews

      Sep 21 - 24, 2023
      Group size: 4 - 7

      About this trip

      The Plains and Canyons of Southeast Colorado offer visitors unique historical, cultural, and natural wonders. A region of far-ranging contrasts with a rich heritage, this is one of the least changed areas of the state. Much of the terrain looks as it did centuries ago and wildlife are plentiful here, especially during migration.

      This trip is timed to maximize opportunities to observe a diversity of Southern Great Plains icons including bison, Burrowing Owls, black-tailed prairie dogs, swift fox, coyote, and pronghorn, as well as the famed ‘tarantula migration’. In addition to a variety of wildlife hotspots, we’ll also visit rock art sites and points along the historic Santa Fe Trail.

      We have strategically selected areas away from crowds so that we have the time and space to truly enjoy these wildlife spectacles in true Reefs to Rockies style. We’ll travel along scenic and historic byways in a custom American safari van with a conversion pop-top and spacious seating. This is not the traditional passenger van you may have traveled in on past trips. This one-of-a-kind vehicle has been specially designed by two wildlife biologists to allow for optimal viewing. It makes a perfect ‘blind’ and there’s ample room for everyone to view at the same time.

      Join Reefs to Rockies for this unforgettable weekend getaway highlighting what makes Southeast Colorado so special.

      About your guide

       Chip Clouse is a long-time bird tour leader and Reefs to Rockies’ Lead Naturalist Guide. He’s also ProStaff for Opticron Optics and Former Manager of Front Range Birding Company.

      Originally enamored with tooth and claw predators, his fascination with birds started by volunteering with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission to monitor Peregrine Falcon nest sites. His fascination and love for birds was cemented once he saw his first Western Tanager while working for the Peregrine Fund in Oregon. Chip’s experience includes 20 years of bird research and project management experience in nine states and the Caribbean nation of Grenada, a Masters in Conservation Biology from Colorado State University, five years with the American Birding Association, two years as a rep with Novagrade Digiscoping adapters and stints guiding at 15+ different US birding festivals. Chip is excited to share his love of Colorado’s natural history in this trip.

      Conservation Impact

      The Southern Plains Land Trust (SPLT), founded in 1998, creates and protects a network of shortgrass prairie preserves, ensuring a future for native flora and fauna. A donation to SPLT to aid in their land acquisition efforts will be made on behalf of all participants.

      What’s included

      • Accommodations
        Based on two people sharing a double occupancy room
      • Transportation
        Roaming Bison Custom Safari Van
      • Driver/guide
        Chip Clouse
      • Daily wildlife viewing
        Spotting scope available
      • Entrance fees
      • Meals as listed
        3 breakfasts, 4 lunches, and 1 dinner
      • Gratuities
        For your guide and at restaurants for included meals
      • 2 dinners
      • Travel insurance
      • Optional gratuities
        For hotel staff
      • Activities not listed

      Available Packages

      Trip Price
      Available until August 21, 2023Sold Out
      Deposit: $500

      Available options


      Day 1 (Thurs, Sept 21)
      Denver to Lamar

      Morning departure from Denver. As we make our way to Lamar, we’ll make several stops at birding hotspots that showcase the importance of grassland and riparian habitats for resident and migratory species alike. To maximize our time wildlife viewing today, a hearty picnic lunch will be provided.

      After a quick stop at our hotel to check in and drop luggage, we’ll continue south for our late afternoon wildlife drive.

      Oklahoma brown tarantulas are a common species in undisturbed grasslands of southeast Colorado. Every fall, adult males set out in large numbers in search of female tarantulas who stay close to their burrows for their entire lives. Males use their senses of touch and vibration to locate females.  

      Often incorrectly referred to as a migration, this walkabout of males across the southern plains is a remarkable wildlife spectacle. This will also be our best chance to spot swift fox, a species whose numbers are declining.  As we make our way back to our hotel along county roads after dark, we’ll keep an eye out for additional nocturnal species that call these grasslands home. 

      Accommodations: Holiday Inn Express Lamar

      Meals: Lunch

      Your Organizer

      Reefs to Rockies
      22 reviews
      Our specialty is nature and wildlife travel. We know when and where to go for the best experiences. Travel time is limited. It’s important to choose a travel company that knows how to personalize a trip just for you. Our travel specialists will help you plan a custom trip that matches your travel style, budget, interests, and ideal dates.


      This was a wonderful trip. The sights were incredible, the animals amazing, the guiding outstanding and the company congenial and fun. Our accommodations were all quite nice with enchanting scenery. We appreciated staying 2 nights in each place and not having to move every day. Sheridan and Pam were a great team and made sure everyone was comfortable and accommodated in every way. We came away with great memories of a great adventure. It was more than we had hoped for!
      By Patty J for Wildlife Wonders of Vancouver Island - Bears, Birds, and Whales on Aug 27, 2023
      Thank you for the kind words, Patty! It was an absolute pleasure traveling with you and Jeff as we explored North Vancouver Island.
      By Reefs to Rockies on Aug 28, 2023
      I really enjoyed this trip! Our guide, Chip, was just fantastic. He made sure we were all comfortable and taken care of during our days together. He was very knowledgeable about the wildlife and flora in the areas we visited. We covered a lot of area in a short time and saw so many birds, other animals and flowers it was hard to keep track of it all. But of course Chip kept up with all the sightings and shared his lists on eBird with us. With a small group, that all got along well, this was a fun and informative trip!
      By Kara C for North Park Wildlife Weekend on Aug 15, 2023
      I had a very nice time. Chip was an excellent leader and helped rescue an injured juvenile Swainson’s Hawk. The entire group agreed on the trip out to the rehabilitation. Everyone was very helpful to those of us with some walking difficulties. Lots of great birds and three moose.
      By JoAnn H for North Park Wildlife Weekend on Aug 08, 2023
      We explored some birding areas I was unfamiliar with, even being a native of Colorado. We covered so many diverse habitats and it was interesting to go from arid pinon, to vast ponderosa forests to high alpine tundra, all in a few hours. Our guide was able to find several "life" birds for a few of us! Thoroughly enjoyed birding from the comfort of the Roaming Bison with the top popped. This is fun and one of a kind! Accommodations were comfortable and scenery spectacular. I particularly loved Eleven Mile Canyon and sundowners overlooking Buena Vista with my travel companions. This trip proves you don't have to travel too far from home to have a birding adventure!
      By Melanie P for Colorado Birding Series: Piñon Pine-Juniper Woodlands to Alpine Tundra on Jul 19, 2023
      Thank you for the kind words, Melanie! We're thrilled you enjoyed your time exploring our home state.
      By Reefs to Rockies on Jul 19, 2023
      The trip was even better than I expected. I was interested in finding new places to bird and definitely found them. 11 Mile Canyon was spectacular and being able to raise the roof of the van and have a 360 degree view was great. Seeing the owls and watching them being banded and learning more from Brian Linkhart was very interesting. Chip is great at locating birds and making sure everyone sees or hears them - or at least as much as possible since sometimes the bird flies before everyone can see it. He's not about just I.D'ing the bird - he know about habitat, behavior, migration, etc - and shares it so it's an educational experience not just a bird-counting experience. He's also very thoughtful and wants to make sure everyone is doing well.
      By Cynthia K for Colorado Birding Series: Piñon Pine-Juniper Woodlands to Alpine Tundra on Jul 15, 2023
      Thank you for your kind words, Cindy!
      By Reefs to Rockies on Jul 15, 2023
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