DENVER (KDVR) — Calling all spider lovers: It’s almost time for tarantulas to crawl across southeast Colorado for their mating season. FOX31 spoke with a tarantula expert for the top spots you might catch a glimpse of the tarantula “mate-gration.”
Sara Stevens, the director of animal collections at the Butterfly Pavilion, named a few places she expects to see the 5-inch spiders:
Comanche National Grassland
Your best bet is to go to the grasslands for tarantula viewing. Stevens said the grasslands are a place where there are usually higher concentrations of tarantulas. Visit La Junta recommends Highway 109 on the Comanche National Grassland.
Stevens also recommends La Junta because it’s most associated with the tarantula trek. It even has a webpage dedicated to tarantulas. It also hosts the La Junta Tarantula Fest in Downtown La Junta, which sets up a parade, vendors, tarantula tours and more.
The website also names a few specific spots around La Junta where you might have tarantula viewing opportunities.
About 20 miles from La Junta is Sierra Vista, which is a popular spot where people travel to check out spiders. There’s a 3.7-mile hiking trail where you can walk through the ruts of the Santa Fe Trail between Sierra Vista Overlook and Timpas Picnic Area. Be on the lookout for spiders, but don’t get too close: Tarantulas can bite but they’re not toxic. It would be more like a bee sting.
Visit La Junta also recommends Timpas, which is about 15 miles away from La Junta. It’s along Highway 350, which is a also top driving route to scout out spiders. Tarantulas are sometimes seen crossing the highway. The website recommends going east on County Road N, south on County Road 25, east on Forest Service Road 2200, north on Highway 109, and then back to La Junta.
Many people go to Vogel Canyon not just for the spider spotting, but because it’s a common place for hikes of all levels. They have a range of difficulty and length, which take you to the mesa top or canyon bottom.
If you can’t make it out to see the migration, there are still places to see them here (don’t worry, it’s not in the wild). The Butterfly Pavillion hosts around 500 tarantulas that you’re able to see.
If you want to get even closer, they have a tarantula you can hold named Rosie. Stevens expects that over the 28 years, almost 3 million people have held her.