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Adventures Unleashed: 6 Things To Do in Steamboat Springs, CO

Steamboat Springs

Fall in Steamboat Springs, CO: Adventures await!

Steamboat Springs lies within a unique community made up of mountains, lakes, a river, and the Yampa Valley.  You probably know this historic northwestern Colorado town as “Ski Town USA,” owing to its reputation as a popular ski destination and home to more Olympic skiers than anywhere in North America. Nowhere else will you see Champagne Powder snow, the lightest, driest, and fluffiest snow that makes for an unforgettable skiing experience.

However, there are still lots of other  things to do in Steamboat Springs, CO. In fact, Steamboat Springs touts itself as a year-round tourist destination with nature trails to be explored year-round, mountain biking is enjoyed in the summer, and camping is a favorite summer and fall activity. This laid-back mountain town also offers the best of Western hospitality, which is perhaps what draws most tourists to Steamboat Springs.

They say that Steamboat Springs is home to the Yampa Valley Curse – once you’ve been here, you’ll never want to leave. True or not, many visitors to Steamboat Springs have made it their tradition to return every year. Some even choose to settle in this quaint village and take part in all the wonderful year-round  activities in Steamboat Springs. 

Want to know the many adventures that await you when you think about what to do in Steamboat Springs? Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a budding historian, a food lover, or someone who has eclectic interests, there are things to do in Steamboat Springs, CO that will keep you enthralled and occupied.

Here’s a round up of some of the best:

  1. DISCOVER OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES FOR EVERY SEASON IN STEAMBOAT SPRINGS. CO

    mother and son on the ski lift

    • SKIING. Steamboat Springs isn’t known as “Ski Town USA” for nothing. As one of the biggest attractions in Steamboat Springs, there are not just one, but two ski areas that are suitable to every skill level or experience.

      Howelsen Hill Ski Area, which opened in 1915, is Colorado’s oldest operating ski area. Locals aren’t just proud of this fact, they’re even more pleased that it has been the  training grounds for over 100 Olympians who have made over 150 Winter Olympic appearances. It is said that Howelsen Hill Ski Area has sent more skiers to different international competitions than any other place in North America. With its natural ski jumping complex, the facility is considered to be the largest and the most complete throughout the entire continent. The ski area opens on November 25, 2023 and will operate until March 24, 2024, conditions permitting..

      Unlike Howelsen Hill Ski Area,  Steamboat Ski Resort is open year-round. This world-class skiing and snowboarding resort is famous for its tree skiing and Champagne Powder snow. Often regarded as the best type of snow for skiing, Champagne Powder snow is found only in Steamboat Ski Resort. The snow is so light and dry, it’s impossible to make snowballs out of it. No visit to Steamboat Springs is complete without a trip to this resort, where there are a variety of trails for everyone to enjoy.

      Other than regular skiing, you can also try snowshoeing and cross-country skiing with the whole family. This is the best way to experience the mountains surrounding Steamboat Springs, as you’ll be exploring places that even the most skilled skier cannot reach. You can also ski under the light of the stars with night skiing, where you’ll be guided by a state-of-the-art lighting system as you make your way down.

    Hiking in the forest

    • HIKING. Once the snow melts, the base of the Steamboat Ski Resort turns into a lush playground where visitors can hike and spot the town of Steamboat Springs from afar.  What was once a winter wonderland turns into an exciting summer attraction with sun-soaked hiking trails offering breathtaking views of the Yampa Valley.

      However, Steamboat Ski Resort is just one of the many places for hiking in Steamboat Springs. The best part? A lot of these trails are family-friendly. For instance, the Spring Creek trailhead starts just minutes away from downtown. You can walk or ride to this wonderful beginner-friendly trail, which starts with a wide, flat trail and features a pond where you and your family can rest and have a picnic in the pavilion.

      Another iconic trail is the Fish Creek Falls trail, which begins just a quarter of a mile below the base of the falls. Although you’ll encounter a bit of an incline along the way, you’ll be rewarded with a magnificent view of the 280-foot Fish Creek Falls. From this point, another 2.25-mile hike brings you close to Upper Fish Creek Falls and Long Lake. 

