Ripple Creek Pass

10,343 FEET
(3,153 M)
Ripple Creek Pass

Ripple Creek Pass is in the White River National Forest in Colorado. Ripple Creek Pass is on the Flat Tops Trail Scenic Byway between Yampa and Meeker. The road is called County Road 8 and is not plowed in winter, leading to closures.

Suggested Route (Gravel) 34.3 miles

Begin in Yampa and drive west on CR 17
Continue driving on CR 8 crossing over Dunckley Pass--mile 19.2
Drive to the intersection CR 8 and CR 19 (Bunker Creek)--mile 26.4
At this intersection begin your bike ride on gravel--mile 0
Continue on CR 8 to Ripple Creek Summit--mile 10.2
Follow CR 8 and finish in Buford--mile 34.3


Begin your ride from the Yampa side of Ripple Creek Pass leading to Meeker. Lakes, mountains, and meadows surround the Pass sitting just north of the Flat Tops Wilderness. You will follow river valleys between the small town of Buford to Meeker. The road is gravel and washboard sections are common. The fall aspen colors will take your breath away.


Yampa, 36.9 miles to the east
Meeker, 46.1 miles to the west
Buford, 24.1 miles to the southwest


Make a detour off the byway at Forest Road 205. About eight miles later, you will arrive at the stunning Trappers Lake, the birthplace of the wilderness movement.


In 1919, Arthur Carhart was surveying the area for a cabin resort development. During a visit to Trappers Lake near Ripple Creek Pass, he decided the land should be preserved instead. Carhart was a U.S. Forest Service official, writer and conservationist who inspired wilderness protection in the United States. He became a nationally recognized authority on conservation practices.


Thus, safekeeping of the wilderness was born. Ripple Creek Pass and surrounding areas include 110 trout-laden lakes and ponds that dot the country below numerous flat-topped cliffs. Approximately half of the 100 miles of streams crisscrossing the wilderness serve as habitats for trout, making this place an angler’s dreamland.


The Flat Tops Wilderness ridges are defined by sharp breaks in the basalt lava flows of the high White River Plateau. Above these cliffs, there are vast areas of subalpine meadows and alpine tundra. It is the second largest wilderness in Colorado, Weminuche Wilderness being the largest.