- The Flat Tops Mountains and the Flat Tops Wilderness lie to the west of Yampa. The Bear River, numerous other Yampa River headwater streams and the Williams Fork River flow out of the Flat Tops on the Yampa District. In addition to many natural small lakes in the Flat Tops area there are a number of larger reservoirs, mostly in the Bear River Valley and in the Dunckley Pass area. The Flat Tops Scenic Byway begins in Yampa leads over Dunckley and Ripple Creek Passes, on the Yampa District, then follows the White River down to Meeker.
Copyright: Zander Higbie - Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
Bear River Valley
To the east of Yampa lies the northern reaches of the Gore Range and the southern end of the Park Range. The Gore Pass and Lynx Pass areas are located to the southeast. The Sarvis Creek Wilderness and Stagecoach Reservoir State Park are located to the northeast, between Yampa and Steamboat Springs. Red Dirt Reservoir lies on the east side of the Park Range.
Recreation - The Yampa area offers miles of trails. These trails offer a variety of opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking and in the winter, cross-country skiing. Trails can be found in both wilderness and non-wilderness areas. Several of the trails are open to motorized travel such as ATVs. The Rock Creek area has some trails which are being developed as a mountain biking area. Contact the Yampa Ranger District for the current status of these trails.
The Forest Service administers all the area campgrounds, which have varying levels of service. The designated campsites lie mostly in the Bear River area, off Forest Road 900; in the Dunckley Pass area, off Forest Highway 16; or in the Gore Pass area, off Colorado Highway 134. Backcountry and dispersed camping opportunities also exist in the Yampa area. When camping outside of designated campgrounds, be sure to follow the backcountry and dispersed camping regulations, and 'Leave No Trace' principles to ensure the next visitor an equal experience.
The Flat Tops Scenic Byway runs from Yampa to Meeker. It is a designated State and National Forest Scenic Byway. Most of the byway is gravel road which is not maintained in the winter months, however, the road does make an excellent Winter Scenic Byway and is open to snowmobile and cross-country ski use.
The Yampa District is popular for big-game hunting. The Routt National Forest manages the habitat on National Forest lands. The Colorado Division of Wildlife manages the animals and sets the seasons, limits and regulations for hunting.
Popular winter recreation activities include cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. The Dunckley Pass Cross--Country Ski Trails offer miles of marked ski trails in a scenic area west of Yampa. Great snowmobiling exists on many of the roads which are not maintained for vehicle travel in the winter months and in other non-wilderness portions of the area. Remember, snowmobiles are not permitted in designated wilderness areas.
Climate - Elevations range from about 7,000 feet to over 12,000 feet. Vegetation includes sagebrush and open hay meadows at lower elevations, aspen and lodgepole pine at intermediate elevations, Engelmann spruce/subalpine fir forests above about 10,000 feet and alpine tundra at the highest elevations.
In the valley bottom, summer high temperatures extend into the low 80s, with cool evenings that can often dip into the 30s. Winter lows occasionally dip to minus 35 degrees, though daytime temperatures are often in the 20s to 30s. The relative humidity is quite low throughout the year. The average annual precipitation in the valley is about 30 inches and much of it comes in the form of winter snow. In the higher elevations, significantly lower temperatures and more precipitation can be expected. Afternoon summer thunderstorms are common. Snow is possible at any time of year in the highest elevations. The high elevation roads and trails are often not clear of snow until at least mid-July.
The Yampa District surrounds the town of Yampa, in northwest Colorado. The major river drainages on the district include the upper tributaries of the Yampa River, the Bear River, the upper Williams Fork River and several creeks, which drain into the Colorado River. The district is divided into two sections, encompassing the northern Gore and southern Park ranges to the east and the Flat Tops to the west. The town of Yampa sits along Colorado Highway 131, about 150 miles northwest of Denver and 30 miles south of Steamboat Springs.