Welcome to the MBRTB

mBRTB = Medicine bow-routt national forests and thunder basin national grassland

^ You can see why we shorten it to MBRTB

Official Forest Link: https://www.fs.usda.gov/mbr

The Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grasslands (MBRTB) is spread over 2.9million acres in Colorado and Wyoming.  The forest has six ranger districts (RDs): Yampa (Yampa, CO), Parks (Walden, CO), Hans Peak-Bears Ears (Steamboat Springs, CO), Brush Creek-Hayden (Saratoga, WY), Laramie (Laramie, WY), and Douglass (Douglass, WY). 

There is a wide range of recreation opportunities on the forest, from hiking and backpacking to fishing and motorized and off-roading (or what I call off-roading, which is people driving OHV/UTV/ATVs on the back forest service roads). Some areas are close to urban settings while others are unincorporated towns with unpaved streets.  In lieu of spouting information that you could google yourself, I’d like to, instead, leave you with a few fun notes and suggestions from some of the places I’ve been on the forest so far (and have pictures of).

Hans Peak-Bears Ears: This is probably the most well known and visited unit (in my opinion at least), headquartered out of Steamboat Springs, CO.  This is a great district to visit if you like day hiking/adventuring, but prefer to stay in urban accommodations. That’s not to say there aren’t ample backcountry or camping opportunities (there are plenty!) but that the other RDs (with the exception of Laramie) are much farther from robust urban areas.  My Suggestions:  Reserve a site at Dry Lake or Dumont Campgrounds on Rec.gov, Hike the Rabbit Ears at Sunrise, Bike/Run Flash of Gold

Yampa: This is a tiny town approximately 45 minutes south of Steamboat Springs.  If you want epic scenery, but none of the Steamboat crowds, this is the place for you.  This is a much more remote area though, so I suggest brining your own staples and get excited about camping!  The most popular and modern is Bear Lake, but if you’re feeling a little more adventurous (or want to use a super scenic vault toilet) and don’t mind packing out your trash I suggest Vaughn Lake.  There are some beautiful designated dispersed campsites with views of the Flattops as well.  My Suggestions: Camp and hike Devil’s Causeway (go early to avoid afternoon storms)

Parks:  Based out of the small town of Walden, CO this district only has one full-time recreation employee.  Another beautiful area to explore, but again, be prepared to camp as options are limited in town.  If you’re looking for a quiet place to camp that has access to US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife areas, then Parks is your place.  My Suggestions: Hidden Lakes Campground backpacking, and the gorgeous taxidermy bobcat at the ranger station.

Sunrise from the Rabbit Ears-Hans Peak-Bears Ears Ranger District
Vaughn Lake Campground-Yampa Ranger District
Designated Dispersed Campsite-Yampa Ranger District
Heading up to the Rabbit Ears-Hans Peak-Bears Ears Ranger District

I hope you enjoyed this short, and by no means comprehensive, overview of the MBRTB and have found a place or two to add to your adventure list!  See you next time!

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