350 South Lincoln Avenue
Steamboat Springs, CO 80487
Toll Free (800) 282-8814
Much to do and see in Steamboat Springs
For new residents who want to get to know Steamboat and its surrounding community, the thought of discovering everything the town has to offer can be overwhelming. Here’s a list of must-see places and must-do activities to get any new resident started.
Getting to know Steamboat first requires a walk through the downtown area along Lincoln Avenue. This 12-block stretch is truly the center of town. It’s where events ranging from the Fourth of July parade to the finish of the Steamboat Marathon take place.
Shops, cafes and restaurants line the street, giving residents a chance to mull over the morning news with a cup of coffee, search for a unique piece of artwork, or pick up a new sweater. Steamboat’s oldest business, F.M. Light & Sons, is also here, and is easy to identify with a life-sized plastic horse on the sidewalk in front of its doors.
The Tread of Pioneers Museum, located just off of Lincoln Avenue, is like the history of Steamboat itself - a collection of skiing, ranching and mining pioneers. Its front gallery is filled with old skis and tales of former Olympians, while the second floor holds stories of Western outlaws and some of the town’s first ranchers.
Running parallel to Lincoln Avenue is the Yampa River, which bikers, joggers and walkers can enjoy from the Yampa River Core Trail. At the heart of downtown, but on the other side of the river, residents can check out the rodeo arena, where cowboys and cowgirls compete every weekend of the summer. And anyone who strolls along the Core Trail in the summertime is sure to get a glimpse of residents and visitors kayaking or fly fishing.
Howelsen Hill, the oldest continuously operating ski area in the western United States, sits just behind the rodeo grounds. The hill offers miles of downhill and cross-country ski trails, which turn into spectacular hiking, biking and horseback riding trails in the summer. The hill’s Alpine slide, better known as the Howler, gives children and adults alike a chance to sled down the mountain in the summer.
Heading southeast from Howelsen Hill, the Yampa Core Trail eventually passes in front of the Yampa River Botanic Park, a series of gardens that offer a rainbow of colors in the summer.
At the west end of town are the natural hot springs for which Steamboat Springs was named, although the construction of railroad tracks through town robbed the springs of the chugging sound that was their namesake. As the story goes, early settlers came to town and heard what they thought was the chugging of a steamboat. A closer look showed that the sound came from one of the handful of geyser-like hot springs in town. Also in this area is the Depot, a historic building that used to be a shipping point for cattle but now is a center for the arts, as well as the Bud Werner Memorial Library.
For residents who are willing to make a short drive from town, it’s easy to access two of Steamboat’s natural wonders: Fish Creek Falls and the Strawberry Park Hot Springs. Fish Creek Falls is a stunning, immense waterfall that’s easily seen after a quarter-mile walk on a paved path. More adventurous hikers can walk a little longer to a viewing point of the upper falls. Strawberry Park Hot Springs offers a relaxing escape for tired skiers and bikers. This series of naturally hot pools sits in a secluded spot at the top of Strawberry Park Road and is a favorite for tourists and residents alike.
Anyone looking to travel a little further from Steamboat can explore a variety of hiking trails around Routt County. About 50 percent of the county’s land is publicly owned, with the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest making up the majority of this area, and State Parks such as Stagecoach Reservoir, Steamboat Lake and Pearl Lake making up most of the rest. The area has endless trails for hikers, backpackers and hunters, and for snowmobilers and skiers, depending on the time of year.
A trip up to Steamboat Lake for boating, fishing and other water sports, followed with a stop by Hahn’s Peak Village or the Clark Store for a bite to eat is one good way to spend a day.
Finally, regardless of the season, all new residents should make a trip to Mount Werner, the ski hill that has helped earn Steamboat Springs the nickname “Ski Town USA.” During the winter, residents enjoy some of the best powder in the United States. During the summer, visitors can ride the gondola to the top, and then hike or bike back down to the base of the mountain.
Hazie’s restaurant at the top of the gondola provides top-notch food with stellar views of the valley below. And at the end of any trip, a handful of restaurants, bars and coffee shops provide a nice stop to catch one’s breath and grab a bite to eat.
| c. 303.718.7907 | e. | ©2006 John Tomasini