RVers should journey to the northwestern section of Colorado and camp at Yampa River State Park, located in Hayden, Colorado next to the winding Yampa River. The park is nestled near the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, Mt. Zirkel, and Sarvis Creek Wilderness Areas. These areas lie at the heart of some of Colorado’s most beautiful destinations, places where outdoor adventure meets scenic mountains and valleys.
Yampa Valley State Park is often called the Colorado state park that is three parks in one. The first component of the park is the hub of the park and home to the Yampa Valley State Park Headquarters. Visitors come to this section to stay, play, and gather information about the facilities. The second component of the park is the 134-mile stretch of the Yampa River, with its 13 different access points stretching from Hayden, Colorado to the Dinosaur National Monument, near the Utah border. In this section of the park, there are six different camping locations as well as river access points places for boaters, anglers, and rafters. The third component of the park is the Elkhead Reservoir. Visitors come to this section of the park for water recreation, swimming, hiking, and mountain biking. RVers will enjoy this picturesque area of Colorado and want to stay multiple days to experience the beauty of the park entirely.
RV Rentals in Yampa River State Park
Transportation in Yampa River State Park
Visitors will find the Yampa River State Park Headquarters off of US-40 between Steamboat Springs and Craig, Colorado. From Steamboat, take US-40 west approximately 27 miles. Visitors coming from Craig will travel about 17 miles east on US-40.
Please note that a valid vehicle pass is required to enter all Colorado State Parks. The daily fee is an additional cost not included with camping reservations. Guests can purchase a daily or yearly pass at the entrance station.
RVers need to be aware that getting to Yampa River State Park may require traveling on one or more mountain passes. Some passes have steep grades and switchbacks and winter driving restrictions. Almost every pass has spectacular views at the summit, so plan to stop and get a picture with miles of Colorado mountaintops in the distance.
Campgrounds and parking in Yampa River State Park
Campsites in Yampa River State Park
The Headquarters Campground is a pet-friendly, seasonally operated campground housed in the main section of the park. The RV campground offers large back-in and pull-through gravel spaces allowing RVs and trailers up to 50 feet in length. Each 50-amp electric space has a fire pit for guests to have a fire when the weather permits. The campground features a camper’s services building with pay showers and a coin-operated laundry, flush toilets, hydrants, and a dump station. Please silence all noise making equipment during quiet hours, from 10:00 pm to 6:00 am.
One of the Public River Access primitive camping locations where campers can sleep next to the river is the South Beach, or sometimes called the Yampa Project Pump Station. Overnight camping is allowed here only with the permission of the Yampa River State Park Manager. This area has vault toilets, a table, grill, and tent pad for each site. Campers pay overnight and day use fees at the entrance.
The Maybell Bridge primitive camping area is located 28 miles west of Craig, or three miles from the town of Maybell. Overnight camping is available with a valid camping permit, which can be purchased at the site. Campers need to pay the day use fee upon entering the area. This camping area features vault toilets, trash cans, picnic tables, and fire rings. The Maybell Bridge area is known for its wildlife, and deer and antelope are present year-round, and elk wander the area during the winter. Please respect the grounds by staying off of private land, removing all trash, drowning all fires, and keeping noise to a minimum.
East Cross Mountain
The East Cross Mountain primitive camping area is located 18 miles southwest of the town of Maybell. Campers wishing to stay here should note that sections of the road are rough. Overnight camping is available with a valid camping permit, which can be purchased at the site. Campers need to pay the day use fee upon entering the area. This camping location offers a vault toilet, parking, picnic area, a boat ramp, tables, and fire rings. Please respect the grounds by staying off of private land, removing all trash, drowning all fires, and keeping noise to a minimum.
Juniper Canyon is a primitive river access camping area located 12 miles downriver from Duffy Mountain. Overnight camping is available with a valid camping permit, which can be purchased at the site. Campers need to pay the day use fee upon entering the area. This area has a boat ramp, vault toilet, trash cans, picnic area, tables, and fire rings. This area is well known for its wildlife and multi-purpose trails. Please respect the grounds by staying off of private land, removing all trash, drowning all fires, and keeping noise to a minimum.
Duffy Mountain is a primitive river access camping area located 29 miles west of Craig. This area is the primary take-out from South Beach. This area had improved amenities such as a vault toilet, a boat ramp, parking, picnic sites, trash cans, and fire rings. Overnight camping is available with a valid camping permit, which can be purchased at the site. Campers need to pay the day use fee upon entering the area. Please respect the grounds by staying off of private land, removing all trash, drowning all fires, and keeping noise to a minimum.
Seasonal activities in Yampa River State Park
Campers who stay at the Park Headquarters Campground have access to a one-mile nature trail that offers interpretive information along the trail’s route. Most of the hiking opportunities in the area are not located within the Park Headquarters, but outside along Bureau of Land Management land near the river. Some of the most scenic trails are located near Duffy Mountain, Juniper Canyon, and Cross Mountain. Hikers can pick up a park map from the Visitor Center for more information.
Floating and boating bring visitors to the Yampa River year-round for recreation. To float the river, you will need to bring or rent a boat or organize a float trip from one of the commercial outfitters located in Steamboat Springs or Vernal, Utah. All boaters should be familiar with state boating laws and ensure to pay the proper access fees when parking your boat trailer. Boaters and floaters can access the river at one of the seven Yampa River access points that offer boat ramps. Pick up or download a map for detailed put-in information for East Cross Mountain, Maybell Bridge, Juniper Canyon, Duffy Mountain, South Beach, and the Hayden Pump Station.
Fish are abundant in the Yampa River year-round, and anglers come from all over the state to experience the excitement of catching warm and cold water species in the Yampa. Different parts of the river have better fishing opportunities. Upstream from Yampa River State Park is one of the healthiest trout fisheries in Colorado. On the eastern end of the river, fish for trout, smallmouth bass, and northern pike. On the western end of the river, fish for smallmouth bass, northern pike, and catfish. All anglers 16 and older need to have and possess a valid fishing license. Inquire about licenses and guided fishing opportunities in Steamboat Springs, or any of the towns located near Yampa River State Park.
Day Use Areas
Spend time in some of the park’s picnic and day use areas to enjoy what Colorado is known for. Nature. There are picnic areas at each of the 13 river access points, where visitors can eat and spend time next to the river. Each access point requires visitors to pay a day use fee, so if you decide to move areas during your visit, keep your day pass to avoid paying double. Park guests can also use some of the day use areas near the Headquarters Campground. There is a reservable picnic area, a playground, a volleyball court, and horseshoe pits located near the campground. Pick up a park map when you arrive, or ask one of the park staff where the areas are located.
People who enjoy sitting in nature and looking for wildlife will find the Yampa River area to be the perfect location to look for different species of birds, mammals, and fish. The native aquatic species include federally-listed fish species and diverse Colorado fish. Along the river beds, migratory birds such as sandhill cranes, blue heron, and bald eagles rest and nest alongside other bird species, making the area perfect for birdwatching. Big game, such as elk, deer, and antelope also frequent the area, and people who wait quietly may be able to see one of these beautiful creatures passing through.
Many of Colorado’s most populated hunting areas are located around Yampa River State Park. The park serves as an excellent central location for hunters to sleep and unwind before and after a long day of hunting because it offers camping, restrooms, and showers. Hunters can pick up Bureau of Land Management maps for sale at the Visitor Center as well as gather information on the State Trust Lands that allow public access and hunting. For hunting information such as licensing and permitting, please contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife.