Yampa Valley Crane Festival

BlogCranes flying past Bears Ears 1

A dedication to one of the oldest living species in the Yampa Valley

The Greater Sandhill Crane is a staple here in the Yampa Valley, spending the spring and summer months nesting and raising their young here in the wetlands across the valley. With a wingspan of up to 6 feet wide it’s a spectacular sight to watch them take flight across the Valley sky. Listen carefully and you’re sure to hear the unison duet of male and female cranes throughout the summer.

The Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition (CCCC), with a goal to conserve and protect the Sandhill Cranes in Colorado, was formed in 2012. Since their inception, the CCCC has committed resources to the educational programs and habitat improvement projects for cranes. Working closely with local farmers and landowners the CCCC created Crops for Cranes to provide food supplies for cranes prior to their winter migration.

Part of the CCCC’s educational efforts is The Yampa Valley Crane Festival where over 85 volunteers come together to host education and viewing events around Steamboat and Hayden.  For the past 8 years, this event has helped educate both locals and visitors alike of the importance of this majestic creature.

Schedule of Events

Thursday August 29th

Bud Werner Memorial Library

Beginning at 4pm on Thursday evening a plethora of workshops, performances and author led discussions will take place at the library.

Friday August 30th  

Various locations

On Friday, a variety of events take place around Steamboat from sunrise crane viewings, pontoon boat experiences, crane yoga, nature journaling, and more. End the day on the library lawn as the Yer State Birds perform followed by a wine, beer, and cheese reception.

Saturday August 31st

Various locations

The fun begins all over again on Saturday with guided walking tours, nature walks, family activities, raptor viewings, and keynote presentations, just to name a few. For those up for a drive finish the evening at The Nature Conservatory’s historic Carpenter Ranch for a picnic dinner and sunset crane viewing.

Sunday September 1st

Various locations

Wind down from the weekend activities with a nature walk, keynote speaker breakfast, and film screening.

Crane Facts:

3 to 5 feet tall with a wing span between 5 and 6 feet

Fossil evidence dates cranes back 10 million years

Cranes use dance to attract their mates. Once they select their mate, that is their mate for life

Cranes fly 400-500 miles in a day at around 6-7,000 feet up, but even as high as 13,000 feet

For a more detailed schedule of these events, please contact our concierge.