5 ways to enjoy the outdoors in Steamboat Springs this summer

Published Date: January 17, 2023

Steamboat Springs in the summer
In Steamboat Springs, you’ll often hear the phrase, “Come for the winter, stay for the summer.” And if you spend time here year-round, you might agree. Sure, Steamboat Springs is known for its incredible skiing, but if you visit once the snow has melted, you’ll discover a whole new set of things to do. Summer in Steamboat Springs boasts impossibly blue skies, little rain, and comfortable temperatures in the 70s and 80s, making it an idyllic time to explore the scenery. Here are five fun activities to try throughout your Steamboat Springs summer. 

1. Hike the Mount Zirkel Loop

With almost 160,000 acres of pristine wilderness, the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area is a must-visit for outdoor adventurers. While there are some 150 miles of hiking trails in the area, the Mount Zirkel Loop Trail is a perennial favorite for hikers looking for a challenge. The trail spans 10.3 miles and has almost 2,500 feet of elevation gain, leading intrepid hikers through expansive wilderness areas and meadows filled with summer wildflowers, and rewarding them with gorgeous alpine lakes. At the midpoint of the hike you’ll find yourself at Gilpin Lake – a perfect place for a picnic lunch. One pro tip: the loop hike can be done either clockwise or counterclockwise, but counterclockwise gives you a more gradual ascent. 

2. Take a day trip to Steamboat Lake 

The 27-mile scenic drive from Steamboat Springs to Steamboat Lake is nothing short of beautiful, and the lake at the end of your drive doesn’t disappoint either. Pack a picnic and head to the lake for the day, where you can rent boats, canoes and paddleboards. Fishing and hiking are also popular activities at the lake, which is nestled below Hahn’s Peak. If a day isn’t enough, there’s also on-site camping and cabin rentals. 

3. Bike the Yampa River Core Trail 

Steamboat Springs is known as “Bike Town USA” thanks to its many paved trails and some 500 miles of single-track mountain biking trails. For casual cyclists, the 7-mile Yampa River Core Trail is a great place to start. This picturesque paved trail follows the path of the Yampa River through town, connecting one side of Steamboat with the other. On a warm summer day, it’s a popular spot for both cyclists and walkers, many of whom stop along the way to grab a bite to eat or a cold drink. Since the path is mostly flat and you can hop on and off wherever you want, it’s a popular activity for families with kids of all ages. 

4. Sample the seasonal bounty at the Steamboat Springs Farmers Market

Come hungry to the Steamboat Farmers Market. With a friendly and upbeat vibe, the market is the best place to taste locally grown produce and get a sense of the local culture. Taking place every Saturday from early June through mid-September on Main Street, vendors offer everything from fruits and vegetables to fresh breads and locally ranched bison. Arrive early to shop before the crowds, then stay to browse items from local artisans and enjoy some live music. 

5. Take flight on a hot air balloon ride 

On crisp summer mornings, look up and you’re likely to see colorful hot air balloons dotting the sky. A hot air balloon ride is a wonderful (and exhilarating!) way to take in the beauty of the whole Yampa Valley from above. Multiple purveyors in town offer hot air balloon rides. Arrive at sunrise and watch your balloon inflate. Then, climb into the basket and allow yourself to be whisked away over 1,000 feet above town,  

Find your favorite local spot in Steamboat Springs 

There are so many ways to spend a summer day outdoors in Steamboat Springs. Need more time to do it all? Become a local! As a co-owner of a Pacaso second home in Steamboat Springs, you’ll have ample time to discover the natural wonders of this Colorado mountain town, in summer and throughout the year. 

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Jen Lyons

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