Steamboat Springs has become a world-class skiing destination while retaining its Western charm, with a vibrant year-round economy and a host of outdoor activities for every season.
Steamboat Resort is where the phrase “champagne powder” was coined to describe Colorado’s light, fluffy snow. The ski area has six separate peaks and some of the best tree-skiing around. Closer to town is Howelsen Hill, Colorado’s oldest continuously-operating ski area, dating way back to 1915. More future Winter Olympians have come from here than any other place in North America. Snowmobilers and backcountry skiers flock to nearby Rabbit Ears Pass for deep snow and solitude.
When the snow melts, a plethora of hiking and biking options emerge. You can hike the Thunderhead Trail up the ski area or ride the gondola up and hike down (there’s a fee for riding up but down is free.) Or try the trail to Fish Creek Falls, which eventually climbs all the way to the Continental Divide Trail. Routt National Forest and the Flat Tops Wilderness aren’t too far and offer many opportunities for longer excursions. There are two hot springs for soaking weary bones: the family friendly Old Town Hot Springs, with large and small pools and water slides, and Strawberry Park Hot Springs, a quieter and more adult-oriented rustic resort just out of town, where bathing suits are optional after dark. Both are open year-round. The Yampa River, flowing through the heart of town, is great for fishing and floating.
Summer is short up here and autumn brings hunters and wildlife watchers in search of the region’s massive elk herds.