Nestled in the heart of the Yampa Valley 22 miles west of Steamboat, Hayden is rich in Western heritage, open space, and small-town charm. Coal mining and agriculture are at the center of Hayden’s cultural history. Jefferson’s Street’s single stop light presides over a handful of eclectic stores, restaurants, a town park with a new playground, a nice library, and a well-stocked mercantile grocery store. Its affordability and abundance of ground-floor opportunity make Hayden a location worth looking into.
The Town of Hayden sits along U.S. Highway 40 in the Yampa River Valley between Craig and Steamboat Springs in Routt County, nestled at elevation of 6,434 feet between rolling hills, agricultural fields and the Yampa River in the beautiful northwestern section of the state. Current population is approximately 1,710 people. Hayden, in close proximity to the Yampa Valley Regional Airport (HDN), has seasonal passenger jet airline service during the winter ski season nonstop to Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul and New York Newark, and year-round passenger air service to Denver. Hayden, with its welcoming small-town atmosphere and abundant natural and recreational resources, it’s a great place to grow a business, family, or even a crop or herd. For skiers, vacationers and residents, Steamboat ski resort is a short 30 minute drive away.
The Ute people used the area for summer hunting before the town was settled. Trappers worked in the area in the early 1800s. The first Europeans settled in 1875, with the town established in 1894. Hayden was named for F.V. Hayden, head of a survey party for the U.S. Geological & Geographic Survey in the late 1860s. Hayden explored western Colorado during the late nineteenth century. Historically a center of coal mining and agriculture, it consists today of a small cluster of homes and businesses.
Hayden is also a great jumping-off point for some of the state’s top outdoor adventures. It is near the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, Mt. Zirkel and Sarvis Creek Wilderness Areas. Opportunities for backpacking, hiking and biking abound in these nationally protected open spaces, while water enthusiasts and campers will enjoy state parks including Stagecoach, Steamboat Lake and Pearl Lake, and Elkhead Reservoir. Hunting and fishing are major draws around the Hayden and Steamboat area. Camping here is a year-round favorite due to Hayden’s spectacular landscapes.
Hayden’s local businesses include family restaurants, a deli and a motel. For cultural activities and some of the best downhill skiing in the nation, most community members head about 20 miles east to Steamboat Springs. Those feeling a little more adventurous can try out the local dogsled tours.
Folks in Hayden like to have fun the old-fashioned way from a Huck Finn Day to a Holiday Stroll to the Routt County Fair. Locals don’t take themselves to too seriously when they get messy at the Routt County Red Neck Olympics. In this active small town, crowds turn out to cheer at the high school sports games, where the athletic Hayden Tigers often come out ahead, and community activities range from barn dances to the annual Cog Run.
The Hayden School District (www.HaydenSchools.org) boasts small-class sizes overall with individualized student attention from a caring, supportive staff. The district operates an elementary, middle and high school in Hayden and hosts a preschool program for ages 3 and 4 at the elementary school.