Apishapa State Wildlife Area

(just outside Army's first expansion)

Apishapa State Wildlife Area is not often visited, which is good news for those seeking the wildlife-watching experience. In these 7,935 acres of rolling to level shortgrass prairie with piñon-juniper, birders will find an “undiscovered jewel,” according to coloradocountybirding.com (see Wildlife Watching).

Bighorn sheep have been reintroduced to the area by the Division of Wildlife. Antelope, mule deer, bobcats, rabbit, coyotes also live here.

Being There

Camping is allowed with no open fires. No fishing. Hunting in season, September 1–February 28, is for deer, antelope bighorn sheep, rabbit, turkey, scaled quail, and dove. The area has no facilities; pack everything in and out.

Two-track roads allow vehicle travel to different portions of the property, which is in three separate parcels. Most roads lie past the parking lot. Traffic is prohibited unless roads are dry, and no off-road driving is permitted. If roads are wet, proceed on foot or horseback from the welcome sign and parking area. If you come to a fence, please go no further; private property surrounds the area.

Part of Apishapa Canyon, enormous and cedar-scented, runs through the SWA. Follow the roads past the parking lot and you will find the canyon rim. Most people hiking in the canyon use game trails.

Getting There

This area is in the eastern region. For the north entrance: Take Highway 10, which can be reached from I-25 near Walsenburg (which is 37 miles northwest of Trinidad) or from east of La Junta. From Walsenburg, go east on Highway 10 for about 18 miles, then south on County Road 77 for 7 miles. Then go east on County Road 90 for about 11 miles to the property. You may meet “no trespassing” signs along the way, but state signs reassure you that you are on public roads.

For the south entrance: From Highway 10, the sign says “Apishapa SWA 20 miles.” Once you are on county roads, there are signs pointing which direction to go for the north entrance or south entrance.

Your visit preserves habitat for future generations. Habitat stamps are required for access privileges to state wildlife areas. Purchase wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold ($5 included in license fee or $10.25 if not buying a license) including online at wildlifelicense.com/co/start.php or by calling 800-244-5613. 

Current open-fire regulations: 719-846-2211 (Las Animas County Sheriff)
Current hunting regulations: wildlife.state.co.us/hunting
Other information: DOW office in Pueblo, CO: 719-561-5300
Area wildlife officer: 719-680-1412

Elevation: 5,400 feet. 
Acreage: 7,935 acres. 
Hunting: Deer, antelope, bighorn sheep, rabbit, scaled quail and dove. 


Directions: For the north side, from Walsenburg take I-25 exit to Hwy. 10, go east 18.5 miles, then south on Cty. Rd. 77 for 7 miles, east on Cty. Rd. 90 for 11 miles to Apishapa State Wildlife Area. Follow signs through wildlife area to northeast side and parking lot.

Indian pictograph on Dakota sandstone cliff in Apishapa Canyon below mouth of south canyon, made by chipping the "desert varnish" from the weathered surface of the rock. Las Animas County, Colorado. 1912. Plate 2 in U.S. Geological Survey. Folio 186. 1912.

Army installations and acreages in the US, which would certainly argue that the expansion of the PCMS is not needed: