Six Summer Events to Experience in Sterling

Located under northeast Colorado's blue skies, Sterling is settled just off I-76 between Denver and the Nebraska state line and is highlighted by native grasslands, majestic bluffs, and rolling hills. Visitors delight in the serene qualities of the natural landscape, the authenticity of small-town living, and the friendly atmosphere of an agricultural-based community filled with hometown values.

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The largest city in the northeast corner of the state, Sterling is home to the Overland Trail Museum, two 18-hole golf courses, wildlife viewing, Bradford Rhea tree sculptures, July Jamz free concert series, 60 acres of parks, North Sterling Reservoir State Park, walk/bike paths, Logan County Fair & Rodeo, hunting, fishing, boating, birding, Sugar Beet Days Festival, star gazing, historical downtown buildings and other sites, unique gift and antique shops, a variety of eateries, and quality lodging.

Sterling is two hours from any traffic jam, which ensures plenty of time to exhale, unwind and enjoy. Make plans to visit Sterling this summer!

Sterling Fun Facts

Sterling, the heart of Logan County...

dsc 0289a resized surrounded by over 1800 sq. miles with an uninterrupted star-filled sky.

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...was named one of the “25 Best Pheasant Hunting Towns in America” by Pheasants Forever Magazine.

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...boasts over 60 acres of parks with paths and trails.

giraffes horizontal by merri 2 called the “City of Living Trees” for its many tree sculptures created by Bradford Rhea.

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...celebrates one of the most heavily traveled routes across the high plains in the 1800s at the Overland Trail Museum.

tami.brown.sterling.walkto pawnee buttes the gateway to the Pawnee Pioneer Trails Scenic & Historic Byway.

logan county whitney james partsandlaborbrewing 3 a state-of-the-art hospital and the acclaimed David Walsh Cancer Center, a premier two-year college, a vibrant town square, a Downtown Historic District, and the first brewery on the eastern plains.

north sterling state park boat slips at sunset the home of North Sterling Reservoir State Park and its array of boating and wildlife activities.

logan county whitney james sterling drone located in the beautiful South Platte River Valley with 331 clear, sunny days a year!

WHERE TO EAT Logan County's culinary culture includes down-home favorites at local diners, and unique cuisine and signature specialties at our restaurants.

WHERE TO STAY Accommodations in Sterling range from a quaint boutique motel to modern hotels in beautiful settings. Travelers who prefer recreational vehicles or tent camping will feel right at “home” at our campsite facilities.

STAY IN TOUCH Want to keep up with everything that Sterling has to offer? Sign up for our monthly newsletter and get the latest news, deals and more delivered right to your inbox!

3 Reasons to Visit Logan County

Of all the paths you take in life,

make sure a few of them are dirt.

-John Muir

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Get out of the city for more road and less traffic in rural Logan County.

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1. If you're looking to forge your own path, pick up a county map at the Logan County Visitor Center and set out on any of our rural roads. Some are paved, some are gravel, and some are shared with farm equipment.

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2. The bonuses to cycling - including physical health benefits of cycling, mental health benefits of cycling, and an almost guaranteed broadening of your social circle - are as numerous as the beautiful roads you can find. Find designated routes here, including an easy pathway in Sterling's Pioneer Park.

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3. If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground, you can find a variety of hiking trails to enjoy at North Sterling State Park or along the South Platte River on the east side of Sterling.

Riding a bicycle on the road

·         Bicycles are vehicles and bicyclists have the right to ride on the road.

·         Obey all traffic signs, signals and right of way rules. Only a handful of Colorado communities allow people on bikes to treat stop signs as yield signs and red lights as stop signs.

·         Ride with the flow of traffic, unless you are in a designated contraflow bike lane.

·         Yield to pedestrians.

·         Use hand signals 100 ft. before turning, merging or stopping if you can do so while safely operating your bike.

·         Beginning at dusk or when visibility is poor, use at minimum a white front light, red rear reflector and side reflectors.

·         Bicyclists may ride side-by-side when not impeding the normal flow of traffic. In some situations, riding two abreast can be helpful to increase your visibility and reduce the passing time for drivers.

·         Ride in the right third of the lane serving your direction of travel when it feels safe. Use the full lane at any time to avoid obstacles, to be more visible, to prepare for a left turn or to discourage drivers from passing when it is not safe. You may also leave the right side of the lane if you are overtaking a slower-moving vehicle or riding on a one-way road.

