Flat Tops Trail Scenic Byway is a secluded, 82-mile stretch in beautiful Northwest Colorado. It connects the towns of Yampa (to the east) and Meeker (to the west). Although remote, active ranches, mines and logging exist along the drive, with something around every turn.
The drive is at a leisurely pace, usually around 2.5 – 3 hours. About half the trip is on a smooth gravel road, the other dirt.
Camping is outstanding in this remote location, with plenty of recreation to occupy your time. The drive accesses both the Routt and White River National Forests. Gas up in Meeker or Yampa, as there is no where else to fill once on the drive.
Boating – Wakeless boating in 300-acre Trappers Lake. Boats must be hand-launched from a trail.
- The Trappers Lake Lodge is open seasonally (late May through September) and rents out boats, as well a horses and cabins. There is a mini general store with a restaurant with bar. 7700 Trappers Lake Rd, Meeker, trapperslake.com
Camping – It’s easy to find both primitive car camping and campgrounds along the majority of the drive, especially on the Yampa side.
- Many primitive spots can be found directly off the byway. More spots can be found off almost any dirt road.
- NF campgrounds are well marked with many to choose from. Many campgrounds are close to lakes, like Trappers or Chapman.
Fishing – Lake after lake can be accessed during the drive.
- Chapman Reservoir is one of the closest to Yampa.
- Trappers Lake is the biggest and has long been preserved from development, resulting in highest concentration of Colorado River cutthroats anywhere. Artificial flies and lures only.
Hiking – There are numerous places to park your car and walk around during the 4 hour drive. Trappers Lake is a great detour, with a 5.5 miles trek around the lake.
Horseback Riding – Permitted on several multi-use trails in the national forests.
Hunting – The Flat Tops Wilderness is accessible along much of the byway, with plenty of places to hunt during established seasons.
OHV – Permitted on certain multi-use trails and roads.
Scenic Drives – In addition to sights along the 82-mile-stretch, take the ten mile detour down to Trappers Lake for the second or so largest natural lake in Colorado (behind Grand Lake and Lake San Cristobal also claims second largest).
Winter – Cross county skiing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing are common when there’s snow.
From Yampa – Take Co Rd 17 from downtown which becomes Co Rd 8/byway. From Meeker – Take E Market St to Co Rd 8. The road is open June to October, depending on snow. Winter recreation is allowed, but the byway from Yampa isn’t plowed.
Season: June – October
Length: 82 miles
Roads: 2WD, Free
Map: Flat Tops Trail (.png)
Flickr Photos: 8/15/2012