Things To Do In Steamboat During The Summer
Published on 07/21/2020 by Brad Luth
Do you think that the only time to visit Steamboat Springs is during ski season? Think again! Summer is an amazing time to visit Colorado and Steamboat. Check out our list of essential summer activities for your next Rocky Mountain escape! All of the following activities are currently open and ready for you this summer. Please check with individual locations for any applicable COVID-19 guidelines and practices.
Explore eight spring-fed pools and an aquatic climbing wall at Old Town Hot Springs. Located in downtown Steamboat Springs, it’s something for the entire family to participate in and enjoy. It’s near the free town bus stop at 3rd Street and Lincoln or you can take a hotel shuttle. The eight pools feature ranging temperatures, including the 80-degree lap pool. There is no diluting their mineral content as in other nearby springs. One of the pools, The Heart Spring, isn’t chlorinated and contains all natural minerals, including lithium and sulfate, both known for relaxation. There’s also a Main Pool, Waterfall Hot Pool, a Smaller Hot Pool, a Water Slide Pool, Splash Pool, Lap Pool, a Kiddie/Shallow Pool, and a floating obstacle course. As an alternative, to keep the focus on pure relaxation, make a reservation to soak away your worries at Strawberry Park Hot Springs.
Hike the Spring Creek Trail… And More
A popular multi-use trail about seven miles north of Steamboat, Spring Creek Trail is open for hiking and mountain biking It’s a 10.1 mile out-and-back trail, for easy to moderate hikes. You’ll see nature at its best with all the beautiful wildflowers, especially the Blue Columbine. The butterflies are very colorful and fun to watch. This trail is at its best from April to November.
If hiking trails are of interest, Spring Creek is just the beginning of your options! Minutes from downtown Steamboat, you can explore the wilderness playground of Buffalo Pass – a mountain pass that crosses the Continental Divide with spectacular views of the Yampa Valley, and access to the Mount Zirkel wilderness and Summit Lake. There are numerous trails for hikes, mountain bikes, and horseback riding adventures. Consider the Thunderhead Hiking Trail – a moderate single-track trail between the top of the gondola and the base of the mountain, for a scenic trek through mountain aspen and evergreen groves, OR the Yampa River Core Trail – a 7.5-mile paved multi-use trail that runs through the heart of Steamboat Springs along the Yampa River.
Ride The Outlaw Mountain Coaster
The Outlaw Mountain Coaster is the longest mountain roller coaster in North America. It’s 6,280 linear feet and descends more than 400 vertical feet, featuring turns, waves, dips, and 360-degree circles that twists downwards towards the base below in a ten-minute thrill ride. You control the speed using brake technology. Located near the Christie Peak Express, the coaster is part of the ski resort’s Land Up Day Pass that includes two rides as well as a round of mini golf and unlimited gondola rides in a single day.
Ride The Alpine Slide
An exciting event and fun for the entire family, the Howler Alpine Slide offers scenic views of downtown Steamboat, going up the chairlift to Howelsen Hill. This exhilarating ride winds down a 2,400 foot track curving and winding along the mountain in a sled. The lift is located on Howelsen Parkway across the Yampa River from downtown. Children ages 2 – 6 may ride with a paying parent. If thrill rides are your thing, check out the state-of-the-art six segment zipline course at Steamboat Zipline Adventures, open from June through October!
Visit Saddleback Ranch
Don’t miss Saddleback Ranch for authentic western experiences just 17 miles west of Steamboat. This 8,000 acre, working cattle ranch is run by three Lacovetto families. During the summer, the ranch is home to horseback riding, ATV tours, cattle drives, and wagon rides. You can take a horse-drawn wagon ride to the lodge for a delicious dinner, and then take a horseback ride back to the ranch while marveling at the sunset. They will also teach you how to rope a calf! A tributary of the Yampa River meanders through the ranch, alongside the original train tracks of the Union Pacific railroad.
Only a few miles east of Steamboat is the spectacular Stagecoach Reservoir at Stagecoach State Park. Whether you enjoy wakeboarding or wakesurfing, try them both on Steamboat Lake. The lake is open for boating from May 1 – November 1. You’ll have the picturesque mountains in the background as you turn, jump and carve the wakes with wakeboarding speed boats, specifically designed with your adrenaline in mind. Water skiing, tubing, and knee boarding are also available at the 820-acre reservoir. Stagecoach State Park is also a great home base for exploring the Flattops and Sarvis Creek Wilderness Areas. Local outfitters can help get you out on the water, but Stagecoach offers a free gear rental program allowing visitors to enjoy many of the activities available in the park. In the summer, the Marina rents equipment for fly fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and more.
