Moffat County was created out of the western portion of Routt County on February 27, 1911. The county was named for David H. Moffat, a Colorado tycoon who died in 1911. His railroad, the Denver, Northwestern & Pacific, attempted to build a route from Denver to Salt Lake City. In 1913, a reorganized railroad, the Denver & Salt Lake, reached as far as Craig, the county seat, but no further. In the late 1890s and early 1900s, all Colorado District Courts were held in Denver, Colorado, in the State courthouse there, due to a lack of funds to build courthouses locally. All murder trials were held in Denver, in the District Courts. Allegedly, so many politically motivated murders occurred between the predominantly liberal, then, eastern Routt County, Colorado residents and the predominantly conservative, then, western Routt County residents, that the presiding judges—tired of presiding over these murder trials—requested that the State legislature split Routt County into what is now Routt and Moffat County; the legislature complied.
As millions of Americans and world travelers discover the enjoyment and educational value of Watchable Wildlife, Moffat County stands as one of the premier locations in the world for viewing animals in their native habitat. More than half of our 3 million acres is held as public land. Moffat County is blessed with large herds of elk, deer, wild horses and pronghorn antelope; abundant populations of mountain lion, bear, and bald eagles; and many unique varieties of small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish.
Moffat County includes 10 U.S. Bureau of Land Management Wilderness Study Areas, offering interpretive areas, trails, campsites, and multiple-use research lands.
Moffat County is also the home of Brown's Park National Wildlife Refuge, Dinosaur National Monument, and USFS Routt and White River National Forests.
We hope you can personally experience Moffat County. As you enjoy our scenic country, please respect the natural setting, archaeological sites, and watchable wildlife, helping us preserve these treasures for future generations.
In every direction from Craig there lies an undiscovered treasure . . . awesome scenery, history, and world-class recreation. You can find them right here! Just fill your car with gas and follow the easy maps available at the Craig Visitors Center. They guide you through the lush valleys, deep canyons, and cool forests surrounding Craig.
Since the reconstruction and graveling of the California Park Road (FDR #150) during the summers of 1979-80, this has become a popular scenic drive as passenger cars can now travel the full length without any trouble. To get to California Park, go east from Craig on Highway 40 to Hayden. Go north of Hayden on Routt County Road 80 to the forest boundary.
As you enter the Forest from the south, you go over Quaker Mountain (elevation 8,900 feet) which is dense aspen/spruce/fir then down into California Park. California Park is a large open grass prairie, rimmed by mountain peaks on either side. As you continue north, you will cross three mountain streams and the Slater Creek divide, and into the Slater Park area which is another open grass prairie. The road then goes off the forest to the northwest and will join up to the Black Mountain road for those who want to make a loop drive of approximately 80 miles. This drive crosses several small fishing streams and has many spots for a summer picnic and informal pull-out camp spots. The road is not maintained in the winter months although it is open for snow mobiles.
Cub Creek Road
Desert, dinosaurs, and more. Discover what else the park has to offer along the Cub Creek Scenic Drive. This self-guiding auto tour begins at the Dinosaur Quarry Visitors Center and provides views of Split Mountain.
Time: 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Distance: 22 miles round trip.
Conditions: Last 2 miles unpaved, narrow and occasionally dusty.
Vehicle Requirements: Suitable for passenger vehicles.
Side trips: Sound of Silence, Desert Voices, and Hog Canyon nature trails.
Hot Tips: Pick up a Cub Creek Sampler brochure at any visitor center to best enjoy this scenic drive.
Echo Park Road
From Harpers Corner Scenic Drive, the Echo Park Road makes a dizzying plunge into the heart of the Dinosaur National Monument. Unique geologic features, prehistoric rock art, and the spectacular canyon confluence of the Green and Yampa Rivers await those who journey to Echo Park.
Time: 1 1/2 hours from Harpers Corner Scenic Drive.
Distance: 26 miles round trip.
Conditions: Unpaved, dusty, steep, winding and narrow. Impassable when wet!
Vehicle Requirements: Can be driven with caution in any passenger vehicle having good ground clearance; not suitable for trailers, motor homes, or other heavy vehicles.
Side trips: Six to eight mile round trip hike through Sand Canyon to Echo Park.
Hot Tips: Carry extra water, food and a first-aid kit. Be sure your vehicle is in good condition, that the radiator is full and that you have at least one spare tire.