      The Hot Springs Trail, which is half a mile up from the Mad Creek trailhead, brings you to Strawberry Park Hot Springs. While the trail is mostly shaded, it can’t compare to the sight of the beautiful hot springs, lined with natural stone and inviting you to soak in its warm, mineral-rich waters. 

      These are just some of the hiking trails found in Steamboat Springs. Imagine living in the midst of all this and exploring and discovering trails, and rediscovering favorite hikes on your own or with family and friends. Most are out-and-back trails, making it easy to start and end at the same location.

    Cyclist on rocky mountain

    • MOUNTAIN BIKING. During the fall, Steamboat Springs turns from “Ski Town USA” to “Bike Town USA,” as it becomes a must-visit destination for mountain biking enthusiasts. As one of the most popular things to do in Steamboat Springs, CO, mountain biking in this town means cycling through trails blanketed in golden aspen leaves in the fall. With over 500 miles of trails to explore, Steamboat Springs is a dream come true for even the most experienced biker.

      Emerald Mountain features a network of trails that begin just two blocks away from downtown. While it’s recommended for intermediate bikers, kids and beginners can also find trails to enjoy here. For heart-pumping action, the Divide Trail starts from Rabbit Ears Pass at 10,400 feet and descends 4,400 feet into the Steamboat Ski Area. If you like the challenge of this lengthy trail, you’ll also need to navigate around obstacles like roots, rocks, and slabs, and brace yourself for high-speed tree runs.

      Those who want a downhill-only trail can try out Spring Roll Trail, which was introduced after Spring Creek was redesigned in 2019. The latter is still operational as a multi-directional, multi-use trail, but Spring Roll is strictly downhill-only. On this trail, you can feel the wind across your face as you whip past aspen groves, meadows filled with the vivid lavender and blue tones of columbine flowers, and a serene creek.

      For families who want to experience mountain biking for the first time, the Panorama Trail is the best place to start. Just 6 miles away from Steamboat Springs, the trail  rises to 137 feet, giving you the most glorious views of Yampa Valley, Flattop Mountains, and the Continental Divide. True to its name, this trail will definitely give you a panoramic view of Steamboat Springs and its surrounding landmarks.

    man camping with his red tent

    • CAMPING. Why not take your love for nature to the next level by sleeping under the night sky? Steamboat Springs is surrounded by a national forest and wilderness areas that will make you one with nature. Imagine laying down under the stars and just listening to the stillness – it’s the perfect way to ground yourself and rediscover your connection with nature.

      Backpackers who are up for an adventure are welcome to camp in the Zirkel and Flat Tops Wilderness areas, where they can also enjoy many days of hiking. Backpackers are more than welcome to set up camp anywhere in this pristine location, whether it’s  deep in the forest or just within the sight of an alpine lake. 

      Families can also enjoy some of the forested areas through car camping. By doing so, you can still explore the wilderness, set up camp, and sleep in your own vehicle. A lot of areas in Steamboat Springs welcome car campers, such as Steamboat Lake and Pearl Lake. Buffalo Pass is also a popular option for car campers, as it is conveniently located near one of the many hiking and biking trails in the area.

      Prefer to bring the comforts of home in your very own RV? There’s a camping ground for RV owners at KOA, where you can also enjoy hiking, swimming, biking, and more.

    woman fishing on the river

    • FLY FISHING. As any local will tell you, Steamboat Springs is the place where you can cast your lines year-round. Fly fishing is one of the favorite pastimes of locals here, especially along the Yampa River. This river provides anglers with a peaceful setting, stunning views, and world-class trout. Fall is the favored season for fly fishing along the Yampa River, as it is the time when the waters are clear, the trees are richer in color, and the trout are plentiful. 

      There are different species of trout that can be found in Steamboat Springs, including rainbow, brown, cutthroat, and brookies. If you’re new to fly fishing, Steamboat Springs locals are more than happy to show you the best ways to successfully reel in your catch. Local shops also stock all the equipment you’ll need for fly fishing. You can also familiarize yourself with the best spots for fly fishing by going on a guided fishing excursion or trips with the locals.

    man playing golf

    • GOLF. Nothing beats playing a round of golf while surrounded by majestic views of the Rocky Mountains, which is exactly what you’ll get when you tee off in Steamboat Springs. If you find yourself asking what to do in Steamboat Springs, you can always visit one of the many lush golf courses where you can play while admiring the view.

