After 4 days in Steamboat Springs, we still felt like there were more trails to explore, mineral waters to soak in and food to be licked from our fingers. For everyone whose wondered what to do in Steamboat Springs in the summer, I thought I’d share our itinerary.
**Updated with things we’ve now done on two additional trips.
Steamboat Springs Summer To Do
Let’s start with the basic things that are immediately available to you:
- Saturday Farmer’s Market – it’s enormous and wonderful!
- Trails galore – Panorama trail offers an easy family trail with wildflowers and beautiful views
- Gondola rides – Ride up to the top of the mountain for trails or to enjoy lunch
- Resort area events – Summer set up means coaster rides, rock climbing and other kid friendly fun
- Old Town Hot Springs – Yup, early summer mornings are fabulous here and there’s a great kids play area
- Walk or bike along the river path
- Walk through downtown Steamboat to checkout the wonderful shops and restaurants
Steamboat Springs Summer Events
The number of events in this small town is mind blowing!!
Beyond things you want to do we happened up a Pickle Ball tournament, Rugby Tournament and Sand Volleyball tournament all on the same weekend. This means you can expect to work a little to find parking, but we managed it every where with only a little walking required.
Steamboat Balloon Rodeo
It might mean an earlier than normal morning for many, but it is absolutely worth it! Grab a shuttle out to Bald Eagle Lake and watch over 30 balloons fill and take off right around you.
They hover over the lake making incredible photos and so much fun. There is also a tethered balloon offering rides for kids, along with face painting and some food vendors.
Crazy River Dog Competition
Steamboat kicks off summer the first weekend in June with a kayak rodeo that attracts world-class playboaters.
With a downriver race that is Colorado’s only upstream slalom course (Go figure!) as well as the Crazy River Dog Contest, it’s equal parts fun and competition.
Steamboat Pro Rodeo
You can watch Pro Rodeo every Friday and Saturday night from mid-June through August.
We LOVE going to these. I mean who doesn’t get excited seeing horses and then the thrill of those bull riders.
Cheer your favorite bareback riders, ropers, steer wrestlers and barrel racers, and thrill to the competition of saddle bronc and bull riding. It’s an ongoing Western tradition that began in Steamboat in the early 1900s.
Steamboat Marathon and Half Marathon
The Steamboat Marathon, as you know from my race report, is also held in June.
With both half-marathon and 10K events, it offers a chance for the fit to run through the Rockies — traversing green pastureland along a stunning river, with snow-capped mountains not all that far away. It has been voted one of the top 10 destination marathons in North America.
Other summer events include:
- Annual Mustang Roundup
- Fourth of July Festival
- Art in the Park (we walked through this too, it was HUGE)
- Labor Day Weekend Airfest
- traditional OctoberWest (yup a beer festival)
If you’re looking for current event dates checkout the Chamber of Commerce calendar, it seems to be the most accurate source of info!
For a taste of winter fun in the summer, head for Howelsen Ice Arena: Skate or get serious with ice bumper cars! Or perfect your tennis swing with a workout in cool comfort at the indoor tennis center.
Here’s a breakdown of one of our weekends to give you some ideas!
Day 1: Top of the Mountain
Day one we hopped in the car for the three hour drive to Steamboat and this in fact part of the wonderful journey!
The drive is beautiful through the mountain passes, then along the vibrant green valleys speckled with red barns, buttes, ranchers herding cattle and beautiful Aspens.
Upon arriving, we checked in to the amazing Edgemont at Bear Claw. Situated right along side the mountain, we had an amazing view of the slopes and the summertime kids area!
After settling in we, walked down to grab the eight-passenger gondola up to the top of Mount Werner.
Whether you want to take in sunset from the top, explore some new trails or like my husband take your mountain bike to the top and cruise the trails down, it’s a perfect ride!
One of the reasons the views in Steamboat are so different from other ski resorts is the surrounding area is still filled with cattle ranches and farms. It provides wide open sweeping vistas, rather than only mountains or buildings.
The Oasis Sundeck at the top had one of the best menus I’ve ever found on any kind of resort!
Not just your standard burgers, but I got one of the best salads ever (pepitas, spinach, chickpeas, salmon, peppers — all enough for two!) and David enjoyed a steak avocado toast sandwich. All served with sweeping vistas!
Day 2: Time to Sweat
While we were in town for the Steamboat Half Marathon, you could easily replace that morning with a morning at the Stagecoach Reservoir in a kayak, on stand up paddle boards or borrowing a bike.
