Buffalo Pass


The Buffalo Pass area has been an increasingly popular dispersed recreation hub, partly because of its proximity to Steamboat Springs. The area, however, was lacking in Forest Service trails for people to enjoy the area, and many user created trails were developed instead.

In response, in 2016, the Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District conducted an analysis of the potential effects of taking three different alternative actions: no action; closing all user created trails in the area; or constructing new trails and improving the user created trails.

The resulting document, the Buffalo Pass Trails Project Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact, provided the necessary information for the District Ranger to make a decision on a course of action. The Final Decision Notice approved the alternative for the district to construct new trails and improve the user created trails in the area, for a total of approximately 43 miles of trail, as that supported the Forest Service management policy of providing for recreational opportunities while protecting resources. The decision also included the provision to prohibit bicycles and all other wheeled vehicles from riding off of designated trails and roads in the Buffalo Pass area.

Implementation of the project is now underway, with completion anticipated at the end of the 2018 summer season. Current trail status information is provided on this page and will be updated as more trails are completed.

The district is in the process of planning the next phase of trails in the Mad Creek, Rocky Peak, and Rabbit Ears areas. The tenative timeline is:

  • Winter 2017-2018: Informal scoping on potential alternatives.
  • Summer 2018: Field review of alternatives, as needed.
  • Early fall 2018: Draft environmetnal analysis available to the public for comments.
  • Late fall 2018: Final environmental analysis available.

If you are interested in being part of the process, please contact the district office.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Trails completed in 2016 and 2017:
  • BTR
  • Flash of Gold
  • Grouse (This includes the improved user-created trail that was known as "R2D2". It is no longer  referred to  as"R2D2" due to potential copyright issues and is now part of the Grouse Trail.)
  • Panorama
  • Fiddlehead (2 family-friendly loops near the Dry Lake Campground)
  • Click here for the most recent trails status map.
Trails planned for 2018:
  • 2018 will be a busy season, as we anticipate completing another 21 miles of trail, including improving the Soda Creek, Soda Ditch, Soda Mountain user created trails and constructing the motorized trail from the near Dry Lake area to Rocky Flats, the Buffalo Mountain trail, and the trail that will parallel Buffalo Pass Road on the south side and connect with Road 305.
Restrictions: Bicycle and Wheeled Vehicle Restrictions: Bicycles and all other wheeled vehicles are only allowed on designated trails within the Buffalo Pass area, per MBRTB Occupancy/Use Restrictions Special Order 2017-MBRTB-HPBE-170. The designated trails that are open to bicycle/motorcycle uses will be updated as more trails are completed. Seasonal Area/Trail Restrictions: Flash of Gold, BTR, and the to-be-completed motorcycle trail, will be closed each year from May 15 - June 15 to protect an elk calving area, per MBRTB Occupancy/Use Restrictions Special Order 2017-HPBE-135.
Closest Towns:  Steamboat Springs, CO
Water: No
Restroom: Dry Lake and Summit Lake Campgrounds
Information Center:  For more information contact:
  • The Hahns Peak/Bears Ears District office, Monday- Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at: 925 Weiss Drive, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487; or by calling: 970-870-2299
  • Kent Foster, Buffalo Pass Trails Project director, at 970-870-2142 or kfoster@fs.fed.us
The Buffalo Pass Trails Project Environmental Assessment/Finding of No Significant Impact and Final Decision Notice are available and provide information on reasons for the project, planned changes to user created trails, planned new trails, seasonal restrictions/closures, and other pertinent information.



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