F EATURE of the M ONTH

Day Trips Starting from Stagecoach Lake
This is just one trip, but can be taken in many ways and offers a variety of options. Make the entire trip without stops in 3-1/2 hours or make a stop along the way to enjoy one of many activities.

Getting Started:

From Steamboat: Take Highway 40 East from Steamboat to Highway 131. While traveling 131, just before the big bend to the right you are apt to see Bald Eagles or Great Blue Heron nesting. This site is on the right hand side of the road. Several miles past the curve, you will note a sign that points to County Road 14 and Stagecoach Reservoir. Follow the road until you reach the reservoir.

Stop 1: Primarily for children and fishermen

You may wish to turn left in to the reservoir area and then left again to follow the reservoir to the dam. Here are some excellent photo opportunities with the reservoir in the foreground and the Flattops in the background. The tail waters of the reservoir are known for their excellent fly fishing.

Continue past the Dam to the Sarvis Creek Trailhead. Here there are opportunities for fishing and hiking. Children love to play in the creek and enjoy the many shallow pools. You can make this hike as long or short as you wish. Your day trip may end here.

If you continue on past Sarvis Creek area, you will return to Lake Catamount and Route 131. The road is not open in the winter and often is in poor shape during the summer, so choose dry weather.

Stop 2: For the boater or the beach lover
(WINTER AND SUMMER)

Continue straight past the toll both. Boat rentals are available at the Marina. It is best to call ahead for reservations. Enjoy a day on the lake. In the winter there is ice fishing, snowshoeing, cross country skiing.

Stop 3: For the nature lover
(Closed until SPRING)

This trip takes you past the entrance to Stagecoach Reservoir. At the end of the reservoir you will see a sign for County Road 16. Take your left turn and then turn right into the parking area on your right. Here is a delightful nature walk along the Yampa River and through some wetlands. Bald Eagles, Sandhill Cranes, Mountain Pelicans, a host of shore birds as well as warblers, and other song birds enjoy this habitat. The trail is in excellent condition with viewing platforms near the ponds and over the river. The walk may take 20 minutes or several hours depending on your personality and interests.

Stop 4: Great for fishing and a long flat walk
(WINTER AND SUMMER)

About 500 feet from the nature walk is a State Parking area which provides access to the Reservoir and the trail along the edge of the Reservoir. This is one of very few almost flat trails in the area. This trail is not advised in the heat of the day, since there is little to no shade, but it's a great place to start a season of walks, so go early in the year or in the fall.

Stop 5: A favorite for kids of all ages
(SUMMER)

Continue on County Road 16 until you see a bank of condos. Turn left, still County Road 16 with a sign for Lynx Pass. When you get to a "T" in the road turn to your left to reach the boat ramp. From here you can take a walk to the dam. It's not a strenuous walk and usually you will be accompanied by the Mountain Blue Bird. This is where the kid part comes in to play. Bring with you a washer, a piece of chicken, and some string and the kids will be set for hours. It's crayfish catching time. This is usually instant gratification, so makes the walk, when near the water, most fun for the kids. This walk will take about an hour to and from the dam, but the crayfish catching may lengthen your stay.

Stop 6: For the not so serious hiker - about a mile and a half loop.
(WINTER AND SUMMER)

At the "T" take a right turn and follow the road to the Spring Creek Trailhead. After a short climb, take the Morrision Creek Loop. If your interested in a day hike, Spring Creek takes you to Rabbit Ears. Mountain Lions have been sighted on this trail. It's a great hike and not too long so it affords opportunities for other exploration on your day trip.

Stop 7: For a guided tour on horseback
(SUMMER)

This is another stop where advance reservations are required. High Meadows Ranch hosts trail rides through the mountain meadows and open woodlands. June and early July are ideal times with a bounty of windflower. In some areas Mule's Ears provide a carpet of bright yellow and lush green leaves. Rides are usually two hours.

Stop 8: Now you have committed to the rest of the drive
(SUMMER ONLY)

Continue past High Meadows along a windy road through deep forest. This is a delightful drive through the shade on a hot summer afternoon. This road eventfully brings you to State Route 134, just beyond Gore Pass. Turn right on 134 which will take you through mountain meadows and back to highway 131. Here you can:

  • get an ice cream at the Toponas Country Store
  • visit the museum in Yampa
  • view the entrance to the Flattops (consider this trip for another day)
  • see the train yards in Phippsburg (since you are now in coal mining territory)
  • have a bite to eat in Oak Creek
Then it's back to Steamboat. Without stopping or taking side trips, the travel time is about 3-1/2 hours, so plan accordingly.

Welcome to our wonderful valley and savor an experience in South Routt.