Haxtun, Colorado: Insights into Its Economy, Culture, and History


Known as the “Carrot Capital of the World” for its rich soil and abundant carrot crops, Haxtun provides a quieter, more local alternative to Colorado’s bustling mountain towns.


  • Haxtun is a small agricultural town offering a peaceful getaway with abundant outdoor recreation opportunities.
  • Must-see attractions include the Phillips County Museum showcasing local history, and the Haxtun Harvest Festival celebrating local crops.
  • The area provides year-round activities like hiking Pawnee National Grassland in the fall and fishing at North Sterling Reservoir in the summer.

A Peaceful Agricultural Community

Haxtun, Colorado began as a small farming colony in the late 1800’s, with settlers growing crops like wheat, corn, and sugar beets. Over time the town emerged as a leading carrot producer due to nutrient-rich soil, earning recognition as the “Carrot Capital of the World.”

Beyond agriculture, Haxtun offers a peaceful, rural pace of life. Friendly locals provide an authentic small-town atmosphere with quaint main street storefronts and community events. The quiet setting and wide-open spaces create a relaxing retreat for individuals from bustling cities.

Outdoor enthusiasts especially appreciate Haxtun for its proximity to places like Pawnee National Grassland, Crow Valley Recreation Area, and North Sterling Reservoir. These land areas provide hiking, fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing right on Haxtun’s doorstep.

Experiencing Local Culture

Haxtun’s agricultural legacy infuses the local culture, cuisine, and seasonal events. For visitors, these elements offer an insider’s perspective into small-town life.

Local eateries like the Carrot Corner Cafe highlight area crops in dishes like carrot cake pancakes. Other restaurants offer classic diner fare for breakfast and burgers for lunch, providing gathering spots for the community.

In September, Haxtun celebrates its carrot farming heritage with the Haxtun Harvest Festival. This lively event spans multiple days with a parade, 5K run, demolition derby, craft fair, and carrot cooking contests.

For indoor attractions, the Phillips County Museum traces regional history and information from prehistoric fossils to pioneer settlers. Visitors also enjoy downtown’s historic architecture, with buildings dating back to the late 1800s.

Seasonal Recreation for All Interests

Haxtun provides year-round outdoor recreation spanning all four seasons in northeastern Colorado. The temperate climate enables enjoyable activities during fall, winter, and spring alongside the lively summer months.

As the aspens glow gold in fall, the area offers prime leaf peeping with scenic drives on byways like Pawnee Pioneer Trails. Hikers and mountain bikers flock to Pawnee National Grassland to admire the fall foliage and wildlife among the rolling terrain.

In winter, ice fishing draws visitors to frozen lakes at Crow Valley Recreation Area, while bird enthusiasts spot eagles and waterfowl along the South Platte River. Snow typically remains light in town, though heavier accumulations occasionally enable sledding hills for kids.

When sunny days arrive in spring, anglers cast for trout and walleye as ice melts on North Sterling Reservoir. Boaters also launch kayaks and canoes to paddle the calm waters. Wildflowers soon bloom in vibrant displays across Pawnee National Grassland.

As summer heat sets in, North Sterling becomes the region’s top spot for water sports like waterskiing, paddleboarding, and swimming at the beach. Families also enjoy the small amusement park, hiking trails, and shady campsites overlooking the lake.

Family-Friendly Activities

With its relaxed pace and abundance of outdoor recreation, Haxtun entices families looking to enjoy quality time together. Parents appreciate the small-town safety and affordability, while kids find plenty of activities tailored for their age group.

North Sterling Reservoir offers the most variety for families, from swimming to boating to hiking. The state park provides interpretive programs on wildlife, fishing, and nature topics to engage young visitors. Families also enjoy wildlife spotting across Pawnee National Grassland or renting ATVs at Crow Valley Recreation Area.

In town, young children delight at the kid-sized displays of vintage toys, costumes, and appliances at the Phillips County Museum. Families can easily spend a full morning exploring the extensive exhibits.

