Why camp here? We camped here because it was the closest we could get to Steamboat Springs on one of the busiest weekends of summer. Our daughter was playing in the Steamboat Doubles volleyball tournament, and the Steamboat Springs Hot Air Balloon Rodeo and Art in the Park were also going on.
Although this wasn’t our first choice since it’s 45 minutes west of town, the Yampa River State Park Headquarters Campground is a nice option. Our experience in Colorado State Parks has been very positive over the years, and that proved to be true for this campground as well. Lots of upsides, but a couple of downsides to point out as well: mosquitoes and a train that runs regularly right next to the park. We got used to the train pretty quickly, but the skeeters were an issue. Our site was located near some ponds, so the sites closer to the river might be a better option.
Other amenities: The campground is fairly new, so everything is in great shape. The sites are big and level, with picnic tables, fire rings and tent pads. Most have metal canopies over the picnic tables. There’s a great walking path that loops the campground and takes you down to the Yampa River, along with group camp and picnic sites, a playground and sand volleyball court.
There are 50 sites, including 35 electric (50-amp) RV sites, 10 tent sites and five group sites. The visitor center and shower facilities are nice and include a laundry room with a change machine. There are restrooms and water spigots located throughout the park.
Connectivity: No wifi, but excellent coverage with AT&T.
Fun fact: Yampa River State Park, located in the beautiful Yampa Valley west of Steamboat Springs, is actually three parks in one. The headquarters on the Yampa River near Hayden provides camping, a visitor center and nature trail. A 134-mile stretch of the Yampa River is the heart of Yampa River State Park. It has 13 access points stretching from Hayden to the Dinosaur National Monument near the Utah border. The 900-acre Elkhead Reservoir is the third major component of the Yampa River State Park system; it attracts boaters, anglers, hikers and anyone who enjoys the water and wildlife.
Would we camp here again? Sure, if we need to be in the area. I probably wouldn’t plan a trip around the park on its own. A lot of fishermen do, though, so there must be a lot of good catches in the river and reservoir.
What’s nearby? The cities of Craig and Steamboat Springs, which both offer lots of options for shopping, restaurants and recreation. Dinosaur National Monument should be on the must-visit list for its dinosaur remains, fossils and petroglyphs, along with mountains, deserts and rivers. Hayden is the closest town, and there are several shops and restaurants there. It’s the site of the annual Routt County RedneX Games. We haven’t been able to attend this event because the weekend is always so packed with volleyball, but with mud surfing, a lawn-mowing triathlon, blind tractor driving and RedneX steeplechase, I think this might just get added to my bucket list!
Getting there: The Headquarters Campground is located on Highway 40 between the cities of Craig and Hayden, 27 miles west of Steamboat Springs.
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