Yamcolo Reservoir Camping, Fishing and Boat Launch

Area Status: Open

Located in the heart of the Flat Tops just outside Yampa on Forest Service Road 900. This area has 10 designated camping sites and a boat launch. There is a parking area where one can park and walk down to fish off the shore, or a boat ramp located on the far end of the reservoir that provides access to the Yamcolo Reservoir for free day use fishing. There are three trailheads located off Forest Service Road 900. Mandall Lakes Trailhead, Smith Lake Trailhead, and Stillwater Trailhead, all within a short driving distance from Yamcolo Reservoir.

The Yamcolo Reservoir was conceived by ranchers of the Upper Yampa Valley and the Toponas Basin in the early 1960’s to alleviate frequent shortages of crucial irrigation water.

In 1977 the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District , organized by its first president Loy Ardrey, obtained a commitment from the Colorado Ute Electric Company for the annual purchase of water. This was the key to initiating the project. Western Engineers of Grand Junction were selected to design the structure and in 1978 Jasper Construction Company of Minneapolis was awarded the contract, completing the dam in the fall of 1980. The Reservoir was dedicated on July 11, 1981.

The project, located on Routt National Forest twelve miles southwest of Yampa, provides water for irrigation, power generation and domestic use for the growing Yampa Valley communities. Increased flows in the Yampa from later summer reservoir releases, enhance the fishing and beauty of the river.

Electric trolling motors and internal combustion engines are allowed. (This is the only reservoir on the Yampa Ranger District where combustion engines are allowed) 

At a Glance

Current Conditions: 6/16/2023 - The trailhead is now reachable but still has 2-3 feet of snow on all hiking trails in the area.
Reservations: First come, first served.
Area Amenities: Interpretive Site, Boat ramp, Tent camping, Camping trailer, Fee charged for some activities, Picnic tables, Toilets, Parking
Fees: Day use is free. Camping is $5/vehicle/night
Open Season: Memorial Day - Mid-October
Usage: Medium-Heavy
Closest Towns: Yampa, CO
Water: No
Restroom: Yes
Information Center: Yampa Ranger District
300 Roselawn Ave
Yampa, CO 80483

General Information


From Yampa, CO: Take Cty Rd 7 just behind the local General Store, (Montgomery’s) for 7 miles, it will then turn into gravel and this is when the road becomes Forest Service Road 900, stay on FS RD 900 for approximately 4 more miles until you see Yamcolo on the left side. It is the first of the three reservoirs located on Forest Service Rd 900.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Lake and Pond Fishing

There are Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, and Brook Trout present at Yamcolo Reservoir.

Scenic Driving

Vista views can be seen from Yamcolo Reservoir of the Flat Tops and is a popular photo opportunity

Hours of Operation: Forest Service Road 900 is not plowed and requires snowmobile for access during winter months. Accessible for passenger vehicle as early as Memorial Day weekend.
Difficulty Level: Easy
Rental info: Nearest recreation equipment rentals is in Steamboat Springs - 38 miles away

Boating - Motorized

BOAT REGULATIONS: Electric trolling motors and internal combustion engines are allowed. (This is the only reservoir combustion engines are allowed)

Rental info: No rentals available

Boating - Non-Motorized


Interpretive Site:
Camping trailer: Max Length 45 ft
Picnic tables: Picnic Tables Available at the Campsites only
Tent camping: $5 per night
Fee charged for some activities: $5 per campsite, $5 per additional vehicle
Boat ramp: Located on Far Side of Yamcolo Reservoir

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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