Yampa is an excellent jumping off point for a trip to see the aspens in the fall with numerous roads leading into and out of town offering a chance to see the fall colors. Gateway to the famed Flat Tops Mountains and the Flat Tops Trail Scenic Byway, at elevation of 7,881 feet, Yampa began as a hunting camp in the 1880s. Freight wagons and stagecoaches were prominent in town, while later, agriculture and a booming lumber industry in the forests surrounding Yampa kept life buzzing.
The native Americans hunted and gathered food here for centuries before homesteaders reached the area in 1880. Yampa is the Northern Ute name for the Perideridia root, which was an important food source. Thanks to the Utes and their “Shining Mountains” there are still footsteps to follow.
At one time Yampa boasted 9 saloons, 2 banks, 2 churches and 2 real-estate offices promoting the town. In the early 1900’s a new rail line transported goods, cattle, lettuce, spinach, and lumber to market. Today agriculture still is the economic engine.
Apparently the area was originally named Egeria Park for the mythological water nymph Egeria who lived in a place of extreme beauty. When settlers arrived they named their town Yampa after the native plant. The population has remained fairly stable in recent years at slightly more than 400. Many buildings have been renovated and are in excellent condition.
Yampa is approximately 30 miles from Steamboat, a drive of 45 minutes or so.
To reach Yampa from Denver take I-70 west through the Eisenhower Tunnel to Silverthorne, exit 205, then go north on CO 9 Kremmling, then west on US 40 to the intersection with CO 134. Turn left and go over Gore Pass (CO 134) and at Toponas, take Colorado 131 north to Yampa.
Or, more directly, take I-70 west (through Vail) to Exit 157. Then take CO 131 North to Yampa.
Yampa’s Fourth of July celebration, a hard riding event featuring cowboy horse polo, riders and horses pursuing the ball down historic Moffat Avenue.
In Yampa there is plenty of opportunity to do your “own thing”—whether that’s quiet walks around the historic town or hiking, biking, horseback riding, cross country skiing, or snowshoeing on the trails in the surrounding forests.
In Yampa take time to visit the Egeria Museum, stop by the restored 1904 bank building. Then take a historic walking tour of the old opera house, the 1902 Antlers Hotel and Cafe, the Royal Hotel (home of Rufus the resident ghost) and the jail.
Some lodging sites in Yampa are:
Van Camp Cabins
199 Rich Ave
Oak Tree Inn
98 Moffat Ave
Royal Hotel & Bar
201 Moffat Ave