Like a bear buried in snow during the winter, summertime is when South Routt comes out to play.
This summer is a special one in Yampa, south of Oak Creek on Colorado Highway 131, because the town is celebrating its 100th birthday. Centennials are everywhere in Routt County these days the town of Hayden celebrates reaching the century mark this year, and Oak Creek will do the same next year.
Yampa: celebrating the past, looking to the future
Known as the "Gateway to the Flat Tops," Yampa is a great stopover for hikers, campers, and hunters headed to the Flat Tops Wilderness Area. The main avenue through downtown is still unpaved and gives a glimpse of the past century.
Yampa Town Board member Arlene Porteus listed the following highlights of summer events in Yampa:
- June 10: Cattlewomen's and Cattleman's "Wing-Ding Barbecue," with a concert by popular band "In Flight" at South Routt Elementary School, a Fire Department Open House with fire truck rides and an "Images of Yampa" art show. June 10 festivities also include a train visit with passenger cars, locomotives and a Union Pacific mini-train (on wheels) that will give people rides around town. "That's a really big event," Porteus said.
- July 1: The Yampa Union High School all-school reunion. Porteus said anyone who has ever gone to school at the Yampa school is welcome to attend. South Routt Elementary School used to be a high school.
- July 3: "My Hometown" picnic and barbecue with a concert put on by the Yampa Egeria Historical Society.
- July 4: Parade, barbecue and live "horse polo" played on Main Street with a volleyball and brooms. "The Fourth of July is always a huge holiday in Yampa," Porteus said. "This year we'll have better-than-ever fireworks to celebrate the centennial."
- August 12: "Lettuce celebrate" luncheon, garden party and walking tour of Yampa, to honor the town's agricultural heritage, especially the production of lettuce and spinach.
The Yampa Egeria Museum lets visitors get a better look at the past, with a variety of displays that detail life a hundred years ago. Penny's Diner offers 24-hour service the only spot in the county that's open all day and night and nearby Montgomery's General Merchandise gives visitors a chance to load up on supplies they need.
Oak Creek: A small town with a big heart
A town of less than 900 people, Oak Creek offers some of the best dining opportunities in Northwest Colorado. Its restaurants offer Chinese, American and Italian fare, tasty enough to draw visitors from across the state. Oak Creek has a vibrant Main Street with several fun stores such as The Mugshot coffee shop and the Brand Spankin' Used secondhand store in Oak Creek Plaza.
Visitors should be sure to stop by Bucket Park off of Main Street, which displays old mining equipment used in Oak Creek's mining boom days.
There are various hiking and fishing opportunities in the area. Don't miss the following summer events, which draw large crowds of locals for a fun afternoon.
- June 10: The Soap Box Derby in Oak Creek is an event that's sure to be an eye-opener, as youth from across Routt County and beyond race handmade cars down Main Street. Youth in Motion will have booths set up along Main Street giving positive reinforcement for youth activities.
- June 24: The "Taste of South Routt" restaurant festival at Decker Park near Main Street, featuring samples from local restaurants for which Oak Creek is famous. There are games and vendor booths set up all afternoon.
- Sept. 1 through 4 is Oak Creek's Labor Day extravaganza, a huge weekend tradition in Oak Creek that offers non-stop activities including a parade, concerts, food and vendor booths. "We close down Main Street and have live music, a parade, skydivers, a comedy show, egg tosses and every kind of race you can imagine three-legged, mother-daughter, sack races and more," recently re-elected Town Mayor Kathy "Cargo" Rodeman said. This year marks the 97th consecutive Labor Day Celebration in Oak Creek.
- The Oak Creek Concert Series features various concerts throughout the summer in downtown Oak Creek. Call the town office at 736-2422 for show times and information.
This will be the first summer in Oak Creek for the new Paradigm Theater, an intimate Main Street multi-purpose venue that opened this winter. Theater owner and performer extraordinaire Barbi Bonfiglio gave the following list of shows and events. Call the theater at 846-5137 for show times and prices, and also to book special events and parties.
- May 12-13: A series of readings, including poetry and stories, having to do with children and motherhood. An art exhibit and performances, also with the mother-and-child theme, will accompany the readings.
- May 19-20: Readings about war and its consequences. Routt County locals will read and discuss numerous works, both original and already published.
- Friday and Saturday nights, June 16-17 through June 30-July 1: Live theater performances of "The Rocky Horror Show." The musical version, better than the movie!
- Friday and Saturday nights, August 4-5, 11-12, 18-19 and Sept. 1-2: Live theater performances of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream."
Phippsburg: See Routt County's railroad history
The unincorporated town of Phippsburg is a reminder of the impact the railroad business had in the county's past. The community is home to the switching yards that were built by the Denver Northwestern & Pacific Railway at the turn of the century.
Though trucking lines and highways have taken away from the importance of the railways, the railroads of the Yampa Valley are still used often today to transport coal from coal mines scattered throughout the valley.
Stagecoach: a growing community with plenty to offer Stagecoach State Park draws visitors from across the state for boating, hiking and camping. Its 770-acre lake offers opportunities for water sports that are not available anywhere else in South Routt County. Combine that with the park's 1,600 acres of land and visitors find a place to enjoy all of their favorite summer recreational activities.
The park offers camping, showers, the marina concession, and a ranger station and shop.
The popularity of the park grows each year. One of the biggest draws is that Stagecoach State Park is considered one of the best fly-fishing spots in the state.
For $5 per day, per vehicle, visitors can do it all and then stay overnight at a campsite for $7 to $18, depending on their need for electricity. $55 year-round passes also are available.
Reservations for campsites are recommended. Call 800-678-2267 to reserve a spot.