Special Places

Spillway at Lake Marie.From open, vast, high expanses to valleys and canyons that rise steeply to snowy ranges, the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests encompass portions of five major mountain ranges. Within these ranges are dramatic topographic contrasts: 6,000 foot valleys rise to 12,000 foot peaks. The national forests are located along both sides of the Continental Divide.

Tributaries to the North Platte River and the Colorado River originate on the Routt National Forest. The national forests provide a mix of forested ecology with spruce, lodgepole pine, subalpine fir, aspen, and shrub lands. The Thunder Basin National Grassland is a semi-arid, shortgrass prairie with woody vegetation along rivers. Historic cattle and sheep grazing continues today. 

The Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland support tourism and contribute to the quality of life of residents of nearby communities. There are countless special places throughout the national forests and national grassland. Contact your nearest Forest Service office or visitor center for more information. 

  Fall Colors Graphic



Huston Park WildernessDesignated Wilderness areas are managed to preserve their natural conditions and wild character for present and future generations. They possess outstanding ecological, geological, scientific, educational, scenic, or historic values. 

All or part of ten Wilderness areas are located on the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests.

Highlighted Areas

Bow River Ranger Station

This Ranger house was built in the 1960s for the Forest Ranger that worked on the northern portion of the Snowy Range. No extra housing is allowed at the Ranger house. Plan to set up additional campers, tents or trailers at the Bow River Campground, approximately two miles away on Forest Road 100.  Pets are allowed outside the house, please clean up after your pets.

Vedauwoo Campground

The campground is composed of two loops, winding around the boulders, slabs and cliffs of the Vedauwoo rock formation which comprises 10 square miles of weathered Sherman granite.  There are 28 campsites with tables, fire rings, trash pick up and vault toilets.  This area is constructed to blend in with the natural beauty of the surroundings.  The vegetation is a variety of Limber pine, Engleman spruce, Douglas fir and Aspen. The general area was once used as a hideout for outlaws. Native Americans thought playful spirits piled up the boulders. All the tent sites are walk-ins and some of them are so secluded, one might feel the "outlaw's spirit."   There is access to rock climbing and a nature trail through the rocks.

It is located in the Pole Mountain area and is managed by the Laramie Ranger District.

Big Creek Lakes Campground


Big Creek Lakes Campground is the most popular campground on The Parks Ranger District. This site offers 54 campsites and a day-use area. Nineteen of the campsites are under the reservation system and the remainder are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The units are situated next to Big Creek Lake, a scenic lake of 343 acres near the Mount Zirkel Wilderness. There are boating facilities and the lake is a popular destination area for camping and fishing. The wetlands around the lake are prime moose territory and moose are often seen near the campground.

The campground is 9,000 feet in elevation and summer temperatures are fairly cool. Numerous hiking trails are nearby, both in and out of Mount Zirkel Wilderness. Big Creek Lakes are 35 miles and about an hour drive northwest of Walden, CO. This area has been affected by the mountain pine beetle epidemic and has been logged in recent years.

Brush Creek Visitor Center

The Brush Creek Visitor Center is near the west Forest boundary, with a hiking trail and picnic shelter.  Information on trails and campgrounds in the area can be found there.  Lake Marie and Mirror Lake are popular stops on the west side of the Snowy Range.  There is parking, restrooms, picnic shelter, trailhead and views.


Bear Lake Camground

This campground is located in the Bear River Cooridor of the Flat Tops Wilderness in Yampa, CO. The campground is in a large wooded area that makes a small loop with 43 sites + 4 double sites and 1 triple site making it a popular place for RV’s and families with children.

VIEWS: The sites within the Bear Lake Campground are wooded and shaded and do not have views of the Flat Tops or the reservoirs. If you are looking for views of the water or the Flat Tops, there are multiple sites outside of the campground (designated dispersed sites with fire rings and picnic tables) and these do offer more views, but less shade and can accomodate RV's, tents and trailers. Bear Lake is actually separate from the campground but just a short walk outside the campground where you will find the fishing pier and a day use area free of charge.

HIKING: 3 miles past Bear Lake Campground is the Stillwater Trailhead where three popular hikes begin. Trail guides are available at no cost in town at the Yampa Ranger Station.

