The Best Places for Wildflowers in Steamboat Springs

Published on 04/29/2021 by Conrad

There are many amazing things to see and do in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, located just 157 miles outside Denver and 162 miles from Boulder. There are many nature-viewing options for exploring, situated among both Routt National Forest and Rocky Mountain National Park. Of course, there are fantastic places to ski in the winter, but did you know that one of the town’s best features comes in spring and summer?

The feature that we are talking about is the Steamboat Springs wildflowers. They are plentiful in the area, and people walk all over our town to get the best views of them. 

Some of the most popular wildflowers in the area are:

  • Glacier lilies
  • Mountain bluebells
  • Colorado columbine
  • Spring beauties
  • Indian paintbrush
  • Larkspur
  • Fireweed
  • Lupine
  • Wild daisies
  • Mule’s ears sunflowers

People travel to Steamboat Springs from all over the world to see the beautiful wildflowers. To help you along in this journey to see our attractive assets, we have compiled a list of the best Steamboat Springs wildflower hikes and viewing spots.

Steamboat Springs Wildflowers at Buffalo Pass

Photo Credit: skatherine28 via Instagram

This popular hiking spot runs between Steamboat Springs and Walden, Colorado. There are varying degrees of difficulty among their hiking areas. However, you can see some of the best wildflower sightings on the more accessible options. 

Buffalo Pass is one of the best places for wildflowers in Steamboat Springs, being that the trail is only minutes from downtown. There are numerous options for getting to the sites themselves, including hiking, biking, and boat. Buffalo Pass is part of the Routt National Forest and does not require an entry fee to visit.

To visit Buffalo Pass, take Strawberry Park Road to County Road 38. The Pass follows along there and Highway 14. There is parking available on location. However, it does fill up quickly. Be sure to arrive early to guarantee better availability.

You will love being able to walk the path at your leisure while taking in the beautiful flowers and nature. This Pass has so much to offer to both residents and tourists alike. 

Rabbit Ears Pass

Photo Credit: thewxwoman via Instagram

Routt National Forest’s popular destination has its name due to the rabbit ear shape that it has. Not only is this area known for the beautiful wildflowers that bloom, but it is also home to a 10,000-foot climb that looks over the forest. With that being said, there are other, more accessible options to venture on and still see amazing views.

One of the best hikes to take in the pass is Rabbit Ears Peak Trail. The trail is six miles in length and goes around the rock formation of the iconic rabbit ears. The area also allows for camping and off-roading. There is no fee to visit Rabbit Ears Pass.

If you are interested in visiting this famous pass, it’s easy to get to from Steamboat Springs. Heading east on Highway 40, you will come upon Rabbit Ears Pass. Parking is available at several locations on the highway. 

Seeing shapes depicted in natural materials is always a fun experience. Don’t miss out on seeing the rabbit ears within the summit. It is a visual memory you will carry with you always!

Red Dirt Trail

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Although the Red Dirt Trail rating is difficult in hiking, it is a beautiful spot for a Steamboat Springs wildflower hike. Many have reported finding a large number of wildflowers in just the first mile of the 12.7-mile trail. 

This trail has a river and lots of wildlife. It is essential to be diligent about watching for animals, as you can frequently see elk and bear in the area. With that being said, it is also the chosen spot for many bird watchers, runners, hikers, and backpackers. Therefore, you will encounter many humans on your adventure. Although there is no entry fee to visit Red Dirt Trail, it is closed from December 1 – April 15th to protect the wildlife. Red Dirt Trail is part of the Routt National Forest.

To visit Red Dirt Trail, you have to travel nine miles out of Steamboat Springs. Take Routt County Road 129 to Mad Creek Trailhead to access the trail. Parking is available in two separate locations.

Even if you aren’t up for a strenuous hike, it is still worthwhile to visit this trail. If not for a short walk, but the beautiful views. These are memories you will take with you always and recount in stories later on.

Fish Creek Falls

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This popular wildflower hike also features a beautiful waterfall. What’s more, to see the waterfall and the beautiful wildflowers is just a short ¼ mile hike down a gravel path. This path is also stroller and wheelchair-friendly. If you want to see everything from a different view, there is a more moderate hike available. 

Fish Creek Falls is within the Routt National Forest and requires $5 to park and visit. The area itself offers many different activities, from hiking in the spring and summer to snowshoeing and ice climbing in the winter.

If you are interested in visiting Fish Creek Falls, it is easily accessible from Highway 40. From there, you go north on 3rd Street, followed by a right on Fish Creek Falls Road. Parking is available four miles down the road.

Even if you didn’t see one wildflower, the trip to Fish Creek Falls is worth it for the waterfall alone. Don’t miss out on this spectacular sight! With the easy walking path that is stroller and wheelchair accessible, everyone in your group will be able to enjoy it with you!

Uranium Mine Trail

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This popular nature trail is moderately difficult and heavily trafficked. People love visiting Uranium Mine Trail for its moderate 3.1-mile path. When you visit this popular Steamboat Spring wildflower hike, you will see people running, walking, photographing nature, and exploring the beautiful scenery. At the end of the hike, you come upon a creek where you can stop to rest before heading back.

Like a few of the others, this area has a $5 entry fee. They have available bathrooms, and the mine that gives the trail its name still resides along the path. Although you can see it from a distance, the mine is gated off for safety reasons.

When you go to Uranium Mine Trail, you drive up Fish Creek Falls Road. You will come across a U.S.Forest Service parking lot, where you enter the trail and pay for your day pass.

This location’s history is fascinating and makes for a great addition to the nature viewing you can do while there. Take the time to check out the mine and learn about its purpose while you are there.

Emerald Mountain

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Like most of the trails within Colorado, Emerald Mountain offers more than just fantastic wildflower scenery. In particular, this one has impressive hiking trails and the ability to mountain bike and horseback ride. The Emerald Mountain trails offer beautiful views of Mt. Werner, Sleeping Giant Mountain, and other parts of the Yampa Valley.

Emerald Mountain has both difficult and easily accessible hiking paths. It is essential to be mindful of wildlife, as this area remains closed for several months (December 1 – June 30) to allow for elk grazing. Therefore, nature is abundant throughout the region. Emerald Mountain is part of the Rocky Mountain National Park and requires a paid daily pass. This pass is per vehicle and paid at entry.

To get to the trails at Emerald Mountain, you go down Howelsen Parkway a short distance. You can find the Emerald Mountain trails just two minutes from downtown Steamboat Springs.

The greatest thing about this location is the large number of opportunities you have for adventure. You are not limited to one activity or nature scene. Instead, you can explore many different places and participate in an abundance of experiences. 

And Don’t Forget

There are many beautiful trails to visit in and around Steamboat Springs. These are just a few of the more popular ones. Seeing wildflowers in bloom in such large amounts is a gift that not all can see. If you are in the area during the time they are in bloom, be sure to check them out. It is a treat to be able to experience the beauty that the wildflowers provide.

Steamboat Springs offers experiences for everyone, and not just during the winter months as many may think. Not only do we have the fantastic wildflower hikes, but many other nature and water activities as well. In many locations, there is the ability to participate in horseback riding as well as fishing. There are also many opportunities for offroading and riding ATVs. And with the vast amount of rivers and lakes, many places offer swimming, boating, and tubing.

Last but not least, we have an endless amount of scenic nature available for exploration and photography. It is a beautiful place to visit solo or with friends and family. You will find something entertaining for all in your group.