Welcome to ColoradoTrue, a blog featuring all things Colorado, but mostly western Colorado (and occasionally eastern Utah).

I've got a busy schedule planned for August with a big trip to New Mexico and a date to drive the Alpine Loop. Looking forward to all of it. Weather has been kind of funky. Lots of cloud cover, some rain, and lower than usual temps, not that I'm complaining. There's really only a month left before vacations are over and school starts, so be sure to take the family (or yourself) into the great outdoors before it's too late. Until next month be happy, stay safe.

Posted August 1, 2022.


Still in the High Country. This month we travel north up US-550 from Silverton to Ouray, which is our Colorado Place of the Month.

You say you missed some of the past Colorado Places? No problem! All of the Colorado Places that I haved presented here are archived at Highways-Byways.com.

"....get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space..."

Edward Abbey

Upcoming Events

  • Crystal Gayle Avalon Theater Aug 3, 2022
  • Downtown Market on Main Downtown Grand Junction Aug 4,11,18,25, 2022
  • Lukas Nelson Avalon Theater Aug 4, 2022
  • Glade Park Movies under the Stars Glade Park Volunteer Fire Department Aug 5,12, 2022
  • Uncle Kracker Warehouse 25 Sixty Five Aug 5, 2022
  • Banda Machos Mesa Theater August 5, 2022
  • Farm and Ranch Market at Cross Orchards Cross Orchards Historic Site Aug 6,13,20,27, 2022
  • Halestorm and the Pretty Reckless Las Colonias Augt 7, 2022
  • Palisade Sunday Farmer's Market Town of Palisade Aug 7,14,21,28, 2022
  • Whiskey Myers Las Colonias Amphitheater Aug 11, 2022
  • Comedian Zach Rushing Mesa Theater Aug 12, 2022
  • Airment of Note Avalon Theater Aug 13, 2022
  • Koe Wetzel Las Colonias Aug 18, 2022
  • America Avalon Theater Aug 20, 2022
  • Mike Ryan Warehouse 25 Sixty Five Aug 20, 2022
  • Buckcherry Mesa Theater Aug 22, 2022
  • Jon Wolfe Warehouse 25 Sixty Five Aug 25, 2022
  • Centennial Band Evening under the Stars Las Colonias Park;Aug 27, 2022


Last month Rick and I drove the Camp Bird Road to the upper Camp Bird Mine. I've included some of the photos I took while bumming around there.

Ore Cart Rails to Mine Adit

Mine Entrance

Mine Detritus

Camp Bird Mine

Abandoned Building

Remediated Mine Dump


Hikes, camping trips, road trips, off-roading, and other adventures. This month we will be driving one of Colorado's lesser known scenic byways that features lots of magnificent scenery and interesting stops along the way.

Flat Tops Scenic Byway

For this adventure we will be driving the Flat Tops Scenic Byway. The byway is 82 miles long, running from Meeker (west end) to Yampa (east end). Most of Flat Tops Scenic Byway travels along Rio Blanco County Road 8 (CR-8), except when it crosses into Routt County and becomes Routt County Roads 132, 19, and 17. About half of the 82 miles are paved, the first 30 miles from Meeker and the last 10 miles to Yampa. The rest is well maintained gravel. We will be traveling from Meeker To Yampa for this road trip.
The included map is taken from a government brochure entitled "Flat Tops Trail Scenic and Historic Byway". The brochure is available at the Meeker Visitor Center, White River Museum, and park and forest service offices. It also contains a brief description of each of the numbered stops. The photos are of stops I made along the byway in July 2022. The #s in parentheses correspond to circled numbers on the map.


Flat Tops Scenic Byway

Flat Tops Scenic Byway

We will visit two of the Rio Blanco County historic school houses before continuing along the Flat Tops Scenic Byway. Turn onto CR-6 and look for the historic Coal Creek School House (distance of about 5.4 miles). After visiting Coal Creek continue east on CR-6 for another 4.2 miles to Little Beaver School. Return to CR-8 to continue traveling Flat Tops Scenic Byway.

Coal Creek School House

Coal Creek School House

Little Beaver School

Little Beaver School

Agency Park Overlook and Oak Ridge State Wildlife Area

The Agency Park Overlook (#2) is 5.2 miles from Meeker on CR-8. There is a kiosk with several panels on the history of the White River Indian Agency and relations between white settlers and the Ute Indians. For more information on this topic visit the White River Museum in Meeker.
Flat Tops Scenic Byway passes through the Oak Ridge State Wildlife Area (#4) starting some 17 miles from Meeker. It's 16.9 miles to the Sleepy Cat Unit and 20.2 miles to Lake Avery in the Lake Avery Unit of the State Wildlife Area. The area has picnic tables, campsites, restrooms, potable water, corrals, and lots of trails. There are ample opportunities for hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, camping, fishing, boating, or just plain relaxing.

