The Flat Top Byway is one of the most a beautiful drives in Western Colorado. Flat Tops Byway stretches from Meeker, Colorado following the White River Valley and then over Ripple Creek Pass at the 10,343 feet and down the eastern side to Yampa., Colorado. You will find that this a pleasant drive. Meeker and Yampa, have changed very little in the last 100 years they still have the feel and charm of the west. I am sure you will feel the charm also.
The Byway is miles of lush green forest, wilderness, and ranchland and just plain Colorado beauty. Although the route is well maintained only half of the 82 miles is paved. But you should not have any problems in an ordinary passenger car. I have never seen this route crowded. Traffic is usual few and far between.
The pristine White River National Forest is home to the largest indigenous herd of elk in the world. It is estimate at 65,000 animals. In the fall this area is a bee hive of hunting activity. Teddy Roosevelt hunted elk deer and bear here, while he was President.
Meeker is home of the Meeker Massacre of 1879 when the Ute Indian revolted one afternoon a killed the Indian agent who had their horse race track plowed up for a garden. The Indian agents were a famous war correspondent, columnist, and founder of the town of Greeley.
The White River Museum in Meeker tells the complete story. The five room museum is housed in the original officer’s quarters. The Museum is worth a stop.
The Flat Top Byway cuts thought the center of White River National Forest and the Flat Tops Wilderness Area which includes Trapper’s Lake. The lake is a beautiful side trip and well worth the time.
This drive another place where you can see true wilderness thought the windshield of you car as the road divides the wilderness area.
The western part of the Flat Top Byway is open all year round. From Buford to Yampa is closed in the winter except for snowmobiles. It very popular for snowmobiling and cross-country skiing.
The forest offers fishing along the White River, camping and hiking, as well as horseback riding in the various ranches. Be sure to bring your camera, the area is a photographer’s dream. There is plenty of beautiful scenery for you to enjoy.
There are eleven Forest Service Campgrounds along these routes. But you can primitive camp anywhere is the national forest free. From Meeker, head two miles west on Highway 13, turn right onto Country Road 8, and follow the signs.
The trip, without stopping, will take about 2 hours to drive. I have never been able drive it without stopping and enjoying the scenic beauty.