COVID-19: At REI, we encourage you to get outside responsibly. Stay local, avoid recreational travel, practice social distancing and check ahead for area and facility closures. Learn More

Bluff Trail

star-full star-full star-full star-full star-empty 4 (1)

One way

1.3 miles

2.1 km

Difficulty

Easy

Elevation gain

41 ft

12 m

Highest point

4,030 ft

1,228 m

Avg grade

1% (0°)

Elevation loss

-13 ft

-4 m

Max grade

2% (1°)

Elevation loss

-13 ft

-4 m

Avg grade

1% (0°)

Lowest point

3,995 ft

1,218 m


Discover more hiking nearby

Eastern Plains, CO

Getting there

Driving directions

Current weather


Shared by David Hitchcock

Features

Dogs - Leashed  ·  Views  ·  Wildflowers

Overview

The Bluff Trail departs from the parking lot on Monument Hill and meanders along the bluff above Sand Creek for 1.3 miles. The trail provides stunning views of the high plains and offers time to reflect upon the events that happened at Sand Creek. Before heading out, take a moment to visit the monument on Monument Hill.

Depart the area, passing the repatriation site where on June 2, 2008, the first burial of human remains from the Sand Creek Massacre occurred. Future burials may happen here as well. From here, the trail turns to the right and begins to make its way along the bluff. The views of the high plains are fantastic, especially on days when the clouds fill the sky. The only trees in view are along Sand Creek below the bluffs, otherwise the views are expansive and sweeping. In the spring, wildflowers bloom...
The Bluff Trail departs from the parking lot on Monument Hill and meanders along the bluff above Sand Creek for 1.3 miles. The trail provides stunning views of the high plains and offers time to reflect upon the events that happened at Sand Creek. Before heading out, take a moment to visit the monument on Monument Hill.

Depart the area, passing the repatriation site where on June 2, 2008, the first burial of human remains from the Sand Creek Massacre occurred. Future burials may happen here as well. From here, the trail turns to the right and begins to make its way along the bluff. The views of the high plains are fantastic, especially on days when the clouds fill the sky. The only trees in view are along Sand Creek below the bluffs, otherwise the views are expansive and sweeping. In the spring, wildflowers bloom along the trail and butterflies can be seen moving from flower to flower.

At roughly 0.5 miles, there is a bench for you to sit and take in the views. There are spaces for signage that will be placed later, but are blank right now. From here, every 0.3 miles, there is a bench where people can sit, rest and enjoy the view. As you approach the end of the trail, there appears to be a restroom, but it is currently closed.

At the end of the trail, the trail loops around a set of benches and some more placards for signage that will be placed later. Take a moment to enjoy the view, especially the trees that line Sand Creek. Now that you have arrived at the end of the trail, your only real option is to make your way back to the monument and parking lot where you started. Enjoy the view as you approach the monument, as it stands out on the high plains.
Trail closes at 3:00 pm and the park gates close at 4:00 pm, so make sure you that you plan accordingly.

The Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site is open 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM every day from April 1st through November 30th and Thursday through Monday from December 1st through March 31st. The park will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, December 26, and New Year's Day.

Need to Know

Depending on the weather, mosquitoes may be present in the spring time, so make sure to bring bug spray. The trail is exposed, with no shade except at the pergola at the monument. Make sure to bring plenty of water, wear sunscreen, and a hat to protect yourself from the heat.

There is a restroom at the beginning of the trail and even though there appears to be a restroom at the end of the trail, it is not open as of June 2019.

Flora & Fauna

Wildflowers of several varieties bloom in the spring time, and various plants common to the high plains are found along the trail. Cottonwoods line Sand Creek, but you are asked to keep your distance since this is where many of the Indians who were slain remain buried. In addition, there are prairie rattlers in the area, so its best to keep your distance.

Deer, pronghorn antelope, prairie dogs, various species of birds all call the monument home, so keep your eyes peeled. Lizards, well camouflaged, can be seen scurrying along the trail. Monarch butterflies and insects can be seen, especially in the spring time as they fly between the flowers.

Contacts

Land Manager: National Park Service - Sand Creek Massacre NHS

Shared by David Hitchcock

Know something about this hike?

If you see something that's missing or incorrect, let us know.

Photos Add photos

The gear you need to get outside.


Shop REI hiking

How was your hike?

Write a review and update conditions to let others know about your adventure.

Reviews & Conditions

star-full star-full star-full star-full star-empty
4 from 1 hiker

Easy

Difficulty average from 1 hiker
1-1 of 1 reviews

San Jose, CA
star-full star-full star-full star-full star-empty
Jun 28, 2019
Rated difficulty: Easy
Beautiful day with great views of the high plains and Sand Creek. Very moving.

REI Co-op Membership Logo

Become a lifelong REI Co‑op member

You not only join a welcoming community, you also get access to
members-only perks and special offers. Learn more

Looking for something different?

Explore area
explore area