To Do in Steamboat Springs

by MBC

This article addresses traveling to Steamboat Springs, Colorado in Routt County in the Northwest corner of the State very near Wyoming. One of several I've written on Colorado.

My home is in Denver and I am writing a series of articles on various playground cities in the wonderful State of Colorado. This one addresses some of the fun things to do here in Steamboat Springs. I recently spent four and a half days on vacation during the off season with a friend. We traveled by car from Denver up through Vail and over to Steamboat and then came back through Rabbit Ears pass. Let me explain that I am a retired woman who did ski in the 60s but was never good at it and now I’m much too old. So I will tell you what we found to do in Steamboat during the fall. You should be aware that the Smithsonian Magazine picked Steamboat as one of the top 20 small towns in America to visit.

Colorado residents are big on the outdoors and activities such as biking, hiking, skiing, boating, fishing and hunting. Steamboat does have its own very nice airport so it is possible to fly in if you prefer that form of travel. But if you go during the fall you will definitely want to rent a car in order to take in the beauty of the mountains, lakes and trees. I will be sharing some of my own photos from this vacation.

The First Day We Took a Day Trip Up to Fish Creek Falls

Fish Creek Falls is 283 feet high and is a nice hiking area.  The falls are actually pretty close (1/2 mile) to the parking lot which is about 3 miles outside of Steamboat on Fish Creek Falls Rd.  Then there is a longer 4 mile hike if you choose to do it which is a little more like climbing (trail is rocky).

Fish Creek Falls
Fish Creek Falls
My Personal Photos
Me at the Overlook
Me at the Overlook
Taken by my travel companion Linda Galligan

National Park Service's 100th birthday was celebrated on August 8th, 2016

Steamboat Springs is Home to Over 150 Hot Springs

There are two large commercial hot springs.  One is downtown (Old Town Hot Springs) and one is about 7 miles North of town (Strawberry Park Hot Springs got it's name because they used to grow strawberries on this land).  We drove out to Strawberry to take a soak. It was LOVELY! So rejuvenating and refreshing. Children are not allowed here at night when clothing is optional. The surrounding hills were full of fabulously colorful pines mixed with aspen trees. This was one of the highlights of the trip for me.

You can get a brochure at the visitors center or the museum and take a self-guided walking tour of a few of the 150 springs in the area that are close to downtown.

History in Steamboat Springs

The City is Nicknamed The Boat by Locals

In town we also visited the Tread of Pioneers Museum to learn some of the local history.  We did not go on the Historic Walking Tour but did drive by many of the old buildings. After we left the museum we went over to the Bud Werner Memorial Library which I was very impressed with!  For a town this size the library is fabulous! It features a small coffee shop and a mural honoring Buddy Werner a local ski hero who lost his life at a young age. They also feature a salt water aquarium.  Just beautiful.  This library was hoping with people!

We then walked along Soda Creek, part of the Yampa River walk, where we saw a number of hot springs as well as The Depot.  The Depot was build in 1909 by the architect Frank Edbrooke when the Moffit line of the railroad came to Steamboat.  This was primarily used for shipping cattle and also carried humans until 1968.  The former train depot now houses the Eleanor Bliss Center for the Arts and the Steamboat Arts Council.

The Bud Werner Memorial Library and The Depot are almost at the bottom of Howelson Hill on Emerald Mountain.  Carl Howelson who was nicknamed the “Flying Dutchman” was a Norwegian ski jumper who established the first ski jump in the US in 1913. In 1950 it was expanded to the current 90 meter jump named Howelson Hill and it is listed in the Colorado State Register of Historic Places. It is spectacular even with no snow on it.  In the winter, if you are young and spry, you may want to try this jump, but be sure to wear a helmet.  There are also tons of bike paths and bike rental places nearby.

