Yampa River Rafting
The Yampa River is a tributary of the Green River, approximately 250 mi (402 km) long, in the U.S. state of Colorado. It rises in the Flat Tops in northwestern Colorado, in the Routt National Forest in southeastern Garfield County, and flows northeast, past Yampa, and north to Steamboat Springs, where it turns abruptly west. It then receives its chief tributary, the Elk River, near the small town of Milner. It continues west in the plateau region along the north side of the Williams Fork Mountains, past the town of Craig. It is joined by the Little Snake River in Moffat County, just east of Dinosaur National Monument. Inside Dinosaur National Monument, it joins the Green near the border with Utah.
The Yampa forms a noticeably wide, shallow stream throughout much of its course. The lower half of the Yampa is navigable by small craft. However the meandering, shallow nature of the river can render the river unnavigable during late summer in low water years.
The Yampa is one of the finest trophy fisheries in the United States for Northern Pike and Smallmouth Bass. However the US Fish and Wildlife along with the Colorado Division Of Wildlife are removing and killing bass and pike, throwing them on the banks to rot by the hundreds. This is because the river used to be home to endangered but undesirable species of fish and sportfish are blamed, largely unfairly, for contributing to the demise of native species. These actions are ongoing despite strong public opposition.
Yampa is the last free-flowing river in the Colorado River drainage system. While the majority of a Yampa river rafting trip is fairly mild, the canyon is majestic with its sheer walls looming hundreds of feet above the river. Natural interaction between microorganisms, the limestone and sandstone rock creates weeping black trails down the canyon's smooth walls, eliciting a tiger stripe effect which has become a hallmark of the Yampa canyon. The Yampa river flows through the Dinosaur Nation Monument for the majority of its length.