Seasonal events like the Haxtun Harvest Festival also entertain families with carnival rides, contests, livestock displays, and trick horse shows that thrill kids of all ages. The parade and demolition derby prove especially popular with young spectators.

Lodging and Dining Recommendations

Most visitors choose to base themselves in Fort Morgan, located just 30 minutes west of Haxtun, which offers more extensive accommodation and dining options. Fort Morgan provides easy access to Haxtun’s attractions while also placing guests near activities at Jackson Lake State Park.

In Haxtun, the Haxtun Motel provides simple but comfortable lodging in the center of town. For a unique overnight experience, the town’s KOA campground offers tent sites, RV hookups, and camping cabins overlooking the South Platte River.

Though small, Haxtun contains a few favorite local eateries. The Carver Restaurant is a must-try spot for steaks and Mexican fare in an Old West-style building with rustic decor. For breakfast, the Main Street Cafe serves up hearty omelets and stacks of pancakes with great service.

Planning Tips for an Enjoyable Visit

While worth visiting year-round, late spring through early fall provides the most pleasant weather for enjoying Haxtun’s outdoor offerings. Crowds remain minimal outside of major events, though visitors should book lodging in advance for the Haxtun Harvest Fest.

Tourists can fly into Denver International Airport, located 2.5 hours away, or opt for closer airports in Fort Morgan and Sterling. Renting a car allows easy exploration across the rural region and surrounding communities between attractions.

First-time visitors should stop at the Phillips County Museum to gain context on local history and get oriented with area maps and guides. The knowledgeable staff provides insider suggestions for customized itineraries catering to visitor interests.

Above all, tourists should approach Haxtun as an opportunity to slow down and experience authentic small town life. Wandering main street storefronts, chatting with local people, and embracing the peaceful agricultural setting lead to the most memorable and meaningful visits. By opening one’s mind to enjoy simpler pleasures, Haxtun rewards visitors with a true taste of Colorado’s rural heartland.


What is there to do in Haxtun besides agriculture?

While agriculture plays a major role, Haxtun also provides abundant outdoor recreation through Pawnee National Grassland, North Sterling Reservoir, and other preserved natural areas. Cultural attractions like the Phillips County Museum and seasonal events like the Haxtun Harvest Festival also entertain visitors.

What is the best way to experience local culture?

Attend community events to witness local traditions. Engage with community members by shopping Main Street stores and dining at local restaurants. Try featured agricultural products like carrots while visiting this city. The Phillips County Museum also provides cultural context on the region.

What natural areas nearby offer the best fall hiking?

Pawnee National Grassland contains over 100 miles of trails perfect for fall hiking among vibrant foliage. Crow Valley Recreation Area, Jackson Lake State Park, and North Sterling State Park also allow visitors to experience fall scenery along their paths.

Are there winter activities suitable for families?

Families enjoy ice fishing, eagle watching, and waterfowl spotting during the winter months. Snow-based activities remain limited in Haxtun itself, though heavier snow occasionally enables family sledding hills for kids.

Does Haxtun Colorado have summer camps or programs for kids?

North Sterling Reservoir State Park offers regular kids’ programming on topics like fishing, wildlife biology, and environmental science. The park’s campground also arranges kids’ activities like scavenger hunts and movie nights for its young campers.


About the author

James Ranson

I’m an editor, traveler, and fan of the great outdoors. I’ve been to all 48 continental US states, and my drives through Colorado’s rugged peaks and snowy forests (not to mention whiskey tastings in Denver!) still stand out in my memories. I’m excited to use my ten years of editing experience to develop engaging and informative guides and articles that enhance the outdoor experiences of both Colorado residents and visitors. Whether a piece is about exploring the best ski resorts, uncovering scenic trails for hiking, or finding the most inspiring drives through the Colorado Rockies, my aim is to provide comprehensive and accessible content that encourages adventure and exploration.