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Buffalo Pass - Dry Lake Trailhead 

Buffalo Pass is a wilderness playground in Steamboat Springs’ backyard. This multi-use area offers acres of space for both motorized and non-motorized recreation and is serviced by the Dry Lake Trailhead. It is managed by the Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District.

Area at a Glance
Permit Needed: Yes
Usage: Heavy
Restroom: Yes
Winter overnight use: Prohibited


  • Backcountry tour
  • Snowmobile
  • Fat biking
  • Cross country ski
  • Snowshoe/hiking

Things to keep in mind when you visit Buff Pass


This area is popular, and the parking area often fills up in early morning, especially on weekends and powder days. If the trailhead is full, try again later or head somewhere else. Do not invent a parking spot if none are available. Parking is not allowed along the county road below the Dry Lake lot. Tickets will be issued for inappropriate/illegal parking.

There is no overnight camping in the parking lot at Dry Lake and the camping area is closed for the season.

Be respectful

Buffalo Pass Recreation Area is shared by many different user groups. Be respectful of one another at the trailhead and in the backcountry.


A free Backcountry Permit must be on each person when recreating in the area.  They can be picked up at the trailhead or at the Forest Service Offices in Steamboat Springs and Kremmling. If you are visiting this area with your own snowcat or a side-by-side vehicle over 50-inches, you have to go to one of these offices and pick up a different, free permit, that outlines more detailed rules of engagement with your over-the-snow vehicle.

Cell service is limited. Know the area and your plans and your limits before you set out.


From Steamboat Springs: Travel 4 miles north of Steamboat Springs on Routt County Road #36 (Strawberry Park Rd), then 3.6 miles east on Routt County Road #38 (Buffalo Pass Rd). The Trailhead is located to the south of the road. Google Map

With an average of 180 inches of snow a year and plenty of room to play,  Steamboat Springs, Colorado, is one of the state’s top snowmobiling destinations.

Dry Lake Winter Parking

Dry Lake

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