Snowshoeing In Steamboat Springs For Fun & Adventure
Published on 03/11/2020 by Brad Luth
Exploring Steamboat Springs
Steamboat Springs is a bustling but charming ski town, but you don’t to ski to have a great time. At 6,700 feet, the altitude can make headed out for a walk fun and interesting.
With its historic downtown, array of unique events, lively cultural and arts scene, renowned healthful mineral springs, an 80-year long tradition of Olympians, and year-round recreational opportunities, Steamboat welcomes you during the winter. Our community is popular with skiers and snowshoeing enthusiasts alike.
It only helps that the surrounding mountains provide a world-class natural setting in which to enjoy the winter snowshoeing trek. In this article, we look at some of the best and most popular snowshoe trails and guided tours, along with the various snowshoe equipment needs and available rentals.
For an idea on what to bring for a ski vacation click here.
Popular Steamboat Springs Snowshoeing Trails
Snowshoeing is most exhilarating in beautiful surroundings. Steamboat boasts an abundance of these scenic places to walk and enjoy. They start with open flats and extend to higher altitude vantage points that provide breathtaking 360 degree views. The scenery includes frozen waterfalls, tall mountains, canyons, and more. The most convenient part is that it only take a few minutes to get from the historic downtown of Steamboat Springs to many of these snowshoe trails and hikes. Here are the best eight trails to explore by snowshoe.
Dry Lake/Buffalo Pass
A highly recommended back country trip for snowshoeing, Dry Lake and Buffalo pass trail delivers solitude as well as real opportunities to spot moose. As this is a non-motorized area, snowmobiles rarely make an appearance here. This means that the trails heading to Soda Creek and the beautiful open valley are both quiet and peaceful for trekkers. It is important to watch out for cross country skiers along this trail though. At sunset, the alpenglow view of surrounding mountains is absolutely breathtaking.
Closer to town and far less remote, the Uranium Mine trail provides fantastic Fish Creek Falls views along with vistas of the canyon. It is a more strenuous workout too. Thanks to smaller crowds than the waterfall base below, moose inhabit this natural area. The trail increases in elevation roughly 800 feet over the course of the one and a half mile trek out to the Uranium Mine. From the upper parking lot of Fish Creek Falls it is easy to spot and pick up the trail.
Emerald Mountain/Howelsen Hill
This particular trail covers the area nearest to the downtown of Steamboat Springs. It is still a serious workout for snowshoe enthusiasts yet comes with an eye appealing view along the way. To avoid some of the vertical climbing, participants can hitch a ride on the Barrows chairlift. The quarry at Emerald Mountain can also be reached by beginning at the Blackmer Drive trail head which originates from the Routt Street top. These sites and trails are amazing either by day or moonlit night.
Dunckley Flat Tops
A quieter trail than some, the Chapman/Bench Trail loops significantly around the Spronks Creek trail on the way back. This 4.8 miles long trek makes for a lovely afternoon day snowshoeing around the area. It includes fully 800 feet of gain in elevation. This makes it a challenge for those just beginning to snowshoe trek the trails. The path begins at the Dunckley Pass Road, an unpaved street.
Sarvis Creek/Routt County Road 18
Another less trafficked snowshoeing trail without the crowds of Emerald Mountain is the Sarvis Creek and Routt County Road trek. It runs along the Yampa River, making it highly scenic. Because much of Routtt County Road 18 is not plowed in winter time it remains open to snowshoeing enthusiasts as well as snowmobiles and skiers. It is important to be aware of the snowmobiles with their fishing guides ferrying customers up and down from the best area fishing spots.
Rabbit Ears Pass
Rabbit Ears Pass offers a few beautiful snowshoe treks as well. Some of them are more difficult to do than others. The cross country ski tracks allow for snowshoeing enthusiasts to walk parallel to the tracks. Brochures on this particular trail are available from the United States Forest service.
Prospectors Trail/Trilby Flats
For those clear and sunny days, Trilby Flats offers ideal snowshoe trekking around the open meadows. This lies just north from Hahn’s Peak town. During the summer, the trail is called by the name of Prospectors Trail. It begins off of the Forest Service Road 486.
Fish Creek Falls
A terrific and longer round trip snowshoe trail is the Fish Creek Falls. It runs an impressive 7.6 miles. The trail head is accessed from the parking area on Fish Creek Falls Road. For detailed pictorial information on this trail as well as all of the other trails revealed here, visitors can view the National Forest Service’s maps of the area.
Steamboat Springs Guided Snowshoeing Tours
A great way for those new to the area (or simply new to snowshoeing) to experience the splendor of the Steamboat Springs trails and natural areas is to hire a local guide. These guided tours offer reliable and knowledgeable guides who provide interesting commentary along the way.
Yampatika is an area-based environment educational group. They lead a range of good snowshoe trekking tours during the winter. On Fridays at 10 a.m. they take their guests to the Uranium Mine Trail located near the Fish Creek Falls. They also head up to Emerald Mountain for snowshoeing tours on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. This tour allows for the guests to utilize the chairlift at the beginning of the trek. Most popular of their guided tours are the Yampatika moonlit snowshoe tours. They lead these on nights where the moon is full as the visibility makes most sense then.
There are also various other daily guided snowshoe tours that take in the breathtaking scenery. These generally include snowshoe rentals, lunch, a gondola ride, a guide, and all tax and gratuities. Some of these assemble at the Gondola Square Ski & Sport. During these one to two hour guided tours, guests hear all about the ski area, forest, and nearby community. A following lunch or dinner at Hazie’s scenic restaurant is usually included in these packages.
Renting Snowshoes in Steamboat Springs
It is important to have the right snowshoes’ equipment when people get ready to take up this active, vigorous sport. Snowshoes may look like the user is wearing a pair of tennis rackets, yet they are crucial for the activity. The good news is that they are inexpensive to rent, easy to utilize, and provide enviable access to back country areas where skiers simply can not go.
Snowshoe rentals in the area provide a wide range of sizes. These are designed to easily fit the majority of men, women, and children. The Ski Haus provides Atlas branded snowshoes. Smaller children can rent the Atlas Sprout model. Men will find the Atlas 1030 was created with their needs in mind of a heavy pack on deep snow. These branded snowshoes come in all of the needed sizes to accommodate any condition of snow or body type and size. The most popular snowshoe sizes are consistently the Atlas Electra 1027 and 1023 models for women and the Atlas 1030 and 1025 models for men.
Ready For Your Adventure?
Snowshoeing in Steamboat Springs is an activity that draws in crowds from around the United States. For those who are seeking an alternative day to the traditionally popular skiing activities, snowshoeing allows the entire family to get involved in trekking through the winter wonderland of nature. It delivers a fun day for everyone. The key to remember with many of these popular Steamboat Springs snowshoeing trails is to make sure that they are not too strenuous or vertical a challenge for the skill, stamina, and experience levels of each of the people undertaking them.