Description - This 82-mile byway leads from Yampa to Meeker. The byway cuts through the heart of the original White River Plateau Timberland Reserve, set aside in the late 19th century, it became an initial part of National Forest system. Two decades later, in a foreshadowing of the 1964 Wilderness Act, development of any kind was banned around Trapper's Lake (the "Cradle of Wilderness").
Copyright: Zander Higbie-Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
View from east end of the Flat Tops Scenic and Historic Byway
Allow 2 1/2 hours to drive the 82 mile byway, with 40 miles of gravel road. The road is open from June through October, depending on snow. In winter, snowmobilers, skiers, and snowshoers are welcome. Gas and services are available in Yampa, Buford, and Meeker.
- This byway cuts through the heart of the original White River Plateau Timberland Reserve, set aside in the late 19th century, it became an initial part of National Forest system. Two decades later, in a foreshadowing of the 1964 Wilderness Act, development of any kind was banned around Trapper's Lake (the "Cradle of Wilderness"). The area's long-standing history of preservation and multiple-use land management makes for pristine scenery and superlative wildlife viewing. Yet this remains very much a "working" byway, dotted with active mines, ranches and timber-producing woodlands. Meeker and Yampa, the route's two endpoints, embody the rugged individualism that lies at the heart of Colorado. From this byway, the visitor can explore the geological wonders, forests and meadows of the Flat Tops, headwaters of the White and Yampa Rivers.
For more information please call the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) at 800-999-4997.
This information is provided courtesy of CDOT.
Recreation - The Flat Tops Byway leads through the Routt and White River National Forests and north of the Flat Tops Wilderness. There are numerous opportunities for camping, hiking, four-wheel driving, motorcycling, horseback riding, backpacking and fishing along the 82-mile byway. Over 300 miles of trail weave through the heart of the Flat Tops. Horses, pack animals, and hikers are welcome in wilderness areas. Mountain bikers and ATVs may travel on designated non-wilderness trails.
Climate - Climate conditions in Colorado should be taken seriously throughout the state. Snow and ice are common on roads and trails from mid-October through late April. In the summer months snow is still possible but less common. Varying conditions throughout a given day can be expected throughout the year. Remember that summer days can typically have beautiful sunny mornings and short sudden thunderstorms in the afternoon. Please prepare appropriately for your outdoor experience.
This scenic byway is located in the mountainous northwestern region of Colorado between the towns of Yampa and Meeker. Beginning in Yampa the byway leads northwest on County Road 17. Within five miles 17 ends at Primary Forest Road 16. The byway follows this route westward into the Routt National Forest, across Trout Creek and over Dunckley Pass. As the byway leaves then reenters the National Forest the road number changes to Forest Road 8, which leads south toward Buford. This stretch of the scenic road passes campgrounds, Ripple Creek Pass and eventually parallels the North Fork of the White River. Forest Road 8 continues to follow the White River as it passes through Buford and on to Meeker.