Steamboat Springs is one of Colorado’s premier resort towns, and it offers visitors an array of outdoor activity options year-round.
It’s located in Routt County in the north-central portion of the state not far from the border with Wyoming to the north.
Steamboat Springs offers world-class skiing, and during the summer months, it’s popular with golfers, hikers, and all-around lovers of the great outdoors.
The town offers abundant lodging and dining options at many price points, and there are historic sites, galleries, and museums as well.
Below are 15 things to do in and around the Steamboat Springs area.
1. Steamboat Ski Resort
Spread over 3,000 scenic acres among 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.
Featuring more than 150 trails and some of the best powder on the continent, it’s the kind of place that attracts both seasoned veterans and those with little experience; it even has kid’s slopes and reasonably priced lessons for those of all ages and levels of ability.
Kayaking, rafting, and fishing are big warm weather draws, and there are a variety of nature trails, towering gondolas, and a dedicated kid’s zone that’s like a mini amusement park.
2. Strawberry Park Hot Springs
Located along County Road 36, Strawberry Park Hot Springs is comprised of a number of natural pools that maintain consistently warm temperatures throughout the year.
Rumor has it that the springs’ water contains some healing properties that alleviate muscle, bone, and deep tissue pain that are often exacerbated by strenuous outdoor activities like skiing and snowboarding.
Previous guests have noted that there’s something magical about the springs when there’s snow falling, and there are rustic lodgings and campsites for those who’d like to spend a night or two.
During peak times, the springs can draw a crowd, so consider an early morning visit to beat the rush.
3. Yampa River Core Trail
Yampa River Core Trail runs for nearly eight miles between the town of Steamboat Springs and nearby Bear River Park.
The trail largely follows the course of the Yampa River, and it’s paved, which makes it accessible for strollers and wheelchairs.
The trail is open all day every day and is free to use, but during the winter, it can be treacherous when covered with ice and snow.
Fishing and inner-tubing are popular, and the area is home to a large variety of bird species that include woodpeckers, raptors, and owls.
Inexpensive bike rentals are available near the trailhead.
4. Steamboat Symphony Orchestra
Though it hasn’t been around for as long as many of its contemporaries, The Steamboat Symphony Orchestra has attracted quite a loyal following among lovers of classical music. It’s the perfect place to end a long day of outdoor activity.
In addition to symphony, the venue features string and woodwind performances, and the musicians and staff host a variety of programs and workshops aimed at experienced and novice musicians of most ages.
They’ve got a full calendar of events throughout the year, and many performances sell out, so if possible, it’s wise to purchase tickets well in advance of your visit.
5. Yampa River Botanic Park
The Yampa River Botanic Park is spread across six acres and includes several individually themed cultivated areas that have both native and exotic species of plants, flowers, and trees.
The park is open daily from dawn to dusk between May and October; it’s free to visit and conveniently located near the downtown area.
There’s an on-site amphitheater as well that hosts a variety of performances, including free concerts on Thursdays during the season.
Free guided yoga and kid’s programs are popular too, but previous guests have noted that mosquitos can be a problem, so pack a bottle of bug spray before heading out.
6. Fish Creek Falls
At nearly 300 feet, Fish Creek Falls is one of the area’s most impressive sights, and it’s open to visitors daily from 6 AM to 10 PM.
For those looking to stretch their legs, breathe the mountain air, and burn off excessive breakfast calories, the falls are reachable on foot from the downtown area.
Trails around the falls range from flat and relatively easy to challenging and strenuous, and the flow is at its most impressive during the spring thaw.
In the winter, the frozen portions of the falls are favorite destinations for ice climbers; for those who’ve never witnessed it, ice climbing is an amazing spectacle to behold.
7. Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest
At nearly two million acres, Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest is even big by Colorado national forest standards.
The forest’s border is just a few miles from Steamboat Springs and stretches all the way into the neighboring state of Wyoming to the north.
The majority of the forest is undeveloped, and some of the roads aren’t paved, but for lovers of untouched nature, it’s a perfect fit.
Cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, hiking, and fishing are favorite pastimes, but due to the area’s vastness, it’s wise to stop at the visitor center nearest to Steamboat Springs before setting out to explore.
8. Steamboat Art Museum
Art is big business in Colorado, especially in the state’s ritzy resort towns that attract the well-to-do from all over the world.