      Haymaker Golf Course is a championship golf course with the majestic Flat Top Mountain Range as its backdrop. Built out of a vast ranchland and rock piles, this Keith Foster-designed golf course is also home to elk, eagles, and blue herons.

      Rollingstone Ranch Golf Course is considered one of the best golf courses in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. This spectacular 18-hole course, designed by Robert Trent Jones II, boasts undulating bent grass greens and breathtaking views of the Yampa Valley. This championship-caliber course is suited for everyone, regardless of their skill level.

      Not to be missed is the Steamboat Golf Club, the oldest established golf course in the area. This 9-hole course brings golfers close to the stunning views of the bordering Yampa River and the nearby ski mountains.

  2. GET LOSE IN THE AWESOME STATE PARKS OF STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO

    kayak boat on the sunset

    Steamboat Springs has four state parks, each with its own character and offering different kinds of outdoor recreational activities. Whether you’re up for outdoor activities in Steamboat Springs or you’re simply looking for a quiet place to observe nature, there are many places in and around the city that will suit your needs.

    • Just below Lester Mountain and northwest of Steamboat Springs, Pearl Lake State Park has a 105-acre Gold Medal-designated lake as its centerpiece. Anglers flock to Pearl Lake for the abundance of cutthroat trout, though it’s also a great place for kayaking, canoeing, and paddling. Make sure to explore the nearby Pearl Lake Connection Trail to get a glimpse of a teeming wildlife, including beavers, porcupines, mule deer, and over 200 species of birds.
    • Another must-visit is the Steamboat Lake State Park, which is a consistent favorite of visitors to Colorado’s state parks.  Like Pearl Lake, Steamboat Lake also boasts a Gold Medal fishery, with trout reaching up to 20 inches in length. Apart from kayaking and paddling, you can also try jet skiing and water skiing.
    • Stagecoach State Park, meanwhile, features Stagecoach Reservoir, where anglers can also find an abundance of rainbow trout and the occasional northern pike. There are also hiking and biking trails nearby, but those who simply want to sit back and relax can observe the abundant wildlife, including beavers, elk, red foxes, and jackrabbits.
    • One of the most exciting activities in Steamboat Springs can be found in Yampa River State Park, with the Yampa River itself offering the most iconic river runs for rafts and kayaks. You can also explore the undammed Yampa, one of the last free-flowing rivers in the United States, or set up camp at one of the many primitive campgrounds in the area.
  3. REJUVENATE IN THE MINERAL-RICH HOT SPRINGS OF STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO

    woman enjoys swimming

    Apart from these state parks, Steamboat Springs is also known for its hot springs. Flowing from the Colorado Rocky Mountains, these hot springs have been used by locals for their health benefits. It’s also said that Native Americans and pioneers revered these geothermal hot springs.  

    • Today, two of these hot springs, namely Strawberry Park Hot Springs and Old Town Hot Springs, have become some of the most popular attractions in Steamboat Springs. Strawberry Park Hot Springs is just 15 minutes away from downtown, blending the beauty of nature with unique stone masonry. The hot springs experience rises to another level during the winter months, when snow falls and collects on the trees of the nearby forest.
    • Old Town Hot Springs is said to be the place where Steamboat Springs’s  first inhabitants, the Ute Indians, gathered and bathed. They believed the waters were medicinal, and bathing here contributed to their physical and spiritual healing. Today, Old Town Hot Springs is open to guests who can soak in one of the eight hot springs-fed pools without even leaving downtown.
  4. GET FLOORED BY THE ARTS, CULTURE, AND HERITAGE OF STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO

    mother and daughter on museum

    Just when you thought you’ve run out of things to do in Steamboat Springs, CO, there’s more. The town has done an excellent job preserving its culture and heritage, with a state-certified Creative District aimed at supporting local creatives by nurturing the arts.  

