Tubing the Yampa River
If there’s one thing you need to check off your list this summer in Steamboat Springs, it has to be tubing the Yampa River. A local favorite and must-do activity, tubing the Yampa offers a chance to experience downtown Steamboat from a comfortable inner tube while splashing in the refreshing waters of the Yampa River. The float can be as long or as short as you’d like, and there are plenty of riverside stops like parks, restaurants, and bars along the way.
Small rapids, standing waves, and rock features will carry you down the river on this exciting, family-friendly ride, lasting 1 to 3 hours depending on your put-in and take-out points and the river’s flow.
Tubing season typically begins in June and lasts through August. Conditions are reliant on the amount of snow-melt and rainfall Steamboat receives. If the water levels are too high or too low tubing will be halted. Before heading out, remember to Know Before You Go!
.Tubing Tips & Rules
- Check the river flow to see if it's at a safe level for tubing. Water levels above 700 cubic feet per second are not safe for tubing, and even lower water levels may still not be safe for weak swimmers. Be sure to share with the outfitter your comfort level in water.
- Wear a life jacket, especially when floating with kiddos.
- Wear shoes with straps (no flip-flops) and a swimsuit or clothing you don't mind getting wet. River shoes are available for rent at most tubing outfitters.
- Properly store your valuables, as you may tip over on the river.
- Respect other tubers, people on the core trail, and fishermen.
- Tube in small groups (5 – 10 people).
- NO alcohol, dogs, or glass on the river.
- Leave No Trace. Take everything you bring with you, and dispose of all garbage. Help us keep the Yampa River beautiful!
The safest and most reliable way to tube the Yampa is to go through one of our local tubing outfitters. Tubing outfitters offer rentals and shuttle rides for the easiest, most enjoyable tubing experience. See below for local outfitter options.
The river has been separated into zones by the City of Steamboat Springs and the Colorado Division of Wildlife to give every user group a share of this wonderful resource. Rental tubing is allowed downstream from the 5th Street bridge, while private tubers are encouraged to float from no further than Fetcher Park. This leaves the upper stretch of river quieter for fishing.
Tubing without an Outfitter
If you choose to tube privately it is recommended that you park your car downtown or at the Community Center/ Stockbridge Transit Center and ride the bus to your put-in location.
Parking is extremely limited at all put-in locations including Fetcher Pond and Weiss Park. Using the Red Line bus you can park at the Stockbridge Transit Center and start at Fetcher Pond for the longest ride or Dr. Rich Weiss Park and float all the way back to your vehicle. Steamboat Springs Transit does not allow wet people or inflated tubes on the bus, so if you opt to ride the bus post-float be sure you have a dry bag for your belongings.
The easiest way to avoid the complications and the hassle of parking and shuttling cars upstream is to use one of our summer tubing outfitters. Tubing outfitters have everything you need for your adventure on the river including rental tubes, life jackets, dry bags, appropriate footwear, and most importantly shuttle service.
In an effort to keep the river from becoming overcrowded, there is a limit on the number of trips the commercial tubing outfitters are allowed each day, so be sure to reserve your spot on the river to avoid disappointment.