The Dos and Don'ts of Tubing on the Yampa River

The Dos and Don'ts of Tubing on the Yampa River

The Yampa River is one of the defining features of the Steamboat Springs community. Residents spend countless hours enjoying the water through activities like fishing, wading, and kayaking. Tubing is also a favorite summertime activity for residents and visitors alike. Before you go on your tubing trip, there are a few things you need to know.

Do know the rules of the Yampa River.

Each publicly managed river has its own set of rules. The Yampa River does allow tubing, however, alcohol, glass bottles, and Styrofoam coolers are not allowed. Littering is also prohibited. Tubing enthusiasts are asked to respect private property and others who are using the river, including anglers and kayakers. Life jackets are strongly recommended.

Don’t forget to dress appropriately.

A bathing suit is a must for a day of tubing. You may also want to bring cover-up items to put on over your bathing suit. Bring an inexpensive pair of sunglasses, ideally with a wraparound band so they won’t get lost. You’ll definitely want to cover up all exposed skin with plenty of water-resistant sunscreen.

Do reserve a spot early.

June through August is the busy season for tubing outfitters, so reserve your spot ahead of time. If you are renting your gear, you should know that rental tubing is allowed downstream starting at the 5th Street bridge. Private tubers are advised to float as far as Fetcher Park. This is intended to leave the upper portion of the Yampa undisturbed for anglers.

Don’t use a pool tube.

If you aren’t renting your gear, you’ll need a specially made river tube. Never use tubes designed for pool use, as they won’t survive the journey. If you’re buying a new tube, look for one with a mesh bottom for added comfort.

Do wear your river shoes.

Sandals aren’t recommended for a float down the Yampa. You’ll need river shoes, also called aqua shoes, to protect your toes from rocks. You can often rent these from tubing outfitters.


Residents of Steamboat Springs, CO enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities all year ‘round. To check out the latest recreational programming or view public land policies, you can turn to Steamboat Springs Parks & Recreation. You can call their office on Howelsen Parkway at (970) 879-4300.