Parks and Recreation Areas
The blushing red-rock cliffs of the Colorado National Monument are easily accessible by winding roads that open to miles of hiking trails. Dinosaur National Monument holds a stunning cache of fossils as well as spectacular scenery aboveground for family-friendly hiking.
Browns Park Wildlife Refuge. A bird-watcher's destination with species from ducks to bald eagles, the remote Browns Park Wildlife Refuge northwest of Maybell can be navigated by car or horseback, or on foot. www.fws.gov/brownspark.
Flat Tops Wilderness. This alpine mesa has good stream and lake fishing and excellent deer and elk hunting. It's southwest of Steamboat Springs. www.fs.fed.us/r2/whiteriver.
Grand Mesa National Forest. This forest shimmers with peaceful alpine lakes and great fishing and hiking in summer, along with trails for snowmobiling in winter. www.fs.usda.gov/gmug.
Medicine Bow/Routt National Forests. Steamboat Springs is surrounded by the Medicine Bow/Routt National Forests, which stretch across northern Colorado and into southern Wyoming, embracing more than half a dozen mountain ranges, including the Gore, Flat Tops, Park, Medicine Bow, Sierra Madre, and Laramie. www.fs.usda.gov/mbr.
Vega State Park. At 8,000 feet on the edge of Grand Mesa, Vega State Park provides an escape from the heat of lower elevations, along with waterskiing, boating, and all-terrain-vehicle access. The massive reservoir at the heart of Rifle Gap State Park is open to all water sports (even scuba diving), and is flanked by an 18-hole golf course. A rare sight and the only known case in Colorado, three waterfalls in a row thunder onto a lush landscape in Rifle Falls State Park. Stagecoach State Park, south of Steamboat Springs, has a marina and good fishing. Yampa River State Park, west of Steamboat Springs, has water sports and access to the Yampa River. Steamboat Lake State Park has fine boating and fishing in summer and miles of snowmobiling and cross-country skiing trails in winter. The best fishing is along the Yampa River. www.parks.state.co.us.