Blake Walsh

21 Best Things to Do in Steamboat Springs, CO

  • Published 2023/03/03

Nestled close to the Yampa River, Steamboat Springs is a thriving municipality in Colorado with a lot to offer.

Established in 1900, this town has come a long way from a settlement with only one family to over 13,000 people today.

Winter recreations such as skiing and snowboarding are popular in Steamboat Springs, but the place also has exciting attractions in other seasons.

Whether you’re into casual trips to peaceful destinations or prefer dynamic adventures with active sports and recreation, Steamboat Springs gives you what you want.

Here are the best things to do in Steamboat Springs, CO:

Hike at Fish Creek Falls

Scenic view of Fish Creek Falls

Erik Cox Photography /

You’ll find this beautiful trail close to downtown Steamboat Springs, along Anglers Drive.

There are two hikes: a simple short trek that gives you a downtown view of the waterfalls or a moderate hike that involves trekking upwards to have a better, complete view of Upper Fish Creek Falls.

You’ll see a stunning view of natural waterfalls spanning around 280 feet.

The base of Fish Creek Falls

Erik Cox Photography /

Watch the waterfall come to life as clear freshwater pours down from the top of the falls, and listen to the splashing sounds of water meeting rocks.

It’s one of nature’s best performances.

Stop by these one-of-a-kind waterfalls when you visit Steamboat Springs.

Stunning view of Fish Creek Falls

William Cushman /

Hike up Emerald Mountain

The Emerald Mountain is a beautiful piece of nature west of downtown Steamboat Springs.

With a variety of easy and challenging trails to choose from, this mountain provides many opportunities to explore nature’s bounty.

Hike or bike along the calming paths with many plants and flowers welcoming you in various directions.

You could also get sneak peeks of animal wildlife like bears and moose.

Enjoy sweeping views of Steamboat Springs, Yampa River, and other mountains nearby.

Don’t forget to visit Emerald Mountain when you’re in Steamboat Springs!

Explore the Steamboat Art Museum

In 2004, a group of local artists established the Steamboat Art Museum in Steamboat Springs.

They wanted to enrich Steamboat Springs’ fine art and culture.

Before that, the building was a longstanding local bank that gave the museum its classic Romanesque sandstone archway.

The founders of Steamboat Art Museum wanted to keep most of the building’s old design to give it a historical flair.

Inside, you’ll see their collection of artworks that primarily feature paintings and sculptures.

Like other museums, their exhibit themes often change to give locals a reason to visit more than once.

Ride the Gondola at Steamboat Ski Resort

People skiing at Steamboat Ski Resort

Elisa Locci /

Located within Park Range, the Steamboat Ski Resort is one of the most popular destinations in the area!

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a beginner or an expert.

There are a variety of easy and challenging terrains for you to try.

Steamboat Ski Resort's ski lift chairs

Likoper /

You’ll ride a scenic gondola with stunning sights of Mt. Werner and a little bit of Steamboat Springs on the way up.

Since it’s a resort, there are plenty of amenities like restaurants, bars, and a bus system to ensure that you also enjoy easy access and convenience.

Skiing is a must-try activity in Steamboat Springs, and this ski resort is one of the highest-rated in town, so drop by!

Buddy Werner statue at Steamboat Ski Resort

Murray Foubister, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Spend the Day at Amaze’n Steamboat Family Fun Park

This tourist attraction is perfect for people who want to let loose and fun under the sun!

Opened in 1996, they built this small venue behind the Steamboat Springs Chamber of Commerce.

It has the vibes of a warm, cozy park with trees and colorful flowers scattered around the area.

Exciting activities here include mini-golf, gemstone panning, squirt gun fun, laser tag, human maze, etc.

A visit to this park can last you hours because there are so many things to try.

Bring your friends and family when you head to Amaze’n Steamboat Family Fun Park!

Ride the Howler Alpine Slide

You should try riding down the Howler Alpine Slide in summer if you want excitement.

From 2,400 feet, you’ll slide down a curvy, twisting path while sitting on one of their specially made sleds.

It’s an exhilarating slide that gives you stunning views of the forest and small peeks of Steamboat Springs.

If you have a child, put them on your lap and ride the Howler.

What are you waiting for?

Relax in Old Town Hot Springs

Steamboat Springs is also home to a collection of hot springs.

Situated along Lincoln Avenue, Old Town’s waters comprise natural, mineral-rich nutrients such as lithium and sulfate, which have calming effects.

The springs in this resort have pumped out fresh hot water for over 100 years!

Their main hot spring connects to other pools and spas in the resort, spreading the natural spring water and providing more variety for guests.

Besides swimming, you can join their aquatic fitness class, climb their rock wall, and go on two water slides.

Soothe your muscles and freshen up your mind with a visit to Old Town Hot Springs.

Learn from the Tread of Pioneers Museum

Built in 1901, this building was first a residential home of the Zimmerman family.

It wasn’t until 1959 when a group of locals decided to open a museum for historical relics and artifacts related to Steamboat Springs and Routt County.

The Tread of Pioneers Museum is now the perfect place to visit if you’d like to know more about the town’s past.

