Clear your memory card and charge those batteries, because you’ll be snappin’ pics like a tourist at Yampa River State Park. Bring a dry bag, too, because this park is all about fun down by the river. Lots of folks visit the region to shred the slopes at Steamboat Springs, but you’d be forever bummed if you didn’t spend some more time exploring the area. This park is actually three “parks” in one, and each area is like a snowflake: entirely unique and wonderful. Headquarters is right on the Yampa River, near Hayden. This is the place to camp. From there, the park has 13 access points that span 134 miles and go all the way down to Dinosaur National Monument, near Utah. The fishing is top notch, the camping is sublime, and adventure awaits the adrenaline junkies. The rapids range from Class I to Class V, so there’s something for everyone. Last, but definitely not least, is Elkhead Reservoir. It’s the third “park,” and it’s great for swimming, fishing, camping, and straight chillaxing. You’ll even have easy access to hiking, biking, and equestrian trails. With so many activities, you might never make it back home!
Five minutes outside Hayden, the Yampa River State Park Headquarters features both RV and tent camping, plus a few group sites. For a truly unique...
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History of Yampa River State Park
The Yampa River basin in Western Colorado is rich in Native American and geologic history. It was not explored by people with logging or mining interests until the late 19th century. The indigenous people resided here for the abundance of wildlife and the ability to grow crops. A diverse climate enabled movement into regions that allowed access to food and amenable weather. Yampa River State Park was developed in 1997 and was a product of the Yampa River Legacy Project. This project brought together people with varied interests with one common goal: to conserve the unique natural areas and agricultural lands along the Yampa River while managing recreation and protecting biologically sensitive features and private property.