The Depot by Marsha Camblin
The Depot by Marsha Camblin

We Continued to Walk along the path to the Yampa River Botanical Gardens

The admission is free so we took a self-guided tour.  One of the more special gardens was the unique vertical rock garden.  There were not too many flowers in it because it was October.Vertical Rock Garden

We enjoyed learning that the trees many mistake for aspens from a distance are actually narrow leafed cottonwood trees which line the path up to the garden entry.  There are also aspens mixed in which have much rounder leaves. This park was opened in 1997 and consists of 60 gardens and 500 trees. The elevation of this park is 6800 feet and is covered by an average snowfall of 15 feet from November to April and in the summer it is arid with little rain. It is in the USDA Zone 4. This garden is run completely by volunteers. To learn more go to yampariverbotanicpark.org and have a look.

I have not visited this Botanic Gardens in the summer, but I'm sure it is spectacular then.

Here's a Cozy Christmas Suggestion to Keep the Ones You Love Warm This Winter

We Found Some Great Places to Eat

One place we loved was called Winona's and we went there because we saw an ad for their cinnamon rolls which looked very tasty. It was a rainy day so it drove hoards of people indoors so they were quite busy.  My friend had some sort of Mexican soup with chicken and I had the black bean soup.  We also ordered one large cinnamon roll to split, it was so good that I ordered another to go to snack on in the car over the next few days.   All of their baked goods looked fantastic.

 On another night I treated my friend to a great dinner at the Ore House. We took advantage of the Sunset menu for early diners, which saved us some bucks.  Our meals were delicious. I had trout and my friend had prime rib.  We were both impressed by the food as well as the service.  I would highly recommend this restaurant.  It also has style because it is in a barn which is over 100 years old with a very lovely patio area (though we were too late in the season to sit outside there were still some great flowers in the window boxes). I don’t think you can go wrong if you choose to try either of these restaurants.

Three Nearby State Parks with Lakes

If you boat and/or fish you might want to go North in the direction of Wyoming and visit Hahn Mountain and both Steamboat Lake and Pearl Lake.  All of them are very close to each other and provide different advantages.  They are situated in the million acre Routt National Forest. You might want to try some camping here.  We can enjoy all these places thanks to Teddy Roosevelt and his Wilderness Act. The wildlife is abundant, great hunting.  And the scenery is very impressive as you will see from my photos.

 

Who Could Use a Colorado Ball Cap?

Images of Hahn Mountain Area

It's further North, closer to Wyoming, and was colder the day we went.
Snow Near Hahn Mountain
Snow Near Hahn Mountain
Personal photos taken by Marsha Camblin
Hahn Mountain
Hahn Mountain
Copyrighted by Marsha Camblin

Images of Steamboat Lake which is Larger and Has a Boating Marina

Images of Steamboat Lake which is Larger and Has a Boating Marina
Images of Steamboat Lake which is Lar...
Marsha's Personal Photos (please do n...
Colorful Colorado Folliage
Colorful Colorado Folliage
Copyrighted by Marsha Camblin
Steamboat Lake from Another Angel
Steamboat Lake from Another Angel
My Personal Photos
Autumn in Northern Colorado
Autumn in Northern Colorado
Personal photos taken by Marsha Camblin

Photos I took at my Favorite Lake, Pearl Lake

I liked it best because the mountain was very close and there was no marina - but we did see a fisherman using a paddle dingy
Lake Through the Aspens and Pines
Lake Through the Aspens and Pines
My personal photo
Fall in Colorado
Fall in Colorado
by me
Pearl Lake
Pearl Lake
by Me

Some of the Places to Go and Things We Missed

On our next trip I want to see or do these things.

  • Rent a bike and ride some of the extensive bike trails
  • Test out some of the local craft brewers
  • Attend a Free Summer Concert (we were too late for this)

Things I won't do but you might want to check out include:

  • Try one of the three public golf courses
  • Take in some music or live theater
  • Find someone with a boat or camper to travel with and go to the Lakes again in better weather like the summer months
  • There are plenty of great hiking trails that we didn't have time to do yet.

Other Photos I took While Visiting Steamboat

A Western Style Entry Gate
A Western Style Entry Gate
My Personal Photos

Other Articles You Sould Check Out

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Give the Gift of Rememberance of a Great Time

A great place to spend the Christmas Holidays and Get in Some Wonderful Skiing
Updated: 12/01/2016, MBC
 
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