Tucked away in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, Steamboat Springs is an outdoor lover’s paradise, no matter the time of year. When you add in a wide variety of arts and cultural attractions and a dash of Old West charm, Steamboat becomes an idyllic getaway for just about anyone. Here are seven of our favorite things to do in and around this friendly mountain town.
1. Ski or snowboard in “Champagne Powder”
Steamboat Springs is known as “Ski Town, U.S.A.” thanks to its six mountain peaks, 3,000 skiable acres and 165 trails, including plenty of tree skiing. Skiers and snowboarders from beginners to Olympians flock to Steamboat Springs every winter for its famous “Champagne Powder” snow — the lightest, driest, fluffiest snow in the world. How? It simply has a lower water content than most other snow. It was named by a local rancher who said in the 1950s that the snow tickled his nose like champagne while he skied. Powder purists say you haven’t truly skied powder until you’ve skied in Steamboat Springs.
2. Soak in the hot springs
After a long day on the mountain, there’s nothing better for sore muscles than soaking in natural hot springs. Strawberry Park Hot Springs, just 20 minutes outside of town, is open year-round and offers large soaking pools at varying temperatures. In the warmer months, you can stay overnight, either tent camping or in a cabin — you can even spend the night in a train caboose or covered wagon. If you prefer to soak in town, Old Town Hot Springs is the perfect place to make a splash. The structured pools are fed by natural hot springs and have warm, but not too hot, temperatures. Relax in the smaller hot tub-type pools, swim in the main hot pool or soak in the natural minerals of the Heart Spring. Families will love the seasonal waterslides, too.
3. Ride the Steamboat Scenic Gondola
The best way to acquaint yourself with Steamboat Springs is from above on the Steamboat Scenic Gondola. In the winter, you can take a ride up Mount Werner in an enclosed eight-person gondola, whether you’re skiing or not. All year long, you’ll be treated to sweeping views of the surrounding Yampa Valley, with seasonal beauty like spring foliage, summer sunshine, gorgeous fall colors and snowy winter peaks. From the top, you can access hiking and mountain biking trails and nature walks.
4. Explore the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area
Mount Zirkel is the highest peak surrounding Steamboat Springs, reaching 12,182 feet into the sky. The Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area that surrounds it offers almost 160,000 unspoiled acres that are simply irresistible to outdoor adventurers. Part of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail snakes through the area, and you’ll also find 150 miles of trails that are used for hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, depending on the season. Some 70 lakes and the headwaters of three rivers round out the fun.
5. Visit Fish Creek Falls
One of the best-known attractions in Steamboat Springs, Fish Creek Falls is a stunning waterfall that cascades some 280 feet into Fish Creek Canyon. It’s located within the Routt National Forest, just a few minutes from town. There are many ways to take in the beauty of the falls, from simply walking the paved path to a viewpoint, to challenging hikes that lead to the upper falls. In the coldest part of winter, you may even see adventurous ice climbers making their way up the frozen waterfall.
The spirit of the American West is still found throughout the area, from the working ranches dotting the Yampa Valley outside town to the warm and friendly spirit you’ll experience as you explore. You can get in on the fun yourself, whether you want to attend the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series, take a horseback tour, visit a dude ranch or pick out the perfect pair of cowboy boots at F.M. Light & Sons, which has been outfitting locals since 1905.
Enjoy all four seasons in Steamboat Springs
As the co-owner of a Pacaso second home in this Colorado mountain town, you’ll quickly become a regular. With a luxury vacation home as your jumping-off point, you can explore all the beauty and charm of Steamboat Springs.