Steamboat Springs Travel Guide

USA  #3 in Best Places to Visit in Colorado
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Courtesy of David Epperson/Getty Images

Best Things To Do in Steamboat Springs

Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty to do in Steamboat Springs in both the summer and winter seasons. During the warm weather, travelers can hike or bike the Yampa River Core Trail or spend an afternoon fishing, kayaking or tubing. Meanwhile, the winter season in Steamboat Springs attracts downhill skiers and snowboarders, as well as ice climbers. If you're not schussing the slopes at Steamboat Ski Resort, you can take a sleigh ride, go snowmobiling and dogsledding, or head indoors to The Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs to work on your swing. No matter which activity you choose, follow it up with a relaxing soak at Strawberry Park Hot Springs.

How we rank Things to Do

Updated April 3, 2018

  • #1
    Things to do in Steamboat Springs
    View all Photos
    #1 in Steamboat Springs
    Hiking, Recreation, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Recreation, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    The 7.5-mile Yampa River Core Trail, which connects downtown Steamboat Springs to Bear River Park, is a paved multiuse trail for hikers and bikers. You'll find several playgrounds along the path, as well as scenic overlooks and picnic spots. It also offers prime access to the Yampa River Botanic Park and the Yampa River, where you can fish or float in an inner tube. 

    Former visitors loved this trail's picturesque scenery, adding that you'll enjoy views of nearby ski runs, Howelsen Hill and multiple hot springs. Most found it ideal for a family bike ride or a relaxing walk, and some recommended stopping in the city center for a snack or lunch. 

  • #2
    Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests
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    #2 in Steamboat Springs
    Hiking, Recreation, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Recreation, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests, often called the "Land of Many Uses," encompasses more than 2 million acres in northwestern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming, but the most visited areas are about 3 miles east of Steamboat Springs. The dirt road that travels through the forest and connects the city with Walden, Colorado, which is known as Buffalo Pass (or Buffs Pass), offers basic campsites, as well as snowmobiling, snowshoeing and backcountry skiing trails. The popular hiking paths to Fish Creek Falls also go through the forest, and Rabbit Ears Pass – named for the ear-like buttes visible from the pass – offers bike, hiking and four-wheel drive trails.

    Overall, past visitors were impressed with the forest's well-maintained roads, especially in the winter, and loved their scenery and hiking trails. For those who plan on snowmobiling, travelers recommend checking out the east side of Rabbit Ears Pass, while the west side is ideal for skiing and snowshoeing. To avoid getting lost while exploring this massive protected area, pick up trail maps at the U.S. Forest Service's visitors center. It can be found approximately 3 miles south of downtown Steamboat Springs and less than 2 miles southwest of Steamboat Ski Resort.

  • #3
    Fish Creek Falls
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    #3 in Steamboat Springs
    Hiking, Recreation, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Recreation, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    The 280-foot Fish Creek Falls is a prime spot for hiking. Four trails are available, including a short walk to the lower falls from downtown Steamboat Springs and a more challenging trail for experienced hikers that leads to Long Lake. The two shorter paths – which are great for families – offer a stunning view of the legendary falls. Spring (when the surrounding mountains' snow melts) is the best time to check out the falls, while winter is ideal for watching ice climbers in action.

    Recent hikers loved the view and noted that there are two overlook spots perfect for taking photos. However, some visitors commented that even the easiest trails can be daunting on the descent and recommended bringing water and wearing comfortable shoes. Several suggested families take the short, easy trail to the picnic area, adding that the third trail to the upper falls is best suited for experienced hikers. What's more, many were pleased to find restroom facilities in the parking area near the entrance and said the $5 per vehicle fee is reasonable.