Downtown Steamboat Springs and Main Street are the heart of the community, and home to an original collection of art galleries, spas, museums, shops, eateries, and more. Start your day with a warm coffee and a good book and wind down in the evening with happy hour or a stop at an ice cream shop. On Saturdays from June through September, Main Street is also home to the Steamboat Farmers Market. Day or night, downtown Steamboat is the place to be!
Tour Local Breweries
Make sure to check out local breweries on the Steamboat Brew Trail offering tours and tasting rooms. After a full day of activities, it might be nice to chill out with a cold brewed beer from a mountain brewery – or maybe even a sample of small-batch whiskey, vodka, gin, or moonshine from the Steamboat Whiskey Company! The trail is less than three miles in length, winding along the Yampa River through town – an easy walk for a safe taste of local culture!
Walk through Yampa River Botanic Park
This is truly a gem of a park and one of the most beautiful parks in the state. Even though it’s only six acres, there are over 50 gardens, ponds, and berms to relax and enjoy. Nineteen pieces of sculpture are placed in the gardens throughout the Park as well. At an altitude of 6800 feet above sea level, both alpine and desert plants are found here. During the summer, there are festivals, weddings, and yoga classes in the park. The Botanic Park is free and open to the public from the beginning of May through the end of October.
Go Tubing Along the Yampa River
What could be more fun than to tube down the Yampa River? It’s a favorite thing to do for most everyone in Steamboat. Rent an inner tube and spend an hour or more floating down the river through town. You can stop at one of the parks, restaurants, or bars along the way to extend your day’s journey. The rapids are small and friendly, so all ages enjoy this fun activity. Most begin tubing at the 5th Street Bridge and a shuttle service will bring you back to your origin spot.
If you really want to see some outstanding views of Steamboat and the surrounding areas, there’s no better way to do so than to ride the new gondola – renovated in summer of 2019. These enclosed gondolas will seat up to eight people. If you’re there for lunch, stop in at the Oasis Sundeck for a relaxing meal. Scenic gondola ride tickets are valid for one ride per day, 10am-5pm, weather permitting. The last download from the top of the gondola is at 5:30pm. To keep the exploration going, there are 30 miles of cross-country multi-use trails on Mt. Werner you can access for free.
It’s a really nice and unexpected surprise to find beaches in the mountains. Located at the base of Steamboat Ski Area, the beaches host clear, cool water from Burgess Creek. Children will love the shallow water, just perfect for splashing. Locate one of the Adirondack chairs where you can sunbathe or just enjoy the view of children playing in the water or sand. There are also mini waterfalls and rocks for sitting or climbing on. Don’t forget to pack a picnic lunch!
This new 18-hole mini golf course offers a challenging and fun experience for the whole family. It’s located at the base of the Steamboat Ski Area and features some of the area’s most notable, iconic landmarks, such as: Nordic ski jumps, Fish Creek Falls, Steamboat barn, and Rabbit Ears rock formation. Maverick Mini Golf is included in the Land Up Day Pass that includes two mountain coaster rides as well as a round of mini golf and unlimited gondola rides in a single day. If you’re up for a more seasoned challenge, why not check out the Haymaker Golf Course – an 18-hole, championship public course in the lush Yampa Valley, ranked among the Top 10 in the state of Colorado.
One of the best places to learn about Steamboat’s history is the Tread of Pioneers Museum. You’ll learn about the Native Americans, early settlers, ranchers, miners, and outlaws that played a role in the founding of Steamboat Springs. The exhibits, events, tours, and activities are complete with interactive videos and computers. There’s also a really nice gift shop as part of the museum. The heart of the museum is a 1901 Queen Anne-style Victorian home with turn-of-the-century furnishings.
This is one of the most popular destinations for people visiting Steamboat. At 280 feet in height, Fish Creek Falls is always magnificent! In the summer when the ice has melted from the snow, the clear alpine water flows down Fish Creek Canyon, spilling over and creating the falls. Enjoy a short 1/4-mile walk down a gravel path to the lower falls, or opt for a moderate hike with picturesque views to Upper Fish Creek Falls and Long Lake in the Routt National Forest.