What To Do in Steamboat When You’re Not Enjoying The Ski Mountain

Published on 11/30/2020 by Brad Luth

Believe it or not, there is more to Steamboat Springs than a ski resort, and you can have just as much fun off the slopes as you do on them. Looking for a few ideas to take a break from skiing on your winter vacation, or trying to appease the non-skiers in your crew? We’re happy to help! From the brainiac to the historian, and even the daredevil – you’re sure to find plenty in this ski town that appeals to every member of the family… no skis required!

Crooked Key Live Escape Games

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435 Lincoln Avenue, Steamboat Springs, Colorado 80487 • (970) 367-7619 • https://crookedkey.com

What’s an escape room, you ask? It’s a themed game room where players find clues, solve puzzles and collaborate with their team in order to escape – all in an hour or less. Escape rooms are a fresh entertainment concept sweeping the nation! Perfect for a corporate team-building outing or an adventure for the whole family! If you used to play RPG’s as a kid, this is that concept come to life. If you’ve never heard of an RPG, this is a chance to prime your brain and literally think your way out of a box. Either way, you’re gonna have a blast. Crooked Key Live Escape Games offers four escape room experiences – one of which is based outdoors.

Downtown Steamboat

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Downtown Steamboat Springs is the “heart of the community”. Discover true Colorado culture in the form of unique boutiques, art galleries, diverse eateries, and more from the Yampa River to Oak Street. Lincoln Avenue is at the center of it all, but don’t miss the side streets for some authentic hidden gems, including vintage finds, rustic décor, and vibrant Rocky Mountain personality. Downtown Steamboat plays host to an array of popular community events throughout the year, like the Winter Carnival, First Friday Art Walks, the Main Street Steamboat Farmers Market, and a free summer concert series. There are more than 150 retail shops in Downtown Steamboat Springs and dozens of restaurants, as well as two breweries.

Scenic Gondola Rides

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2305 Mt Werner Circle, Steamboat Springs, Colorado 80487 • https://www.steamboat.com/things-to-do/activities/scenic-gondola-rides

You don’t have to be skiing the backcountry to take in the views above it on a scenic gondola ride up Mt. Werner at the Steamboat Ski Resort. The new Steamboat Gondola opened in November, 2019 with updates, new cabins, and a speeder ride time – just under eight minutes to the top of the gondola at Thunderhead Lodge. Ride tickets are valid for one ride per day. This is also a great way to watch the action of skiers and snowboards gracefully gliding down the slopes! Please note: Due to COVID-19 restrictions, scenic gondola rides will not be available this year.

Wild West Balloon Adventures

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(970) 879-9191 • https://www.wildwestballooning.com

Hot air balloon rides offer a spellbinding perspective of our ski town and the mountains and valleys that surround it, including the Flat Top Mountains, Yampa Valley, Hahn’s Peak, and stands of evergreen and aspen trees. Flights last approximately 45 minutes, departing at early morning between 7-8AM. The experience includes continental breakfast, a champagne toast, a personalized flight certificate, and shuttle service (upon request).

Natural Hot Springs

Photo Credit: Lisa Elliott via Flickr CC2.0

After a long day on the slopes, nothing beats soaking in our namesake natural hot springs. BUT if you want to skip the skiing and go directly to the soothing mineral pools, we wouldn’t blame you one bit! These iconic springs are among our most valued natural treasures, and a favorite pastime for locals and visitors alike. Steamboat Springs is part of the 720-mile Colorado Historic Hot Springs Loop, featuring two of the most popular spring-fed pools: Strawberry Park Hot Springs and Old Town Hot Springs. Located less than 7 miles from Downtown Steamboat along Hot Springs Creek, Strawberry Park Hot Springs is one of the finest in the world, with 104 degree waters year-round, nestled beside the Routt National Forest and champagne powder snow. Facilities include restrooms, a heated cabin for changing, picnic areas, massage services, and limited concessions. Old Town Hot Springs is a multi-use recreation facility offering eight natural mineral pools, an aquatic rock climbing wall, two water slides, a sports park, kiddie pool, and a fitness center in the heart of Downtown Steamboat Springs on Lincoln Avenue and 3rd Street. Pools vary in temperature from 80-103 degrees, including the iconic Heart Spring, pumping approximately 220 gallons of 102-103 degree water out of the ground per minute.

Howelsen Hill

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Howelsen Parkway, Steamboat Springs, Colorado 80487 • http://steamboatsprings.net/131/Howelsen-Hill-Ski-Area

Don’t let the name mislead you, Howelsen Hill Ski Area offers so much more than skiing! If you want to take advantage of the white stuff in a different way, this is the place to do it! Boasting a remarkable history in the world of competitive skiing, Howelsen Hill is as beneficial to fun-seeking families as it is to competitive Olympians in training. It is the state’s oldest continuously operated ski area, and home to the largest natural ski jumping complex in North America. A pass or lift ticket is required to participate in winter activities on the Howelsen Hill Nordic trail system, including fat biking or snowshoeing. This is also the site of the only ice facility in Colorado to offer Bumper-Cars-On-Ice – the Howelsen Ice Complex. This regulation rink also hosts youth hockey and ice skating.

Saddleback Ranch

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36975 Co Rd 179, Steamboat Springs, Colorado 80487 • (970) 879-3711 • https://saddlebackranch.net

A genuine working cattle ranch just outside of Steamboat Springs, Saddleback Ranch is a rustic winter wonderland with great, traditional fun for the whole family. This secluded, 8,000 acre ranch offers horseback riding, sleigh rides, snowmobile tours snow tubing, and more. You can explore the trails on horseback for a laid-back natural excursion, or whiz down the tubing hill for an exhilarating rush – wild or mild, just set your dial! You can even make an evening of it with a romantic touch by opting for a 30-minute sleigh ride to the Double Dollar Lodge where you’ll be treated to a delicious home-cooked dinner and a roping lesson.

Love Climbing Adventures

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2673 Jacob Circle, Steamboat Springs, Colorado 80487 • (970) 761-2686 • http://loveclimbing.co

Are you a born climber who doesn’t want to get rusty while you’re on your ski vacation? Or maybe you haven’t tried a climbing wall in years but want to see if you’ve still got it? Even if it’s your first-time climb, Love Climbing Adventures is an indoor climbing gym offering courses to help you hone your skills. Most courses are for ages 14 and up, though there are programs for all ages. Special events include black light climbing, live music, and movie nights as well as daily strength and yoga classes. When you’re ready to put your newfound climbing skills to the test in an outdoor environment, join the trusted expert guides at Rocky Mountain Ventures providing ice climbing, hiking, and snowshoe tours in scenic areas like Rabbit Ears Pass, Fish Creek Falls, and Routt National Forest.

Tread of Pioneers Museum

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800 Oak Street, Steamboat Springs, Colorado 80477 • (970) 879-2214 • http://www.treadofpioneers.org

Steamboat Springs has a rich ranching heritage spanning over 150 years. If you’re a history buff, or you’re just curious about what went on back in the day in this big little city, you owe it to yourself to check out this comprehensive museum. It sits in a historic house at 800 Oak Street and features a plethora of exhibits and programs that show you – sometimes hands on – what life was like here in the Yampa Valley in the times of the pioneers through the 1960s when the ski area first opened. The museum is constantly hosting special historic-themed events and can also give you pointers for quaint places to visit so you can see Yampa Valley history for yourself.