Yampa Ranger District

Flat Tops Mountain Range

The Yampa Ranger District is the southernmost district of the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest.

The ranger district consists of nearly 400,000 acres of varied terrain, ranging from sagebrush flats to forested mountains to alpine tundra. The name Yampa comes from a plant that was eaten by Native Americans that once lived in the area.

The Yampa Ranger District was established on May 1, 1954, when the Gore, Burns Hole, and Williams Fork Ranger Districts were combined. Much of the present Yampa Ranger District was part of the White River Forest Reserve. The Park Range Forest Reserve, which was proclaimed in 1905, was renamed in 1908 to honor Colonel John N. Routt, the last territorial and the first elected governor of Colorado. The Routt National Forest was merged with the Medicine Bow National Forest and the Thunder Basin National Grassland in Wyoming, forming the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland. The Forest Supervisor's office is in Laramie, Wyoming.

The camping season usually runs from mid June through Labor Day weekend, as does the summer recreation season for much of the ranger district, depending on snow and other conditions. Summer recreation includes camping, hiking, bird watching, mountain bike riding, horseback riding, and ATV and dirt bike riding. Be prepared for all types of weather, no matter when you come to visit, particularly in the higher elevations. Winter recreation includes snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. Winter travelers should be prepared to spend a night in the backcountry, and should always carry additional clothes and other equipment in the event of an emergency. Whatever time of year you are traveling on the forest, be sure to leave word with friends or family about your destination and expected time of return.

 Yampa River Headwaters 

FLAT TOPS SCENIC BYWAY AND TRAILS – The Flat Tops Scenic Byway, between Yampa and Meeker, is 82 miles long (including 40 miles of gravel road). There are opportunities to view marmots, eagles, elk, deer, and other wildlife. Visitors are encouraged to bring binoculars for this 2.5 hour trip. The byway is open from June through October depending on the weather. Gas and other services are available in Yampa and Meeker.

More than 200 miles of trails for horses and riders, pack animals, and hikers, skiers and snowshoers weave through the heart of the Flat Tops Wilderness. Visitors can explore the more than 50 miles of scenic mountain trails on Gore Pass popular with hikers and mountain bikers. Cyclists of all abilities can find something to match their skills. Four trails on the ranger district are maintained to accommodate ATVs and motorcycles.

During your visit, be sure to stop by the office to inquire about current conditions, find out what's going on, and get any information that you may need to enjoy your visit to the Yampa Ranger District. The office is located at 300 Roselawn Avenue in Yampa, Colorado.