Steamboat Springs is one of Colorado’s premier resort towns, offering visitors a range of outdoor options throughout the year.
It is located in Lauter County in the north-central part of the state, not far from the northern border with Wyoming.
Steamboat Springs offers world-class skiing and is popular with golfers, hikers and all-around enthusiasts of the great outdoors during the summer months.
The town offers a wealth of accommodation and dining options at all price points, as well as historic sites, galleries and museums.
Here are 15 things to do in and around the Steamboat Springs area.
1. Steamboat Ski Resort
Spread over 3,000 acres in some of Colorado’s most rugged and majestic mountains, Steamboat Ski Resort is consistently ranked as one of the nation’s most popular ski resorts.
With over 150 trails and some of the best powders on the African continent, this is a place that attracts both seasoned veterans and the less experienced. It even offers kids slopes and affordable classes for all ages and ability levels.
Kayaking, rafting and fishing are the main activities in warm weather, and there are various nature trails, towering gondolas and a dedicated children’s area like a mini amusement park.
2. Strawberry Garden Hot Spring
Strawberry Fields Hot Springs is located along County Road 36 and consists of several natural pools that maintain warm temperatures year-round.
Rumor has it that the spring water contains some healing properties that can relieve muscle, bone, and deep tissue pain that is often exacerbated by strenuous outdoor activities like skiing and snowboarding.
Previous guests have noticed that the springs have a magical feel to them when it snows, and there are rustic lodgings and campsites for those looking to spend a night or two.
During peak hours, the springs can draw crowds, so consider visiting early in the morning to avoid peak times.
3. Yampa River Core Trail
The Yampa River Core Trail stretches nearly 8 miles between the town of Steamboat Springs and nearby Bear River Park.
The trail follows the main route of the Yampa River and is paved for stroller and wheelchair access.
The trail is open 24/7 and free to use, but in winter it can be dangerous to be covered in snow and ice.
Fishing and inner tubes are popular, and the area is home to a variety of bird species, including woodpeckers, raptors and owls.
Cheap bike rentals are available near the trailhead.
4. Steamboat Symphony Orchestra
Although it has not been around as long as many of its contemporaries, the Steamboat Symphony has attracted a considerable and devoted following among classical music lovers. This is the perfect place to end a long day outdoors.
In addition to the symphony, the venue features string and woodwind performances, and musicians and staff host a variety of programs and workshops aimed at experienced and novice musicians of most ages.
They have a full calendar of events throughout the year, and many shows are sold out, so if possible, it’s best to buy tickets in advance of your visit.
5. Yampa River Botanical Gardens
Yampa River Botanic Park covers 6 acres and includes several individually themed planting areas with native and exotic plants, flowers and trees.
The park is open daily from dawn to dusk from May to October; it’s free to visit and is conveniently located near the city center.
There’s also an on-site amphitheater that hosts a variety of performances, including free Thursday concerts this season.
Free guided yoga and children’s programs are also popular, but previous guests have noticed that mosquitoes can be a problem, so bring a bottle of bug spray before heading out.
6. Fish Creek Falls
Nearly 300 feet high, Fish Creek Falls is one of the most impressive attractions in the area and is open to visitors daily from 6am to 10pm.
For those who want to stretch their legs, breathe in the mountain air and burn off too many breakfast calories, the falls are within walking distance from the city.
The trails around the falls range from flat and relatively easy to challenging and strenuous, and are most impressive during the spring thaw.
In winter, the frozen part of the waterfall is a favorite destination for ice climbers. For those who have never witnessed it, ice climbing is an amazing spectacle.
7. Medicine Bow – Lauter National Forest
The Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest is nearly 2 million acres by Colorado National Forest standards, and it’s even large.
The border of the forest is just a few miles from Steamboat Springs and extends to neighboring Wyoming to the north.
Most of the forest is undeveloped and some roads are unpaved, but it’s a perfect option for unspoilt nature lovers.
Cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, hiking, and fishing are the most popular pastimes, but because of the sheer size of the area, it’s best to stop at the visitor center closest to Steamboat Springs before setting out to explore.
