Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests

#2 in Best Things To Do in Steamboat Springs
Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests picture
Kristine Smith/Getty Images

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Hiking, Recreation, Sightseeing, Free Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.8scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests, often called the "Land of Many Uses," encompasses more than 2 million acres in northwestern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming, but the most visited areas are about 3 miles east of Steamboat Springs. The dirt road that travels through the forest and connects the city with Walden, Colorado, which is known as Buffalo Pass (or Buffs Pass), offers basic campsites, as well as snowmobiling, snowshoeing and backcountry skiing trails. The popular hiking paths to Fish Creek Falls also go through the forest, and Rabbit Ears Pass – named for the ear-like buttes visible from the pass – offers bike, hiking and four-wheel drive trails.

Overall, past visitors were impressed with the forest's well-maintained roads, especially in the winter, and loved their scenery and hiking trails. For those who plan on snowmobiling, travelers recommend checking out the east side of Rabbit Ears Pass, while the west side is ideal for skiing and snowshoeing. To avoid getting lost while exploring this massive protected area, pick up trail maps at the U.S. Forest Service's visitors center. It can be found approximately 3 miles south of downtown Steamboat Springs and less than 2 miles southwest of Steamboat Ski Resort.

Although Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests is free to visit 24 hours a day, access fees do apply for some of its facilities. Expect to pay $5 to park at most trails, picnic areas and boat launches. To hunt or fish, travelers must purchase a license on the Colorado Parks & Wildlife website. Campsites, meanwhile, are available on a first-come, first-served basis or can be reserved on Recreation.gov's Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests page. Daily fees range from $5 to $12 per night, depending on the campground. Learn more about Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests by visiting the U.S. Forest Service's website.

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