·         Check your local ordinances for whether it is legal to ride on sidewalks in your community. Where sidewalk riding is legal, bicyclists on sidewalks have the same rights and responsibilities as pedestrians and must ride with caution for the safety of pedestrians and to stay alert for drivers when crossing driveways, alleys and crosswalks.

·         People on bikes have the right of way in a bike lane, and bike lanes extend through intersections, regardless of whether or not they are painted through the intersection.

·         Ride defensively, stay visible and be prepared to react. It’s important never to assume that a driver sees you.

·         Scan regularly while riding, particularly before turning, changing lanes and navigating intersections.

·         Ride in the street where you are most visible and use caution on sidewalks and crosswalks where legal.

·         Ride in the center of the lane when there are obstacles to the right, to discourage passing in narrow lanes or to increase visibility through intersections.

·         Ride outside of a bike lane if your safety is compromised by its condition or orientation.

·         Give yourself space to be seen between and next to cars.

·         Leave room alongside parked cars and when passing driveways to avoid opening doors or drivers pulling out.

·         Maintain a straight line as you ride and avoid weaving.

·         Avoid lane-splitting.

·         Attempt to make eye contact if conditions allow.

·         When you feel uncomfortable riding, dismount and walk your bike.

·         You may choose to go above and beyond to help drivers see you with additional lights, bright colors, reflective gear, mirrors or front/rear cameras.

Celebrate Earth Day all month in Logan County

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Logan County has a total area of 1,845 square miles, of which 1,839 square miles is land and 6.3 square miles is water. The county seat, Sterling, is the largest urban area in northeast Colorado, giving the otherwise rural Logan County the best of both worlds. Sterling has great art, shops, and restaurants, while outdoor enthusiasts find many opportunities to have fun.

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North Sterling State Park is the jewel of Logan County Centered on a large reservoir about 15 miles northwest of Sterling, this park offers interesting topography, hiking trails, camping, fishing, birding, and fantastic boating. When enjoying our great outdoors, remember to Care For Colorado. With a little preparation, a spirit of adventure, and a soft spot for nature and the past, you'll be on the trail to exploring Colorado and Logan County like a local.

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Photo by Colorado Country Life

Sterling is called the City of Living Trees thanks to the incredible sculptures that local artist Bradford Rhea carved from dying trees; stop by the Logan County Visitor Center to get started on a self-guided tour of 13 of the sculptures or use this digital guide and map.

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The revitalized downtown has unique shops and boutiques, such as the Sterling Creatives Art Co-op, and restaurants including the Hot Spot Smokehouse, and Simkins Parlour, and Sam and Louie's Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria. The popular Parks and Labor Brewing Co. is the first craft brewery to open on Colorado's eastern plains.

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The Overland Trail Museum assembles a vast collection of artifacts and compelling exhibits, with a modern facility joined by a host of historic buildings. A diorama depicts the Battle of Summit Springs, where Buffalo Bill Cody helped lead the charge in the last big fight between the U.S. cavalry and Plains Indians in Colorado, just south of Sterling in 1869.

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The Sterling area has two 18-hole golf courses and one disc golf course, an extensive shooting sports complex, numerous city parks, and vibrant festivals, including July Jamz, a free outdoor summer concert series each Friday in July. The perfect place to enjoy our style of free-range tourism.

7 Spring and Summer Events in Sterling

Spring and summer events in Sterling to put on your calendar NOW!

If you’re looking for a Colorado road trip a little outside of the usual, Sterling is the perfect destination for weekend getaways and special visits to enjoy some of the best annual fairs, festivals and events in the state. Here are our signature celebrations that should be penciled in on your travel schedules as you plan your Sterling visit!


The Sportsman Experience – April 29-30

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This fun and interactive experience highlights the outdoor activities and resources in Logan County such as hunting, fishing, biking, birding and more. The expo atmosphere of this gun and outdoor show features a variety of vendors, demonstrations, presentations and activities for the whole family. Learn more here.


High Plains Truck and Tractor Pull – June 18

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Get yer motor running to Sterling for the annual Father’s Day weekend hot rod truck and tractor pull. This pull includes 2-wheel drive, 4-wheel drive pickups and modified tractors, with a second track for mini-tractors and modified lawnmowers. For information or tickets, call 970-580-1278.