8. Steamboat Art Museum
Art is big business in Colorado, especially in the state’s posh resort towns that attract wealthy people from around the world.
The Steamboat Art Museum has been around since 2005. It is housed in a renovated historic building that used to be a local branch of a national bank.
The museum’s collection includes ancient and contemporary art done in various forms – from paintings and sculptures to quilts and photographs.
The Steamboat Museum of Art is located on Lincoln Avenue, and regularly scheduled guided tours are the best way to get your travel dollars worthwhile.
Fresh air and cardio activities like skiing and hiking tend to whet your appetite, and there’s no shortage of food options for those who find themselves in Steamboat Springs on an empty stomach.
The Paramount is a favorite restaurant for those who value ample portions, reasonable prices and a comfortable environment. It is for these reasons that many tourists find themselves returning again and again.
Their menu is filled with traditional favorites like mac’n cheese, fried chicken sandwiches, and corned beef hash. They also have hearty salads and kids menus with smaller portions and lower prices.
10. Trailblazers Museum
For history buffs looking for a one-stop spot that will teach them everything they wanted to know about the steamboat past, the Pioneer Museum will be a great place to spend an hour or two.
The museum’s exhibits relate to Native American culture, mining, agriculture, and the resort and ski industry.
Many of the exhibits foster interaction, which means they’re great at keeping curious minds, young and old alike.
Tickets are very cheap, and treasure hunts are regularly scheduled for those traveling with children. Free guided tours are offered several times a day on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
11. Mountain Brew
Since its inception in 2011, MountainBrew has been a staple in the Steamboat coffee scene.
Located on Oak Street, the store prides itself on using only the finest fair trade coffee beans and offering a wide variety of delicious baked goods made on-site every day.
Serving breakfast and lunch, MountainBrew has been described by previous visitors as cosy, casual and the perfect place to sit down or order.
They are famous for their fresh scones. Besides cappuccinos, lattes and smoothies, they also serve tea, juices and smoothies.
12. Rocky Mountain National Park
While it’s a bit of a drive from Steamboat Springs, Rocky Mountain National Park usually occupies a coveted spot on the itinerary of most people visiting Colorado, and it often ends up being one of the most memorable experiences one of their travels.
The park is made up of more than 400 square miles, including majestic peaks within 12,000 feet, and hundreds of miles of hiking trails that meander through forests, canyons, and massive rock formations.
The lowland areas of the park are often full of vibrant wildflowers in the spring, but can get crowded on holidays and weekends, so plan your visit accordingly.
13. Alpine Slide
Located at Howelsen Hill Lodge in Steamboat Springs, Alpine Slide is one of the most exhilarating warm weather attractions in the area.
Fearless riders start their journey on a gondola to the top of the lodge’s highest summit, and from there, riders are provided with a unique sled with brakes and steering mechanisms that make them both fun and safe.
The concrete track descends nearly 2,500 feet to the base of the mountain. Along the way, riders will enjoy great views of the hut, the mountains and the town below.
Alpine slides are relatively inexpensive and conveniently located, and are often one of the most memorable experiences for visitors to Steamboat Springs.
14. Go fishing
Colorado is full of alpine lakes and secluded rivers, and is home to a variety of game fish, including trout, bass, walleye, and pike.
Fly fishing is also popular on the Yampa River, which flows through town. For those who would rather go out into the water with a professional guide, there are many experienced outdoor outfitters offering excursions ranging from a few hours to several days.
Unlike many places, fishing in Steamboat Springs doesn’t stop with the onset of winter. In fact, it usually works best when it’s cold, windy, and overcast.
15. Mountain Tap Brewery
There are so many craft breweries in Colorado that they can become mundane after a while. But for truly die-hard beer lovers, this is a great place to sample unique beers and mingle with like-minded locals.
Mountain Tap Brewery has a wide variety of beers, from light and refreshing to dark and delicious, from traditional to modern.
Surprisingly, Mountain Tap is known for its delicious food and beer. Their eclectic menu includes pizza, macaroni and cheese, and even fresh baked goods like peach cobbler.
They are located at the northern end of town, not far from the Yampa River.
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Steamboat Springs, Colorado (CO)
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