Learn about the Native Americans, popular recreation like skiing, and how the town developed into what it is today.

There are also kid-friendly exhibits featuring interactive videos, scavenger hunts, an oral history library, etc.

Ride a Hot Air Balloon with Wild West Balloon Adventures

Colorful hot air ballon of Wild West Balloon Adventures

Edward H. Campbell /

Soar through the sky with Wild West Balloon Adventures.

In 1998, Ian Cox started this activity out of his passion for the outdoors and flying balloons.

Ride in a bright, colorful hot air balloon and feel the wind in your hair from 2,500 feet off the ground.

View of a hot air ballon of Wild West Balloon Adventures above steamboat springs

dbking, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You’ll also get sweeping views of Steamboat Springs, surrounding mountains, and an inactive volcano to the north side.

It’s a lifetime’s worth of unique experiences that you rarely get in other cities.

Head towards Dougherty Road and get ready for take-off!

Cool Off at Fetcher Park

Do you need to beat the heat?

Fetcher Park is home to Fetcher Pond, where guests can enjoy some water recreation leisurely.

You can bring your fishing rods and paddleboards to this calm, stable pond.

Guests are also free to swim around, making this spot a great place to relax, clear the mind, and have fun along the way.

Nestled along Fetcher Park Drive, check out Fetcher Park!

Try Skiing at the Steamboat Ski Touring Center

Skiing is a popular sport in Steamboat Springs, having cultivated several professional ski athletes.

Check out the Steamboat Ski Touring Center to experience the joy of skiing during the winter.

Located at Steamboat Boulevard, this center offers ski lessons, guided tours, and self-trails for those skiing independently.

You could also snowshoe through Steamboat’s backcountry, passing through stunning views of dense forests and rolling hills capped with snow.

Enjoy an active, snowy adventure through Steamboat Ski Touring Center!

Enjoy the Show at Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo

Laugh and cheer at Steamboat Springs Rodeo, where cowboys and cowgirls compete in exciting rodeo games like bareback riding, team roping, and steer wrestling.

There are also children-friendly competitions where they race to capture a pink ribbon tied to one of the rodeo’s calves.

Observing over 60 strict rules on animal rights and welfare, rodeo staff properly cares for the horses and animals along the highest standards.

Do you know what else goes well with the rodeo?

Grab a delicious plate of BBQ meals which you can customize from ribs, chicken, and brisket with free sides of potato salad, beans, watermelon, and some bread rolls.

Appreciate Nature at Yampa River Botanic Park

The waters of Yampa River Botanic Park

Cynthia Farmer /

Vibrant flowers and active wildlife await those who explore the Yampa River Botanic Park.

Since 1995, it’s become a safe relaxation space for locals and travelers.

Seeing over 35,000 visitors annually, this public park is one of the most popular destinations in Steamboat Springs.

Pick up a brochure and explore their garden of plants, trees, and flowers which may change depending on the season.

Various animals visit the garden, such as hummingbirds, chipmunks, moose, beavers, bears, etc.

Plus, this botanic park is home to a collection of animal sculptures like the turtle at the edge of a pond, a swan flying above the pond, and a bear in the hidden garden.

Make a Splash at Burgess Creek Beach

A small, cozy artificial beach at the bottom of Mount Werner is an excellent pitstop while traveling up the mountains.

As its name suggests, Burgess Creek Beach has all the makings of a mixed creek and beach.

It features a sand area, rocks, and a waterscape to splash in for hotter days.

There’s also an incredible mini waterfall nearby.

Enjoy a vista of the Emerald Mountains from downtown.

It’s a great place to visit with kids who can splash their way around the creek.

Drop by Burgess Creek Beach when you’re in Steamboat Springs!

Play at the Haymaker Golf Course

You’re in for a pleasant game of golf at the Haymaker Golf Course in the lush and thriving Yampa Valley.

The vast plains of this course are lush with bright, vivid greens that span 233 acres.

Also, diverse terrains such as wetlands, sand traps, and elevated areas give you a challenging game.

One of its best features is its seamless blending with the mountain range view, providing a constant backdrop of nature wherever you look.

Dine at the Haymaker Grill and try their version of American comfort food if you ever get hungry.

Whether you’re a golf fan or want to try out a new sport, the Haymaker Golf Course is a beautiful place to explore in Steamboat Springs.

Shoot the Target at Three Quarter Circles

For a thrilling activity in Steamboat Springs, drive west of town along US Highway 40 to find this open-air gun range.

Once there, use their guns and test your skills in target practice, with guidance from their trained staff.

The venue features 12-course levels, but not all players can try every level.

If the staff think your skills are good enough, they’ll let you head onwards to the more challenging courses.

But even if your skills are beginner-level, you can continue to shoot in the practice range while enjoying a lush view of the Yampa Valley River and the parallel mountains as a backdrop.

Drop by Three-Quarter Circles and level up your marksmanship skills!

Speed On Skates at the Howelsen Ice Complex

If you want to have some fun on the ice,you can bring the family to theHowelsen Ice Complex on Howelsen Parkway.

This indoor rink is the only ice facility in Colorado that offers Bumper-Cars-on-Ice.