    • Explore the Olympic heritage of this western town at the Tread of Pioneers Museum. This retrofitted 1901 Queen Anne-style Victorian home has been filled with interactive exhibits depicting the local and regional histories of Native Americans, and the story of how Steamboat Springs became the popular ski town it is today. Make sure to visit with your family and take part in the museum’s scavenger hunt, among other fun activities.
    • Steamboat Art Museum is the only art museum in the region of Northwest Colorado. Here, you’ll find works of the area’s living master artists and events such as monthly art walks, drawing and sketching classes, and art fairs. 
    • The annual Steamboat MusicFest draws thousands of tourists with a shared love for skiing and music. This annual winter event runs for six days and features more than 60 bands and live performances of the best Texas and Americana music. 
    • Can’t wait until winter to get your music fix? Don’t miss out on the Keepin’ It Free free  concert series with well-known artists from different musical genres
  5. SHOP, EAT, AND BE VERY MERRY IN STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO

    woman eating sandwich

    If you’re still asking what to do in Steamboat Springs, you can never go wrong with a shopping and dining spree. What’s great about shopping in  Steamboat Springs is the plethora of independently-owned local businesses, some of which have been operated by the same family for generations.

    • F.M. Light & Sons is a clothing shop that has been “outfittin’ the West for 100 years.” It was founded in 1905 after Frank M. Light noticed the lack of men’s clothiers in Steamboat Springs. Today, the shop is run by the fifth generation Light family and continues the tradition of providing quality and affordable merchandise from boots to cowboy hats, gifts to toys. This fact alone makes this shop one of the must-see attractions in Steamboat Springs.
    • If you’re looking for high-quality bikes and skis to keep up with the lifestyle of Ski Town and Bike Town, Steamboat Ski & Bike Kare has got you covered. For over 20 years, this local store has been the go-to for rentals, repairs, and fittings to enhance their customers’ skiing and biking experience.
    • After exploring Steamboat Springs’ local shops, cap off your day with a visit to any one of over 130 restaurants, bars, cafes, and chophouses for a quick bite or a sumptuous full-course meal. 
    • Breakfasts are best spent at Freshies, a local diner that serves dishes with local charm. Not to be missed are their gigantic cinnamon rolls, which are sure to give you that much-needed energy boost in the morning. Lunchtime means ordering the iconic Pilgrim at Yampa Valley Sandwich Co., which combines every Thanksgiving flavor in a single mouthwatering sandwich. End the day with the best of Latin fusion at Bésame, featuring a smorgasbord of hot and cold tapas, paellas, lamb  burgers, Cubano sandwiches, and so much more.
    • Would you believe that there’s a trail that leads you to the best breweries in Steamboat Springs? Take on a different adventure and follow the Steamboat Brew Trail, which will take you from downtown Steamboat Springs to the west of town. You’ll be sampling a variety of the finest beers in Colorado, and some spirits. 
  6. FIND MORE REASONS TO STAY IN STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO

    Map with pin locations

    Outside these attractions in Steamboat Springs, this quaint western village is one of the best places to achieve our longed-for work-life balance. Here, you’ll have more than phone screens to unwind and destress after a long day’s work.

    While Steamboat Springs is popular among the active 55+ community, those who are in the thick of building their careers are also drawn to this town. The small-town vibe and the built-in potential are qualities that have attracted companies that mostly sell outdoor products. A growing number of residents are also moving to Steamboat Springs as digital nomads and remote workers.

    More importantly, Steamboat Springs is a flourishing community. There are lots of things to do, the locals are friendly and helpful, the art scene is flourishing, the culinary scene is not to be missed, and the views are majestic every single day. Nothing can beat the experience of living in a place where nature thrives and co-exists with the people.

    The so-called Yampa Valley Curse might not be a curse at all, but a clarion call. Why limit yourself to a weekend or two at Steamboat Springs when you can live here full-time and experience the best of this ski town year-round?

LET THE EXPERTS HELP YOU FIND YOUR DREAM HOME IN STEAMBOAT SPRINGS 

Steamboat Springs listing

FOR SALE IN STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO: A 35-acre property less than 5 miles fromthe world-famous Steamboat Ski Resort.View details here.

Turn your dream of living in Steamboat Springs into a reality with the help of the experts from the Paoli Group. For over 25 years, we have helped hundreds of buyers move into this wonderful western village by combining our in-depth knowledge of the local real estate market with the latest technology and our own in-house systems. 

Trust our team of licensed real estate brokers to give you topnotch services tailored to your needs, because we are keen to help you achieve the life you dream about.

Ready to start looking for your next home in Steamboat Springs, CO? Get in touch with The Paoli Group today by calling 970.457.6880 or sending an email here.