Steamboat Art Museum has been around since 2005. It’s housed in a renovated historic building that was once a local branch of a national bank.
The museum’s collection includes both old and contemporary art done in a variety of forms – from paintings and sculptures to quilts and photographs.
Steamboat Art Museum is located on Lincoln Avenue, and regularly scheduled guided tours are the best way to get the most value for your travel dollars.
9. The Paramount
Fresh air and aerobic activities like skiing and hiking tend to make for big appetites, and there is no shortage of dining options for those who find themselves in Steamboat Springs with empty stomachs.
The Paramount is a favorite eatery for those who value ample portions, reasonable prices, and a comfortable setting; many visitors find themselves returning again and again for just those reasons.
Their menu is chock-full of traditional favorites like mac ‘n cheese, fried chicken sandwiches, and corned beef hash. They also have hearty salads and a kid’s menu that features smaller portion sizes and reduced prices.
10. Tread of Pioneers Museum
For history lovers in search of a one-stop attraction that’ll teach them everything they’d ever want to know about the Steamboat’s past, Tread of Pioneers Museum would be a great place to spend an hour or two.
The museum’s exhibits touch on Native American cultures, mining, agriculture, and the resort and ski industries.
Many of the exhibits promote interaction, which means they’re great at keeping inquisitive minds engaged, both young and old.
Admission is dirt cheap, and there are regularly scheduled scavenger hunts for those traveling with children. Free guided tours are offered multiple times daily on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
MountainBrew has been a staple of Steamboat’s coffee scene since it was founded in 2011.
The shop is located on Oak Street and prides itself on using only the finest fair-trade beans and offering a variety of tasty baked goods that are made on-site daily.
MountainBrew is open for both breakfast and lunch, and previous visitors have described it as comfortable, casual, and the perfect place to sit and dine or grab an order to go.
They’re particularly well-known for their fresh scones. In addition to cappuccinos, lattes, and fraps, they offer tea, juices, and smoothies.
12. Rocky Mountain National Park
Though it’ll require a bit of a drive to get to from Steamboat Springs, Rocky Mountain National Park usually takes a coveted spot on the itineraries of a large portion of those visiting Colorado, and it often ends up being one of the most memorable experiences of their trip.
The park is comprised of more than 400 square miles that include majestic peaks in the 12,000-foot range, as well as hundreds of miles of hiking trails that wind their way through forests and ravines and past enormous rock formations.
In the spring, the park’s lowland areas are often awash with vibrant wildflowers, but it can get crowded on holidays and weekends, so plan your visit accordingly.
13. Alpine Slide
Located at the Howelsen Hill Lodge in Steamboat Springs, the Alpine Slide is one of the area’s most exhilarating warm-weather attractions.
Fearless riders begin their journey on a chairlift to the top of the lodge’s highest hill, and from there, riders are given unique sleds that have brakes and steering mechanisms, which makes them fun and safe.
The concrete track descends nearly 2,500 feet to the base of the hill. Along the way, riders will have fantastic views of the lodge, mountains, and the town below.
Alpine Slide is relatively inexpensive, conveniently located, and usually among the most memorable experiences of visitor’s trips to Steamboat Springs.
14. Go Fishing
Colorado is full of alpine lakes and secluded stretches of river that are home to a variety of game fish, including trout, bass, walleye, and pike.
Fly fishing is also popular on the Yampa River which runs through town. For those who’d rather hit the water with a professional guide, there are a number of experienced outfitters offering excursions that range from a few hours to a few days.
Unlike many locales, the fishing in Steamboat Springs doesn’t grind to a halt with the onset of winter; in fact, it’s often best on cold, windy, and overcast days.
15. Mountain Tap Brewery
There are so many craft breweries in Colorado that they might get mundane after a while. But for true diehard beer lovers, they’re great places to try unique brews and rub elbows with likeminded locals.
Mountain Tap Brewery’s beers range from light and refreshing to dark and flavorful, and from traditional to contemporary.
Surprisingly, Mountain Tap is as well-known for its amazing food as much as it is for its beer. Their eclectic menu includes pizza, mac ‘n cheese, and even fresh baked goods like peach cobbler.
They’re located at the north end of town, not far from the Yampa River.