Ride on a big battery-operated rubber tube and go bum and slide with other cars, or even go for a 360-degree spin!

Zoom on your skates at the rink or have a friendly game of broomball or hockey.

You can also join several adult and youth hockey and skating programs and figure-skating camps offered by the facility.

Catch the action and watch hockey tournaments and leagues on schedule.

Howelsen Ice Complex is also the home of the Steamboat Springs Youth Hockey Association, the Steamboat Springs High School Sailors Hockey Team, and the Steamboat Springs Figure Skating Club.

Find Western and Native American Items at Cowboys and Indians

You’ll find anything and everything Western and Native American at Cowboys and Indians.

Their shop is located on Lincoln Avenue and offers a wide array of high-quality and authentic products you can choose from.

The business has been around for nearly 30 years, honoring Native American and Western heritage, which their shops represent.

Browse through collections by David Rosales Jewelry from Bolo Ties to pins and watches.

You’ll also find other jewelry pieces like bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and rings made with sterling silver and semi-precious stones.

If you love Native American Beading, they also have mocassins, pouches, purses, and pottery pieces that will surely catch your eye.

See the artistry and craftsmanship of their knives collection or take home some unique Zapotec and Navajo rugs.

Find rare items and collectibles at Cowboys and Indians.

Enjoy Your Stay at Strawberry Hot Springs

People relaxing at Strawberry Hot Springs

David A Litman /

For a place to relax with the family, book your stay at Strawberry Hot Springs.

Right on County Road, their facility lets you enjoy a generous outdoor area, landscaped open-air pools, and excellent amenities and service.

The venue also gives you access to nearby hiking, biking, and snowshoeing trails, the Steamboat Ski Area, and the downtown area.

You have different lodging options like the Train Caboose, Large and Small Rustic Cabins, and the Covered Wagon.

Strawberry Hot Springs during winter

Teri Virbickis /

Book 25-30 days before your vacation to check the lodge availability.

If you want to go for primitive camping in the summer, they have tent sites for camping located about 100-300 yards along the creek.

Aside from the relaxing pool, you can also enhance your rejuvenating experience with Watsu and table massage sessions by their in-house therapists.

Strawberry Hot Springs also welcomes day-use guests with a two-hour reservation at their website before arrival.

View of the Strawberry Hot Springs

Arina P Habich /

Hang Out at Snow Bowl Steamboat

Fun, food, bowling, and lots of happenings are all you can experience at Snow Bowl Steamboat.

Located right on Snow Bowl Plaza, this state-of-the-art bowling and events center includes twelve bowling lanes, an 8,000-square-foot turf, and delicious food and drink items served at the restaurant and bar.

For more than 50 years, the place has become a local icon hosting outdoor concerts, movie previews, and fun events.

You can also catch the Snow Ball Music Fest here every year.

Enjoy rounds of bowling games with the family and assorted fares at the restaurant; their turf is also dog-friendly, with waste stations, water bowls, and a special Dog-Friendly menu that your pets will enjoy.

Try the restaurant’s First Frame selections which include Fries Bowl, Wook Spread, or Pico Pico Quesadilla, or have Today’s Soup served with saltines or a hot Red Chili Bowl.

Order some lip-smacking JC Burger, made with American cheese, mayo, and drizzled with ketchup, or the AK Burger with guacamole, bacon, pickled jalapeños, and queso.

Likewise, you’ll enjoy every bite of their Chili Dog, naked Hot Diggity Dog! and their honey-battered Corn D-O-Double G.

Grab tasty and filling Sammiches, Tacos, Salads, and more from their Specialty menus along with assorted sides and luscious desserts.

If you’re bringing your friends for a drink, Snow Bowl Steamboat also serves cocktail mixes, beers, and wines on the menu.

Go for an Adventure at Steamboat’s Hiking Trails

Steamboat’s Hiking Trails offers you some of the most wonderful scenic views in the area.

There are four popular trails located along the Rabbit Ears and Mount Werner vicinities.

For easy hikes, you can trek the Vista Nature Trail, a short loop that gives you views of the nearby towns; go for a leisure hike and have a picnic at any stop with a view you like.

Rabbit Ears Peak is a six-mile, moderate-level category trail where you can see remains of pyroclastic materials like rocks and ashes; be sure not to climb on the “ears” for your safety.

Another moderate trail is the Fishhook Lake, Lost Lake, and Lake Elmo Trail which stretches about six miles; also a moderate-level trail, it’s a good choice if you plan to go biking or fishing.

Likewise, you can also hike on the 3.8-mile Thunderhead Hiking Trail which starts at the Steamboat Ski Resort base area; the trail is moderate level with a few steep sections and offers beautiful natural views for photos.

Have an outdoor adventure at Steamboat’s Hiking Trails.

Final Thoughts

Steamboat Springs is a beautiful haven for outdoor enthusiasts featuring an array of exciting destinations like skiing, fun parks, and a towering alpine slide.

This town has plenty of leisure attractions—hot springs, gardens, museums, and nature trails—that can help you catch a break.

Check out Steamboat Springs, Colorado, for endless vistas of scenic nature, thrilling activities, and relaxing hangouts.

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