Respecting the Yampa and Those Who Use It.

Treasured by the people of Steamboat, the pristine Yampa River flows right through the heart of downtown. When the snow melts, Steamboat’s main outdoor activities transforms from winter sports, to river recreation. One of the most free-flowing rivers in the Colorado River system, the Yampa boasts world class fishing and has the ideal waters for tubers, kayakers and paddle boarders alike.The picturesque core trail adjacent to the banks offers even more outdoor adventure for hikers, cyclists and dog walkers. As an irreplaceable part of Steamboat’s identity, there are a few simple rules and acts of courtesy all river users should adhere too in order to preserve the unspoiled natural beauty of the Yampa.

The rules listed below are linked to pages with more information, click them to learn more.

The rules listed above are basic rules everyone using the Yampa should abide by. However, the different types of river-based activities requires one to observe other sets of rules particular to that activity, in addition to the basic rules.

Strongly Suggested Safety Tips

  • Keep a close eye on children. The Yampa river can have strong currents especially in the spring from snow melt. It’s easy to lose track of kids, but one moment of no supervision is all it takes for a child to slip into the Yampa and get swept away.
  • It’s strongly recommended to tube, kayak or paddle board in groups, but if you do go alone make sure you tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to be back.
  • Avoid standing in flowing water. Even if the water is shallow, you can get your foot stuck between 2 rocks and the current can pull you under.
  • Wear sunscreen and sun glasses. UV rays can reflect off the surface of the water, causing more exposure and greater chances of sunburn.
  • Regardless of what activity you’re using the river for, if you need certain equipment you should buy or rent top quality equipment from one of Steamboat’s outfitters or another reputable dealer. Poor quality equipment easily breaks and becomes litter in the Yampa, and your gear breaking halfway through can put a damper on a great day.
  • Wear a retainer strap on your sunglasses to avoid losing them.
  • River closures: Under certain circumstances such as low water levels, the Yampa River might be closed for the protection of the river’s ecosystem. This closure is only enforced on commercial outfitters (outfitter agencies are prohibited from leading river tours or renting out gear during this time). Even though river restrictions only apply to commercial outfitters, individuals are expected to cease river use as well. For instance, tubing or kayaking during low water levels causes the bottom of the tube/kayak to scrape across the river bed where fish lay their eggs. Running over a collection of these eggs can kill hundreds of unborn fish. Aside from environmental damage, Steamboat locals consider river use during a closure to be highly disrespectful. We recommend the Old Town Hot Springs or Burgess Creek Recreation Area for your source of water based entertainment during river closures.