After we spent the morning running through the beautiful valley of Steamboat, it was time to give our bodies some much needed replenishment!
Straight from the race, we sauntered (maybe hobbled more accurately) a few blocks further downtown to the Old Town Hot Springs.
Sigh, went every muscle in my body as we dipped in to these all natural mineral pools.
Not a drop of chlorine needed as they refresh entirely every 15 minutes thanks to the Heart Spring pumping approximately 220 gallons of 102-103 degree water out of the ground per minute 1.
While it may not have the outdoorsy nature vibe that attracts people to Strawberry Hot Springs (where we went last time), there are a lot of things we actually liked better:
- The water felt so much warmer
- It wasn’t crowded and you don’t get stuck waiting to park for an hour
- It’s right downtown for easy access
- There are adult only areas
- It’s also home to a lap pool, fitness center and yes slides, giving you plenty to do
David soaked for over two hours and I even enjoyed 90 minutes, which is pretty long for me! This is basically my normal post race epsom salt bath taken up to the next level!
Hot springs are known to help with muscle soreness, relaxation, digestion, skin issues and many other reported benefits!
As the relaxation wore off, it was time to get the adrenaline going again with a ride on the new Mountain Coaster.
We watched people from our condo window doing it all day and couldn’t resist. David hoped aboard for a 10 minute ride, over 27MPH covering nearly 7,000 feet…in other words a long fast ride! He loved it and like any great kid, could probably have gone over and over again, if his stomach wasn’t growling.
Part of the kids area for summer with trampolines, tube slides, water balls and a ropes course.
I don’t usually talk much about food, but honestly I’d be doing you a disservice to skip our dinner at Salt and Lime. I’d consider this a hipster Mexican restaurant, where you can get incredible street tacos!
Tip number 1: Ask to sit on the rooftop deck! You’ll get beautiful views of downtown and let’s be honest, all meals are more relaxed sitting outside.
Tip number 2: Order the cauliflower hash!! I’m actually trying to figure our how to recreate this dish now because it was so phenomenal. My fish taco was also outstanding! Meanwhile David ordered the Bison Frito pie, which was literally served over top a Frito bag! It reminded us both of a taco salad and had a beautiful amount of veggies to my eyes.
Day 3: Restore
Now that we’ve explored and sweated, we needed a to go a little easier.
Luckily, the Rocky Mountain Day Spa is located right in the village, so just a little walk down the hill from our condo. She started the massage with my head and then worked on all the tired muscles from the last two days.
It was phenomenal and for those interested in testing out the benefits of CBD oil for inflammation, they offer it as an add-on!
From there it was time for a little cruising….bike cruising that is!
We snagged some of the biggest most wonderful veggie filled wraps from Drunken Onion, dropped in them a bag and headed off along the Yampa River Core Trail is a paved multi-use trail that connects Steamboat Springs with Bear River Park.
We stopped by the Ski Haus and after pondering a few options, I was excited to go with a cruiser and ensure I really kept it a nice easy going day along the river! A quick street crossing put us right on the trail and we spent the next 14 miles seeing the sights of Steamboat from the river.
One special treat is stopping at the free Yampa River Botanic Garden.
It was much larger than we expected and I found out they offer YOGA IN THE SUMMER!! Oh man, I’ll be timing it right to enjoy this next time around.
“The 6 acre park sits on land donated to the City of Steamboat Springs. The Park is maintained by an Association, a volunteer organization that was delegated by the City to manage the Park, raise funds, hire staff and design, create and maintain the gardens .”
Day 4: Final Vistas
As I said at the beginning, we just weren’t ready to go home. We strapped on our trail shoes again and got to work doing a last morning of exploration, which lead us to one of the most beautiful spots.
It’s not just the visual that Fish Creek Falls offers, it’s the sound that overcomes you and the feeling of the air growing cooler and cooler as you get close to the water.
Fish Creek Falls offers hikers four trails to choose from. One leads to the lower falls, following an easy trail from downtown; another is a challenging trail that leads experienced hikers over a longer route to Long Lake and up 2000 feet!
Again we had to pry ourselves away from this spot and so many others repeatedly throughout this vacation. I can’t wait to go back to snowshoe in the winter, to see the rodeo next year and yup I’m thinking that race and I may need to meet again!
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Steamboat Springs Summer To Do: A Long Weekend Itinerary is written by amanda for www.runtothefinish.com