Cemeteries of the Plains: a loop tour
This tour is for travelers who like to pursue history through small clues. Wonderful small cemeteries are tucked into small towns along this loop. Our main stops have tales to tell of ethnic groups or specific moments of history. All other cemeteries on the route are listed so you can make additional stops as time permits.
Destinations include: Fowler Cemetery, Rocky Ford Cemetery, Hillside Cemetery in Las Animas, Riverside Cemetery in Lamar, Camp Amache Cemetery in Granada, Holly Cemetery, Chivington Cemetery, Haswell Cemetery, Olney Springs Cemetery, and the Crowley County Heritage Center.
Day One: Fowler, Rocky Ford, Las Animas, Lamar
Starting in Fowler, then continue traveling eastward all day to Lamar where you will spend the evening. Start in Fowler, you can enjoy an easy stroll through several acres and locate the earliest marked headstone from 1897. Drive east (passing the cemetery in Manzanola) to Valley view Cemetery in Rocky Ford, a beautiful setting with one section devoted almost entirely to Japanese citizens and veterans. Continue east (passing Fairview/Cavalry Cemetery in Las Animas) to Hillside Cemetery in Las Animas and visit the family gravesites of people you will find in history textbooks: William Bent, John Wesley Prowers and Amache Ochinee. Drive east (passing Fort Lyons National Cemetery in Las Animas, Union Valley Cemetery in Hasty and Wiley Cemetery) to Lamar for dinner, lodging and an evening to Riverside Cemetery where you will find graves of Civil War veterans, and an unique headstone made from petrified wood.
Day Two: Granada, Holly, Chivington, Haswell, Olney Springs, Crowley
Travel sixteen miles east on U.S. 50 to Camp Amache. The centerpiece is a small shrine and monument to the soldiers of Japanese descent who died in WWII. Continue east to the Holly Cemetery, where there is a monument to those who died in the 1931 Towner Bus Tragedy. Turn west on CO 96 to Chivington to a picturesque cemetery located atop a low hill just south of the town site. Continue east on CO 96 (passing Eads Cemetery) to Haswell Cemetery. Here you can see the Spanish Peaks to the southwest, the Greenhorn Mountains to the west and Pike’s Peak to the northwest. Continue west on US 96 (passing Lakeview Cemetery in Sugar City and Valley View Cemetery in Ordway) to Olney Springs Cemetery. Here there is an astounding array of veterans from the Civil War to the World Wars and the Persian Gulf War.
Finish the tour at the Crowley Heritage Center, which houses a local museum in a beautifully restored school house, and find answers to some of the questions that have arisen on this loop tour.