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Make a day of it

Alternate activities for those skipping the hunt

Cedar Mountain, on the west side of Craig, is a great place to hike and see wildlife.
Courtesy Photo

Family members of hunters can find their own adventures if they do not feel the call of the hunt.

In Moffat County, nearly 2 million acres of public land offer opportunities for hunters and non-hunters. For those who would rather “hunt” with their cameras, Sand Wash Basin is home to the largest wild horse herd in Colorado as well as foxes, rabbits and bobcats.

Viewing opportunities are abundant for sage grouse, eagles, hawks, deer, antelope and elk. For those with a bigger budget and more spare time, multiple-day horseback riding tours and wild-horse photo safaris can be arranged.

“Talk to the Division of Wildlife or go to California Park outside of Hayden,” said Christina Currie, executive director of the Craig Chamber of Commerce. “There are some very active breeding grounds that are viewable from the road.”

The Craig Chamber of Commerce also recommends visits to area sites such as Elkhead Reservoir, Irish Canyon, Dinosaur National Monument, Cedar Mountain and Black Mountain.

The Wyman Living History Museum is two miles east of Craig, on the south side of Highway 40 that features history items that one man has been collecting all of his life.

“It’s an amazing collection,” Currie said. “It has an original country store that is set up with an actual cash register and the original goods you would have seen. He has tins of tobacco, five-pound bags of sugar and an 80-year-old mousetrap – the mechanics of it are awesome.”

Call the Craig Chamber of Commerce at 824-5689 or visit for more information on watchable wildlife and recreation opportunities.

“What everyone should do the minute they get to town is stop by the visitor center,” Currie said. “We serve chili for lunch and dinner the days before the hunting season starts, and you can figure out all the places to go for whatever you want to do.”

For days in Moffat County when the weather is bad, hunters and their wives might want to head indoors. One good option is a visit to the Museum of Northwest Colorado, 590 Yampa Ave., in Craig. Visitors to the museum will get to see the Cowboy and Gunfighter Collection, an old schoolhouse exhibit, a railroad exhibit and an exhibit about grain threshing in the 1920s. The museum is also home to the largest stretched-canvas oil painting in Northwest Colorado, painted by Frances Reusth of Craig in 1895.

The museum also has a bookstore and gift shop. Admission is free.

For those looking to learn more about the flora and fauna of Northwest Colorado, Yampatika, a nonprofit environmental education organization, is one of the first places to turn for guided hikes and nature tours.

Yampatika is in the U.S. Forest Service building on Weiss Drive in Steamboat Springs. The organization provides several programs each month, combined with a regular schedule of daily children’s programs and interpretive hikes.

Most programs cost $10 to $50, often including lunch. All are family-oriented.

On Aug. 19 and 20, Yampatika is offering “Hunting the Wild Mushroom,” which includes a mandatory introductory class, field identification and possibly cooking up some mushroom findings. The cost is $50 a person, and the group size is limited to 18.

On Sept. 13, “Arranging with Nature” is from 5:30 to 8 p.m. The event involves collecting flowers in the field and then creating beautiful dried arrangements with Cathy Vogelaar, the owner of Steamboat Floral and Gifts. The cost is $30 per person, and the class includes drinks and appetizers.

On Sept. 14, Angie KenCairn will lead “Hiking the Historic Trails of North Routt,” from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. You will have the opportunity to explore the historic trail and corridors in the Hahn’s Peak area, where you will learn about the lives and backgrounds of the local people and communities. The cost is $25 per person, and the group size is limited to 12 people.

On Sept. 23, the Windy Ridge Archaeological Hike is from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Windy Ridge quarry dates back at least 8,000 years, and archaeologist Angie KenCairn will lead a five-mile, round-trip hike that will include views of Rabbit Ears and east to the Front Range. The cost is $25 a person, participants must be 12 years or older, and the group size is limited to 12 people.

On Oct. 6, the “Unmask Your Colorado Critter” Fundraiser will take place in Olympian Hall at Howelsen Hill. Masks created by local schools and artists will be on display and available for purchase. Tickets cost $10.

On Oct. 13, the “Celebrate Autumn” Night Hike and Dinner is from 6 to 9 p.m. Appetizers and drinks will be served at the Humble Ranch before walking down to the Yampa River for an evening of enjoying the stars and night surprises. Attendees will then head back to the ranch to enjoy dinner and dessert. The cost is $40 a person, and the group size is limited to 18 people.

On Oct. 21, the workshop, “Feeding our Feathered Friends” is from 10 a.m. to noon. This family affair teaches the best techniques to attract birds to your yard and involves hands-on activities for the children to learn about birds. The cost is $5 per adult and $1 per child.

Those whose needs are not met by the scheduled events may have the opportunity to arrange a custom hike with a naturalist for $10 an hour per person. You must have a minimum of four people and a maximum of eight in your party. Yampatika is not an outfitting service, however, and custom trips can be arranged only if staff has time.

Anyone interested in Yampatika can call 871-9151 or visit

Although Yampatika has a full and diverse schedule of activities, there are plenty of other recreational opportunities in the area.

The Yampa Valley Golf Course offers an 18-hole course along the Yampa River on 240 acres in Craig. The golf course’s official season ends Oct. 31 or when the first snow falls.

Golf is also available at Steamboat Golf Club and Haymaker Golf Course. Private courses include Catamount Ranch and Club and the Sheraton Golf Course.

The Tread of Pioneers Museum, at Eighth and Oak streets in Steamboat Springs, offers a variety of exhibits to learn about the history of Steamboat Springs and the Yampa Valley.

You can tour their newest exhibits titled “Back in Business: How Steamboat Used to Shop,” and “Foundations of Steamboat: The Fetcher Family,” which will open in September. This exhibit will feature local families who have made significant contributions to the culture of history of the Yampa Valley. Admission to the museum is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and $1 for children 12 and younger. Routt County residents get in free with an I.D.

The museum’s 12th annual Festival of Trees will take place from Nov. 11 to 20 at the museum and will feature 26 decorated trees created by local businesses and nonprofits. Public viewing is from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, except from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 20. Complimentary refreshments are served daily.

Hunting season falls during Steamboat’s mud season, meaning the Steamboat Ski Area gondola is closed. But there is still plenty to do. Shopping downtown and on the mountain, visiting the Strawberry Park Hot Springs, hot air ballooning, hiking and biking are all great options. The Steamboat Springs Health and Recreation Center on Lincoln Avenue features hot and cold pools and a heated water slide.

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