“Ski Town USA”, aka Steamboat Springs is a western ski town with lots of charm and character. It’s most known for Steamboat Ski Resort, which brings visitors to the area all winter long. There’s both a historic downtown and mountain village, situated about a few miles apart.
Summer is also a favorite time to visit the “Boat”. The town is an excellent choice for those who can’t make a decision between a laid-back, relaxing vacation and an action-packed trip full of recreation.
The name Steamboat Springs came from early French trappers who thought they heard steamboats chugging up the Yampa River. It was actually the town’s hot springs bubbling, but the name stuck.
They say if you come to Steamboat Springs, you’ll never leave or at least keep returning year after year. That’s the Yampa Valley curse. We mentioned it in our article on best ski towns in Colorado.
- Four local state parks offer nice campgrounds: Pearl Lake, Stagecoach, Steamboat Lake and Yampa River.
- Buffalo Pass in the Routt National Forest has a campground as well as free dispersed car camping along the pass. From downtown (heading west) turn right on 3rd Ave, and then right onto Fish Creek Falls Rd. Take 2nd left on Amethyst Drive which turns into CR 36. A few miles up on the right will be signs for Buff Pass/CR 38.
- Rabbit Ears Pass has a campground and dispersed car camping on most dirt roads.
- Yampa River runs right through downtown, offering outstanding trout fishing.
- Nearby state parks all have places for fishing.
- Fish Creek Falls is located a mere 10 minutes from downtown Steamboat. This scenic locale is open year round for hiking. It costs $5 to park your vehicle for the day.
- To the east of town is Rabbit Ears Pass, with loads of trails.
- Cowboy Downhill – Real cowboys race down the mountain in mid January.
- Winter Carnival – Ice sculptures, contests and ski jumping in early February. Read our event feature.
- Pro Rodeo Series – Weekly rodeo from mid June to mid August.
- Hot Air Balloon Rodeo – A colorful weekend in Steamboat Springs in early July.
- Steamboat OktoberWest – Steamboat’s western take on this German tradition in mid September.
Things to do near Steamboat Springs
- Fish Creek Falls (3mi)