**Please note, most hiking trails typically still have snow until June and sometimes mid June.

This area gives access to 3 reservoirs in a 10 mile radius on Forest Service Road 900, that offer great fishing for brown, rainbow, cutthroat, and brook Trout. The names of the 3 reservoirs in this area are Yamcolo, Bear River, and Stillwater Reservoir. All 3 can accommodate a canoe or small boat, Yamcolo being the only one of the three that allows a small boat with a motor as long as the boat does not cause a wake.

HOW TO GET THERE: From Downtown Yampa, Forest Road 900 is located just past the local General Store, (Montgomery’s). The 900 road begins with 6.4 miles of pavement with the remainder 8 miles being gravel road. Bear River Campground is on the left side after passing the Yamcolo Reservoir.

Paper Trail guides for hiking as well as other information are available at the Yampa Ranger Station in downtown Yampa.

Ryan Park Campground

Open without services, plan to pack-out your trash. Ryan Park Campground is located on the Snowy Range Scenic Byway, State Highway 130.  Plan to bring your water. Facilities include: 49 campsites (13 RV pull throughs), a group site, picnic tables, fire grates, toilets and trash service. The campground is an ideal site for vacationers traveling through the area or for those that want to spend an extended stay and enjoy great access to many outdoor activities. Visitors can stay up to 16 nights. The Brush Creek Visitor Center is located 2.5 miles west of the campground and can provide information on miscellaneous outdoor recreation opportunities. Sites are reservable through www.recreation.gov or by calling 877-444-6777.  Reservations can be made as close as 16 days in advance or as far as 6 months in advance.  Non-reserved sites are available for single night walk-ins. See campground host for assistance.

South Brush Creek Campground

Open without services, plan to pack-in-pack-out.  South Brush Creek Campground is a sunny campground with small trees among the campsites. The 20 sites include 6 pull-throughs (trailers under 32'), picnic tables, fire grates, toilets and trash service. Recreational opportunities include the Brush Creek Hiking Trail System, Stump Hollow and Cedar OHV trails, and fishing in area streams. The Brush Creek Visitor Center is nearby on Hwy 130. 

Esterbrook Campground

Water is currently available in the Campground for campground users.  Esterbrook Work Center does not have public water sources.

6300' elevation. 12 sites in a lightly wooded area. 14 day stay limit. Non-motorized access to the Sunset Ridge Trail is available at two points within the campground. An OHV trailhead is 1/2 mile down the NFSR 633 road to access the motorized trail system.  It is located in the Laramie Peak area and is managed by the Douglas Ranger District.

Stillwater Trailhead

This popular trailhead serves three trails leading into the Flat Tops Wilderness: North Derby, Trail 1122, which goes over the dam and leads to Hooper and Keener Lakes and intersects with further trails on the White River National Forest; the East Fork, Trail 1119, which leads to the popular destination the Devil's Causeway and beyond; and the Bear River, Trail 1120. which forks off Trail 1119 about a mile from the trailhead.

Stillwater Trail is managed by the Yampa Ranger District.

Fishing is available at Stillwater Reservoir.

There is a vault toilet at the trailhead; no water.

Parking can be limited on busy summer weekends.

Mirror Lake Picnic & Fishing Site

Open without services, plan to pack-in-pack-out. Mirror Lake is a popular picnic and fishing stop on the Snowy Range Highway. The site is near the base of Medicine Bow Peak. It provides lakeside access for fishing and a short easy walking trail to the West Lake Marie Trailhead. Other popular hiking trails in the area include the Medicine Bow Peak, Lake Marie Falls, Lakes Trail and Miners Cabin Trails. This site should not be missed if you are traveling along the Snowy Range Scenic Byway.

Lincoln Park Campground

Open without services, plan to pack-in-pack-out.  This campground is three miles off the Snowy Range Scenic Byway (Hwy 130) beside North Brush Creek. Facilities include: 12 small camp sites, picnic tables, water, toilets, fire grates and trash service. The campground has a 14 day stay limit. Brush Creek Visitor Center is located nearby. OHV trails in the area include Stump Hollow Trail and Cedar Creek Trail.  Kennaday Peak is nearby and offers a panaramic view of the area.  

Fish Creek Falls TH: Trail #1102

Trail Map

Fish Creek Falls Trailhead #1102 is located in the Steamboat Springs Area and managed by the Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District. Enjoy a great view of the waterfalls from an wheelchair accessible overlook trail or a dirt trail can take you down to the base of the falls, and a historical bridge, which crosses Fish Creek and continues the trail 5 miles to Long Lake and connects to the 1101,1032. Vault toilet are provided. Area open year round, providing snow shoeing and ice climbing in the winter months.