White River Museum

Panorama from Agency Park Overlook

"Meeker's Perspective"

"The Ute Perspective"

"The Utes Must Go"

Sleepy Cat Unit
Oak Ridge State Wildlife Area

Fishing Info

Buford School and Lost Creek Guard Station

We will visit one more historic school before continuing on the scenic byway. Buford School is located on sort of a D-loop off CR-8. Easiest way to get there is to turn onto CR-17 (New Castle-Buford Road, FSR-245) 22 miles from Meeker, then 0.8 miles to Buford School on the left. Return to CR-8 after visiting the school.
Lost Creek Guard Station (#6) is 32 miles from Meeker along the byway. The guard station was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s and is still in use by Forest Service crews. There were several Forest Service vehicles parked there when last I drove the byway.

Buford School 1889

The original Buford School was built in 1889. When flooding damaged the original building in the early 1900s the school was rebuilt at the present location using materials recycled from the old school. The new building operated as a school until 1952. It is currently used as a community center.

Buford School

Lost Creek Guard Station

Lost Creek Guard Station

Rio Blanco CR-8 a little east of
Lost Creek Guard Station

Forest Service Road 205 to Trappers Lake

A visit to Trappers Lake (#8) is mandatory when driving the Flat Tops Scenic Byway. Turn south onto Forest Service Road 205 (Trappers Lake Road) and continue about 10 miles to the Outlet parking area. From there it's a short quarter mile hike to the lake. Flat Tops Wilderness provides the magnificent scenery surrounding Trappers Lake. Trappers Lake is the headwater for the north fork of the White River.

Himes Peak Campground

Himes Peak Campground is located about six miles from the FR-205 turnoff and is named for the very prominent Himes Peak. It's a primitive campground with 11 campsites and vault toilet. The hillsides to the right above the north fork of the White River are littered with tree trunks from an old wildfire blowdown (possibly the 1898 forest fire?).

Himes Peak

Himes Peak

Wildfire Blowdown

Lake of the Woods

Stephanie on Trail to Trappers Lake

Charlie on Trail to Trappers Lake

Trappers Lake and Amphitheater Peak (center)

Trappers Lake Outlet

Trappers Lake Lodge

Trappers Lake Lodge is located right next to the Outlet parking area, so I took a quick look around. Thought it was pretty neat so I included some photos even though it's not officially part of the byway tour. There are lots of nice lodges along the Flat Tops Scenic Byway and I'm making no endorsements here, but if anyone wants more information on Trappers Lake Lodge I've included a link to their website.

Trappers Lake Lodge

Trappers Lake Lodge

The Lodge

General Store

Store Interior

Half Way - Junction CR-8 and FSR-205

Ripple Creek Overlook

Ripple Creek Overlook (#9) is located 44.7 miles from Meeker on CR-8. This is a great place to stop for lunch. There are picnic tables tucked under the shade of tall pines and a vault toilet if you really have to go. And, the views are outstanding.

Ripple Creek Overlook

Panorama from Ripple Creek Overlook

What's in the Panorma


Wildflowers (lavender - Featherleaf Fleabane, red - Indian Paintbrush , yellow - don't know)

Ripple Creek Pass to Yampa

It's about 53 miles from Meeker to Ripple Creek Pass (#10), the first of two passes Flat Tops Scenic Byway will cross on its way to Yampa. Ripple Creek Pass at 10,360 feet is the higher of the two, the other being Dunckley Pass at 9,764 ft. Ripple Creek Pass is located on the border between Rio Blanco and Routt Counties, and also marks the boundry between White River and Routt National Forests. At this point the byway becomes Routt County Road 132.
Pyramid Guard Station (#12) is the second guard station encountered on the Flat Tops Scenic Byway. It was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1934.
The byway becomes curvy with switchbacks on both sides of Dunckley Pass. Dunckley Pass is 62.4 miles from Meeker and 19.6 miles from Yampa. Be sure to stop at the Dunckley Pass Overlook (#13) to take in the breathtaking views. Pyramid Peak (11,532 ft) is the highlight of the view.

West side of Ripple Creek Pass

East side of Ripple Creek Pass

Pair of marmots

Pyramid Guard Station

Pyramid Guard Station

Dunckley Pass elev 9764 ft

Panorama from Dunckley Pass Overlook

View from Dunckley Pass Overlook
Pyramid Peak center right


Finally we arrive in Yampa (#17), which bills itself as the Gateway to the Flat Tops. Yampa began as a hunting camp in the 1880s. Later, agriculture and a robust lumber industry kept Yampa going. The arrival of the Denver, Northwestern and Pacific Railroad in 1908 also helped a lot. Today, Yampa is a quiet town with a population of around 500. Yampa holds kind of a unique event each Fourth of July - cowboy horse polo where riders and horses chase a polo ball up and down Moffat Avenue.

Welcome to Yampa

Montgomery's - the Walmart of Yampa

Antlers Cafe & Bar

Very Nice Victorian House

Vintage Jail

Town Hall

First Baptist Church

View south along Main Street

Yampa Library

Buildings along Moffat Avenue

This concludes our drive of the Flat Tops Scenic Byway. The only thing left to do is return to our starting point in Meeker. There are two options. Either drive the scenic byway in reverse (3-4 hours), or take CO-131 to Steamboat Springs, US-40 west to Craig, then CO-13 south to Meeker (2 hours).

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