· Flat Tops
Ripple Creek Pass and Vaughan Lake
Aliases: Vaughan Lake, Ripple Creek Pass, Dunckley Pass
The Flat Tops Scenic Byway over Ripple Creek Pass goes through some of the most beautiful coniferous woodlands and montane meadows in northwestern Colorado. This not only makes for a very scenic and enjoyable trip, it also makes for good birding. Species such as Red Crossbill, Hammond’s, Dusky, and Cordilleran Flycatchers, Golden-crowned Kinglet, and even less common birds like American Three-toed Woodpecker, Dusky Grouse, and Northern Goshawk are all possible here. The meadows have species such as Violet-green Swallow, Vesper Sparrow, and Mountain Bluebirds, among others. Also of greatest interest is a colony of Purple Martins near Vaughan Lake; watch for them especially in areas of large, old-growth aspen woodland. The Flat Tops are famous for their elk, and this is among the best areas to see them. Butterfly diversity during the summer months here is also wide and excellent.
County: Rio Blanco
Habitat: Pinyon/Juniper Forest, Stream, Foothill Shrub, Scrub Oak Forest, Aspen Grove, Spruce-Fir Forest
Directions: From Meeker take Hwy 13 to CR 8 and turn right. Ripple Creek Pass is along Rio Blanco CR 8, 40 miles east of Meeker. Vaughan Lake is 2.8 miles east of the pass.
Delorme: 24 D3, 34 A3-A5, 25 D5-C7, 26 C1-C2
Roads of Colorado: 50 C3, 51 D3-F3, 52 A3-C2
Dates of Access: Closed during the winter months
Ownership: US Forest Service
Parking: Roadside pullouts
Handicapped Access: Limited car birding
» Visit the website for Ripple Creek Pass and Vaughan Lake
White River National Forest