3 FLAT TOPS TRAIL
Length: 82 Miles Driving time: 2 Hours
This area is perhaps the most historically important of all the byways. It is credited as being one the places that inspired the very concept of preservation in the Old West as well as being the birthplace of the idea that public lands could, and should, be left as wilderness. This tradition of preservation makes for incredibly pristine scenery.
Starting in Yampa, the drive heads west past Trappers
Lake (it was from the shores here that the Forest Service landscape architect Arthur Carhart realized how beautiful the area was and pushed for its preservation) and on to Buford before finishing in the town of Meeker. It is here that the region's history takes a tragic turn.
The Meeker Massacre was a conflict between Ute Indians and ultimately the US government that led to the forced removal of the White River Utes and the Uncompahgre Utes from Colorado. The White River Museum at the western end of the byway in the town of Meeker tells the full story.
Be sure to pay attention to road closures between mile marker 31 and Dunckley Pass towards mid-November when the road tends to close every year for winter sports usage.
Photo: (this page, clockwise from above left) Matthew Inden / Miles; Toni N Francis; Ron Willey