International Feedlot Cowboys Association Finals – June 22-25

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When you want to see some real action-packed competition, plan to check out this 4-day team roping and barrel race event which draws over 200 real feedlot cowboys from six states to the Logan County Fairgrounds Arena for the 49th annual finals. It’s free to the public! Find more information here.


July Jamz – Every Friday in July

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What could be better than live music under the stars in the middle of Sterling’s downtown? We can’t think of anything! The July Jamz concert series rocks and rolls every Friday evening in July on the grassy lawn at the Logan County Courthouse Square. Bands performing will be announced here at a later date for the July 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 schedule. Bring your own lawn chair or blanket.


Heritage on the Plains – July 1-4

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The annual one-day Heritage Festival has been expanded to four days of fun for 2022, starting with a free July Jamz concert on Friday; a sanctioned BBQ cook-off, Colorado Beer and Wine tasting, corn hole tournament and street concert on Saturday; outdoor church service, breakfast, an authentic 1860s baseball game by the Colorado Vintage Base Ball Association, car show, demonstrations by Blacksmith Sam, children’s games and homemade root beer on Sunday; and ending with a spectacular fireworks display and live music on Monday. Watch for more details here.


Colorado Flatlanders Rod Run in the Park – July 8-10

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This fan-favorite is held in the beautiful and shady Pioneer Park in Sterling, with the show and shine taking place from 8 am to 4 pm on Saturday. Classes for awards include street rods, street machines, trucks, original intent, late models, club choice, club memorial picks, Tony’s Truck pick and sheriff’s pick. Click here to learn more.


Logan County Fair & Rodeo – August 2-7

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One of the biggest events of the year in Sterling is the Logan County Fair & Rodeo, held the first full week of August, this year being August 2-7. What a celebration it will be! Rodeos, bull riding, agriculture and livestock exhibits, carnival, vendors, food trucks, demolition derby, parade, beer garden, country music concert featuring SAWYER BROWN and special guest UNCLE KRACKER, and much, much more. There really is something for everyone, from the cricket races and friendly dog tail-wagging contest to freestyle bullfighters and thrilling amusement rides! Don’t miss it!

Coffee Love in Logan County

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When the temperatures drop, warm up your day with a café au lait or any other cup of joe that’ll help you find your get-up-and-go! Here’s a quick list of some of our favorite Downtown Sterling options for your next Colorado road trip.

Roam freely and find other things to do while you’re at it!

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1.  From caffeine-infused drinks, and other non-caffeinated specialty drinks, the friendly folks at Brew Grit Coffee have you covered. Try their signature Americano or Tenderfoots, and “the best darn cinnamon roll in northeast Colorado!” (dine-in and drive-thru)

2.  Voted “Best Coffee in Sterling,” Hot Java Espresso serves up even more than delicious cups of joe.  Along with 50+ syrup flavors, the menu is bursting with a huge variety of bagels, bakery items, sandwiches and more. (drive-thru)

3.  Relax at The Lounge in McCauley’s Mustache Café with gourmet espresso-based drinks, loose leaf tea, Red Bull Spritzers and customizable crepes.

4.  Located in the town square across from the Historical Logan County Courthouse, Simkins Parlour features cozy seating and gourmet High Plains Spice Company coffee. Don’t neglect the varieties of old-fashioned ice cream. Try a scoop in your java! (dine-in)

5.  Be on your way fast at Pi Kappa Cino Coffee with two drive-thru windows to get your favorite espresso drink on the go. How about a Kentucky Bourbon Latte or a Tiramisu Mocha? (drive-thru)

6. Settled in the charming and unique Old Library Mercantile, the Coffee at the Carnegie serves some of the best coffee, bites and sweets in the perfect spot to get to know the people and heritage of northeastern Colorado.

7. Just 15 miles from downtown Sterling, head to the Common Grounds Coffeehouse in Merino and relax in this delightful coffee shop/art gallery/bakery.

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For more delectable coffee and delightful cafés, click here.

Western Art from the Great Plains - On Exhibit Through March 31

Overland Trail Museum’s New Art Exhibit Depicts Western Heritage

(Credit: Story and photos by Callie Jones, South Platte Sentinel)

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A Native American hide painting, a portrait of a world champion rodeo rider and bronze sculptures depicting pioneer life are just a few of the pieces that can be found in Overland Trail Museum’s newest exhibit, “Western Art from the Great Plains,” in the Dave Hamil Rotunda.

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