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​The Yampa River basin  in Western Colorado is rich in Native American and geologic history. It was not explored by people with logging or mining interests until the late 19th century.  The indigenous people resided here for the abundance of wildlife and the ability to grow crops. A diverse climate enabled movement into regions that allowed access to food and amenable weather.

Yampa River State Park was developed in 1997 and was a product of the Yampa River Legacy Project. 

One Common Goal

This project brought together people with varied interests with one common goal: to conserve the unique natural areas and agricultural lands along the Yampa River while managing recreation and protecting biologically sensitive features and private property.

Elkhead Reservoir was developed 25 years prior to Colorado State Parks’ management and did not become part of the State Park system until the late 1990s. A very unique and picturesque place, Elkhead is an oasis in the high desert. Enlargement of the dam in 2006 has made big changes for the reservoir property. A bigger storage area for water as well as new recreational facilities makes Elkhead a hidden secret in the Northwest.