Buffalo Pass is a wilderness playground in Steamboat’s backyard. Beginning only minutes from downtown, it’s 11 miles to the top and 32 miles to Highway 14 near Walden. Camping, hiking, OHV trails and lakes are found along the way.
2WD cars will do fine at lower elevations, but towards the top and final few miles, high-clearance is recommended. The road isn’t driven by cars in the winter, but it does get use by snowmobiles. The road is closed to motor vehicles December 1 – June 30th.
Biking – Trails from Buffalo Pass connect with other nearby areas, like Fish Creek Falls and Rabbit Ears Pass.
Camping – Dispersed camping can be found very shortly after the first campground at the start. Campgrounds are first-come, first-serve.
- Dry Lake – 8 wooded sites at the base of the pass near town (info)
- Summit Lake – 9 back-in sites, 6 walk-in tent only (info)
Fishing – Summit Lake is easily accessed from the top. There’s other lakes, like Jonah, that require a hike from the top.
Hiking – Trails are located on both sides of the pass.
OHV – Permitted on the pass east of the start.
Winter – Backcountry skiing and snowmobiling are popular. Snowshoers and cross country skiers also make use of the lower trails.
Steamboat Powdercats operates a snow cat ski tour on the pass. steamboatpowdercats.com
From downtown Steamboat, take Park Ave to Strawberry Park Rd, toward the hot springs. Follow for a few minutes to Co Rd 38.
Address: Co Rd 38, Steamboat Springs
Phone: 970-723-2700 – Parks Ranger
Season: Year round for recreation, but the road is closed 12/1 – 6/30
Roads: 2WD/4WD high-clearance at top
Fees: Camping & day use at Summit Lake
Map: Parks (PDF) – A large motor vehicle use map showing the whole ranger district and where dispersed camping is permitted.