Steamboat Lake Outpost

Stick to Trails, and other Mud-Season Leave no Trace Reminders

The ground is finally starting to show through, and after months of needing skis or snowshoes or sleds to get places, we are ready to go!

But while we might be ready to hit the trail this month, often the trail isn’t as ready as we are. Springtime in the mountains inevitably means trudging through some mud on the way to your favorite fishing spot. And while the temptation to walk around the mud is real, it can have a detrimental impact on the plants and wildlife that make their homes on the side of the trail.

So as we bask in this early season eagerness over here, it’s a good time to review some ways to “Do Colorado Right.” Here at The Outpost, we’ve partnered with the Care for Colorado Coalition, a committee convened by the Colorado Tourism Department to promote safe and sustainable use of the state’s public lands and most treasured sites.



Without proper education, recreating in the mountains can go from awesome to intimidating to downright scary just about as fast as the weather can change. We’ve heard a lot of stories of things gone wrong with both motorized and non-motorized activities. If you are new to the outdoors, consider doing a tour with us as an introduction to horseback riding, UTVs or fishing. We’re a staff of passionate adventurers, so stop into the guide room for local tips (wildlife activity, best time to do certain hikes, trail conditions) or into the store to grab last minute items before you head out. (Don’t neglect the first aid kit! And there might be a time when you really appreciate having that bear spray!)


In addition to staying on trail while hiking, it’s important to drive and camp in designated areas as well. We are lucky to have 100+ miles of forest service roads in our backyard, perfect for off-roading! You can drive up to Wyoming, or up and over Sand Mountain towards Bear’s Ears. But a lot of these trails don’t open up until June 15th. It’s important to respect road closures. Riding too early can lead to big ruts in the road that make it hard for other folks to navigate. There is dispersed camping in Routt National Forest, but there are also a lot of other sweet camping spots already created. If this is your first time in the area in the summer, stop in so we can point you in the right direction!


You can see many of Colorado’s 2,000 wildflower species while exploring North Routt, including dwarf larkspur, lupine, glacier lilies, columbines, mule’s ears, and many more. But be sure to take a photo and not a flower! It’s also recommended that you clean your hiking boots, tires, boats etc. before bringing them up here, so that you don’t inadvertently spread invasive species not native to our ecosystem.


This time of year the snow melts and reveals wrappers, cans and other bits of garbage that got packed into the snow during the season. Pack out what you pack in. And just because a banana peel composts doesn’t mean it’s okay to leave it behind in the woods! Fruits and other “natural” foods aren’t native to North Routt.


We have been blessed to have a couple of years of good moisture. But even on a good moisture year by the middle of summer, fire danger is high. In 2021, we had a big forest fire in the neighborhood that burned 7,500 acres. Nothing ruins summer quite like a wildfire. Should any fire bans go into effect, we’ll have all the information up at the front desk. We also advise extreme caution when smoking.


It’s not unusual to come across a seemingly abandoned fawn this time of year. But it’s important not to project our feelings and perceptions onto mother nature. What looks like an abandoned baby deer is actually a perfectly fine baby deer, whose mother is nearby securing food. Not interfering is the best thing we can do for animal welfare.

Many of our trails run along creeks where there are a lot of willows coming into full bloom–and willows are the primary sustenance for moose! It’s important to make some noise and be aware as you travel through these spaces. Leave No Trace advises the thumb rule for viewing wildlife–if you extend your arm from your body, hold out your thumb, close your eye and can’t cover the animal with your thumb, then you’re too close.


In the summer horses, hikers, UTVs, dirt bikes and mountain bikers are all on our trail system. Practice good trail etiquette (horses always have the right of way, and yield to the hiker/biker coming uphill.) Also, be cognizant of loud engines around horses. We also share our trails with grazing sheep and their protective watchdogs. Make sure to have dogs on a leash in these areas.

Planning a Trip to Hahn’s Peak?

If you are planning to visit us this summer, be sure to check out the state park and national forest websites for up-to-date recreation information. You can also email us at or call us at 970-879-4404 with any questions that come up during your trip planning. We look forward to seeing you soon!

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