- The area is closed to all motor vehicles, except snowmobiles, from December 1st through June 30th.
- Fees for camping and day use are charged at self-service fee stations
Once serving as an important route between Steamboat Springs and Walden, Colo., Buffalo Pass now serves as a getaway to multiple campgrounds and fishing lakes. The 10,180-foot summit offers views of subalpine meadows intermittent with granite boulders along with picturesque vantage points of Steamboat Springs and the Yampa River Valley.
Buffalo Pass is located approximately 20 minutes outside of downtown Steamboat Springs.
The area offers a variety of activities year-round, though, access may become difficult in the winter season.
Buffalo Pass routinely receives some of the reputed deepest, driest and most consistent snowfall in the Rocky Mountain region. In the winter season, ski and snowboard enthusiasts alike flock to the area to have first dibs on world-class powder.
Multiple local companies are equipped with snowcats to provide nearly 10,000 acres of permitted snowcat skiing terrain on Buffalo Pass. The majority of companies are able to accommodate a wide range of abilities, from beginners to experts.
Cross Country Skiing
Trails are also available for other forms of outdoor winter recreation, such as cross country skiing. Nearby Soda Mountain provides endless opportunities for cross country skiing. Just north of Buffalo Pass, trails that are used for cross country skiing and snowshoeing also cater towards beginners and experts. The long trail takes travelers up Buffalo Pass and over to Soda Mountain and then down Soda to reconnect to Buffalo Pass. The trail is approximately 20 miles round trip and is revered as a classic loop of the area. However, there are many shorter opportunities for recreation in the area as well. The trail can be accessed from the Dry Lake Parking lot.
In the summer, however, Buffalo Pass becomes a trail junkie’s paradise offering multiple off-roading and bike trails. Yet, a majority of trails are usually blocked with snow until mid-July. Until the snow melts, trails can be used for hiking, destination photography and camping.
Round Mountain Lake via Continental Divide Trail
For a family-friendly hike from the Buffalo Pass trailhead, travelers should travel towards the Summit Lake Campground and head towards North Lake on the Continental Divide Trail. After continuing north for three miles on the trail, veer off on the Newcomb Creek Trail and hike approximately one mile or so to Round Mountain Lake. This trail option is 7 miles round trip.
- Directions: From US-40 in Steamboat Springs, drive north on Seventh Street, turn right onto Missouri Avenue. Follow the road for 2 miles onto County Road 38. Drive 11 miles to the summit of Buffalo Pass. Follow a curve to the right away from Summit Lake Campground and go right at the intersection towards Fish Creek Reservoir. You will see a parking lot on the left and the CDT climbs from the south end of the parking lot.
All terrain vehicles (ATVs) are allowed east of Forest Service (F.S.) road 60 and other marked forest roads.