Exploring On The Yampa River Core Trail

Published on 08/21/2018 by Brad Luth

Steamboat Springs offers many memorable attractions and activities, but one of the city’s features that stands out for both locals and visitors is the Yampa River Core Trail. A paved path that runs through the center of Steamboat Springs, the Core Trail not only connects people from one end of town to the other, but it also offers beautiful scenery and year-round activities for people of all ages.

Lucky to catch some sun between snow and rain.

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About the Core Trail

The Core Trail is a paved, multi-use trail that winds 7.5 miles alongside the Yampa River and right through the heart of downtown Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The trail is open to the public for free 24 hours a day. Whether you choose to walk, run, bike or skateboard, you will enjoy the picturesque landscapes that change from cottonwood tree groves to mountains and meadows dotted with wildflowers as the Yampa River trickles over rocks, turns and rushes at different points alongside the path.

What’s more, the Core Trail is a year-round route, offering something for everyone, from snow skiing and ice skating in the winter to summer picnic spots and scenic overlooks to wildlife viewing, playgrounds and recreational parks as well as access to downtown Steamboat Springs and some of the city’s main attractions. For your convenience, you’ll find multiple bathroom facilities and gazebos along the trail.

Points of Interest

No matter what time of year you visit Steamboat Springs, you’ll discover that the Core Trail offers attractions and activities year-round. The following are points of interest that you can access from the Core Trail.

Art Depot

Located in a former train depot, the Art Depot is the home of the Steamboat Springs Art Council, which is dedicated to supporting and showcasing local Yampa Valley arts and culture through both visual and performing arts. You can visit the Art Depot Tuesday through Friday between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. or on Saturday between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.


Steamboat Springs provides the public with 29 recreational parks. Of these public parks, 14 can be accessed by the Core Trail. These parks offer various facilities and features that include athletic fields, barbecues, bike and skate parks, mineral springs, fishing ponds, open play areas, horseshoe pits, picnic tables, playgrounds, shade trees, restrooms, shelters, and tennis and volleyball courts. The following parks are accessed via the Core Trail:

Bear River Skateboard Park


Steamboat Springs Park

Little Toots Park

Howelsen Hill Park–horseback riding

Ski Town Lions Park

Emerald Park

Fletcher Park–fishing pond

Dr. Rich Weiss Park

Snake Island

Rotary Park

River Creek Park

**West Lincoln Park

**Yampa River Botanic Park

**West Lincoln Park is the host of the annual Balloon Rodeo and Art in the Park events that take place over one weekend during mid-July. You can watch dozens of colorful hot air balloons launch into the sky as well as various competitions and live entertainment. Afterward, browse more than 150 arts and crafts vendors.

**The Yampa River Botanic Park is one of the city’s most popular attractions, presenting six acres of gardens and winding paths that feature native trees, flowers, sculptures and ponds. A children’s garden provides an amphitheater and a playhouse. Free to the public, the Yampa River Botanic Park is open from dawn to dusk between mid-April and the end of October.

The Brent Romick Arena and Rodeo Grounds

Yep, #myfirstrodeo. #nyc2ut

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The Brent Romick Arena and rodeo grounds are the home of the Steamboat Pro Rodeo Series every Friday and Saturday night between mid-June and mid-August.

During Labor Day weekend in September, the arena plays host to the Rocky Mountain Bull Bash, featuring some of the world’s leading professional bull riders.

Howelsen Ski Area and Howelsen Ice Complex

We won the cup last week in Steamboat!!! @rmhshockey

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The Howelsen Ice Complex features an Olympic-sized ice rink where you can enjoy ice skating, hockey and bumper car rides on ice.

As North America’s largest natural ski jumping complex and Colorado’s oldest ski area in continual use, the Howelsen Ski Area offers cross-country/downhill skiing, night skiing, snow-biking, snowshoeing and snowboarding during the winter as well as basketball, tennis and volleyball courts during the summer.

Bud Werner Memorial Library


If you prefer a more low-key activity, the Bud Werner Memorial Library is a great place to go read a book or use a computer with free Wi-Fi.

Shopping and Dining

Since the Core Trail passes right through the historic Steamboat Springs downtown area, you may want to check out some of the various shops and restaurants.

For shopping options, you’ll find a little of everything from ice cream parlors to coffee shops, fine art galleries, outfitters and Western wear stores, bookstores, fashion boutiques and gift shops.

A diversity of restaurants range from fast food to pizza eateries, Southern cooking, steak and seafood, Western barbecue, health food, bakeries, delis and various international cuisines such as Italian, French, Mexican and Mediterranean.

Yampa River Tubing and Fishing

Photo Credit: cadeandmollyadventures via Instagram

Tubing down the Yampa River is a popular activity among both locals and visitors in Steamboat Springs. If you don’t have your own tube, you can rent one from suppliers located along the river.

The Yampa River is known for its abundant population of rainbow trout, and you can cast your line in from the Core Trail at many different spots.

Getting to the Core Trail

Exploring In The Yampa River Core Trail
Photo Credit: Rails-to-Trails Conservancy via Flickr CC2.0

To reach the Yampa River Core Trail in Steamboat Springs, you can drive and park at one of the various parking lots along the trail. While some locations may be restricted to hourly parking, there are no parking fees.

Parking Locations:

  • Near the Bud Werner Memorial Library off 13th Street
  • 12th Street by Little Toots Park
  • The athletic fields on Howelsen Parkway
  • Pamela Lane
  • Tree Haus Road
  • Lincoln Avene

You can also access the Core Trail by way of walking from the downtown area, taking the city’s courtesy bus, or renting a bike at rental locations along Yampa Street.

Networking Trails

The Core Trail also offers links to Walton Creek Trail, which passes by the Emerald Mountain biking trails and the Steamboat Springs Ski Resort.

North and South End Points

You will find the north end of the Core Trail at Lagoon Court on Lincoln Avenue and the south end along Dougherty Road.


While the Core Trail is paved throughout the entire route, visitors should take caution during periods of heavy rains and high water, especially during May and June.