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River Recreation Opportunities

Yampa river at the state wildlife area access photo

The Yampa River from Craig through the Little Yampa Canyon is a popular Class I float trip.  No permits are required for private trips.  Commercial river guides and outfitters must have a Special Recreation Permit (SRP).  Click here for additional information on the SRP program.


Click here to view the Yampa River Guide:  Craig to Juniper Canyon

Click here to view the Yampa River Guide:  Craig to Juniper Canyon

Click here to view the Yampa River Miles 45-204 Map Key & Access Information

Click here to view maps, photos & other information about floating the Yampa River


Colorado Parks and Wildlife is the primary manager of Yampa River public land access sites under a cooperative agreement with the Bureau of Land Management. Their website has additional information you might find helpful. 

Parks and Wildlife provides consistent day-to-day management, facilities, signing, maintenance, and regulation enforcement.  A user fee is charged at developed river access sites.  BLM and Parks and Wildlife cooperatively enforce all applicable laws and regulations on public lands within the Yampa River Corridor. Parks and Wildlife also issues all river permits for commercial guides and outfitters for the Yampa River. 

The purpose of the agreement is to implement the consistent river management component of the Yampa River System Legacy Project, which is supported by participating local, state, and national organizations (and a major grant from Great Outdoors Colorado).

Management objectives for the public lands along Yampa River are described in the BLM Little Snake Resource Management Plan and Little Yampa Canyon Recreation Area Management Plan.  The free flowing conditions and outstanding resource values of the Yampa River are protected under management policies and federal law.

 River Regulation Information

  • Portable Toilets must be used and solid human waste and toilet paper carried out
  • Biodegradable soap must be used for cleaning and food particles strained out of dishwater
  • A fire pan must be used for fires and ashes carried out
  • Only charcoal, wood that has been carried in, dead fall, or driftwood may be used for fires
  • All trash and garbage must be carried out
  • Boating/camping group size may not exceed 15 persons
  • No hazardous materials or waste may be disposed on public lands
  • Cultural, paleontological or historic resources are not to be removed, destroyed, or vandalized
  • For additional information, please contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife at (970) 276-2061 or BLM Little Snake Field Office at (970) 826-5000.

 River Access Information


General River Information

Weekends are most popular for floating the Yampa and you are likely to encounter other people.  Fishing for northern pike and small mouthbass has also become quite popular on the upper segment of the river.  

 Additional River Information

From its headwaters in the Flattops Wilderness Area to its confluence with the Green River near the Utah border, the Yampa River has given rise to a rich cultural heritage unique to this area.  It is the thread that weaves our communities together - our past and our future.  The Yampa River ties together many features of the Yampa Valley that make it unique and give it statewide significance.

  • The Yampa River is one of the most hydrologically and biologically intact rivers in the West.  It supports a diversity of native aquatic communities (including four federally listed fish species: Colorado River pike minnow, humpback chub, bonytail chub, and razorback sucker - as well as candidate species such as the Colorado River cutthroat trout) and significant reaches of globally rare riparian plant communities.

  • The Yampa River supports a rich agricultural heritage which shapes the unique character of this area and represents an important opportunity to find ways to perpetuate a working landscape that is compatible with the conservation of a nationally significant river system.

  • The ownership configuration provides an opportunity for developing model public-private partnerships:  95 percent of the Yampa Rivers course through Routt County is on private land, and conversely, in Moffat County 51 percent of the River traverses public lands.

  • The Yampa Valley is recreation intensive, renown for its high quality scenery and recreation opportunities.  Over 3.5 million recreation user-days are logged annually by residents and visitors, with almost 2 million recreation days (including 1 million skier days) concentrated in the Steamboat Springs area including Steamboat Lake and Stagecoach Reservoir State Parks.

The river offers a good fast (5 to 7 mph) float at high flows (in normal years 6,000 to 12,000 cubic feet per second (CFS) around mid-May to mid-June.  CAUTION:  The water is very swift and cold during high flows.

Floating the 38-mile segment through Little Yampa Canyon (from the Yampa Project pump station to Duffy Mountain) is usually an overnight trip.  With low flows, generally from the end of July on, you can expect to carry or drag your boat through some of the shallow areas.

Floating the 4-mile segment through Cross Mountain Canyon is suggested for expert boaters only.  By order of the Moffat County Sheriffs Office, no vessels other than kayaks are allowed through this section when river flows are above 5,000 CFS.

Click on the above link to access several pages containing detailed maps, photos & site information for the Yampa River from upper Steamboat Springs (river mile 204) to Deerlodge Park (river mile 46).


There are a number of excellent camp sites available on BLM public lands, most have cottonwood trees for shade (Note: To avoid trespass charges, private land may only be used with the permission of the landowner).  Most of these sites are marked on the enclosed maps.


You should, at a minimum, purchase the BLM Meeker topographic color quad map which shows land ownership.  This map may be purchased from our office:  Little Snake Field Office, 455 Emerson Street, Craig, CO  81625-1129, phone (970) 826-5000, or from the BLM Colorado State Office, 2850 Youngfield Street, Lakewood, CO  80215-7076, phone (303) 239-3600.

Four (4) USGS topographic maps are required to cover the Little Yampa Canyon area and are named as follows:  Castor Gulch (south of Craig), Round Bottom, Horse Gulch, and Juniper Hot Springs.  All are at a scale of 1:24,000 and cover the area from the golf course to Juniper Canyon.  (The Craig quad covers a small portion of the river south of Craig.)  The remainder of Juniper Canyon and to the Maybell Bridge is on the Juniper Mountain and Maybell quad maps.

Topographic maps are available from:  U.S. Geological Survey on-line store or by calling (303) 236-5900.


Additional River Information Links






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