Rocky Mountain Region Viewing Area

LOCATION and PHOTOS

A moose in a field of willows.
A moose in a field of willows. Photo by Marti Aitken.

Buck and rail fence with wildflowers found along Lynx Pass.
Buck and rail fence with wildflowers found along Lynx Pass. Photo by Michelle Myers.

Wildflowers found along Lynx Pass.
Wildflowers found along Lynx Pass. Photo by Michelle Myers.

Boulders and wildflowers.
Boulders and wildflowers. Photo by Michelle Myers.

Lynx Pass

Forest: Routt National Forest

District: Yampa Ranger District

Description: Lynx Pass (National Forest System Road (NFSR) 270) is a scenic stretch of road that is approximately 10 miles long within the Parks Range of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. This road has an elevation range from 7,200 to 8,720 feet. The habitat varies from lodgepole pine, quaking aspen, and subalpine fir forests with grasslands and wetlands intermixed. Following the northern half of the road, Morrison Creek has a very diverse ecosystem worth exploring. Wildlife sightings are common and include moose, mule deer, bear, and songbirds. Recreationally, this road accesses the Lynx Pass Campground, which has running water, restrooms, and campsites with a daily fee. Additionally, the ATV and motorcycle accessible Muddy Slide Trail can be found at two locations along this scenic byway. If hiking or mountain biking is a better option, the Tepee Creek Trail can be found within a short walking distance from the Lynx Pass Camp Ground.

Viewing Information: Lynx Pass is a great place to view wildflowers as early as May, but flowering typically reaches its peak in June and July. Depending on the season, wildflowers that may be encountered include: common yarrow (Achillea millefolium), rosey pussytoes (Antennaria rosea), heartleaf arnica (Arnica cordifolia), harebell (Campanula rotundifolia), paintbrush (Castilleja occidentalis), fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium), buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum), strawberry (Fragaria virginiana), geranium (Geranium species), scarlet gilia (Ipomopsis aggregata), bluebells (Mertensia ciliata), elephanthead (Pedicularis groenlandica), beardtongue (Penstemon species), rose (Rosa woodsii), red elderberry (Sambucus racemosa), groundsel (Senecio serra), arctic gentian (Gentiana algida), and American vetch (Vicia americana).

Safety Information: As with most high elevation areas, be aware of rapidly changing weather conditions. Lightning storms often form in early afternoon, so be prepared for a quick departure, if necessary. Sunscreen is a good idea in the thin air at high elevation. The elevation itself can cause discomfort in some people. Be cautious of hazard trees on and outside of the road corridor. Dead trees can and do fall without warning and with little or no help from the wind. Everyone who visits the national forest needs to be very aware of their surroundings. More and more trees are expected to fall over the next several years. In addition, as always, be aware of other vehicles on the road and in parking areas. For current safety information go to the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests' Outdoor Safety & Ethics web page.

Directions: Lynx Pass is located on Forest Service Road 270 between the towns of Yampa and Kremmling, Colorado. It can be accessed on its northern end via County Road 16 from Stagecoach State Park, and from the southern end via State Highway 134. State Highway 134 can be accessed from either Interstate 40 (Kremmling) or County Road 6 (Yampa).

Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service, Routt National Forest; Yampa Ranger District Office, (970) 638-4516.

Closest Town: Yampa, Colorado.

For More Information: Routt National Forest maps are available from any district office for a small fee. Most offices also carry 7.5 min USGS Topo maps which cover broad areas accurately. Call the HPBE Ranger District (970-870-2299), Parks Ranger District (970-723-2700), or Yampa Ranger District (970-638-4516) for more information.