Steamboat Springs is famed for its skiing, but locals would agree that there’s so much more to this Colorado mountain town. No matter the time of year or your budget, you’ll find many fun things to do in Steamboat Springs!
I’ve visited Steamboat Springs many times during all seasons. In this guide, I’ll share my take on the 21 best things to do and see in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. From outdoor adventures to historic sites, craft breweries and more, you’re sure to find great additions to your itinerary.
Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
- 21 Best Things to Do in Steamboat Springs
- Winter Activities in Steamboat Springs, Colorado
- Summer Activities in Steamboat Springs, Colorado
- Food & Drink in Steamboat Springs
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21 Best Things to Do in Steamboat Springs
Fish Creek Falls
Experience hikers’ and ice climbers’ paradise
👇 Swipe to change photo
📍 Map It: 40.4816° N, 106.7769° W | Hours: 6 am – 8 pm daily | Entrance: $5 parking fee
Fish Creek Falls is one of Steamboat Springs’ most popular hiking trails and attractions. Set in the Routt National Forest, this spectacular 280-foot waterfall is a must-see regardless of season or skill level.
During warm months, families will enjoy the easy, 0.3-mile paved path to the Fish Creek Canyon viewing area. In the winter season, you may even spot ice climbers from this vantage point!
For panoramic views, hike the 4.7-mile Fish Creek Falls Trail. It’s a strenuous route and heavily trafficked, but past Upper Fish Creek Falls, crowds are sure to thin.
Though an extra 7.6 miles roundtrip, I recommend continuing on to Long Lake, especially if you visit Steamboat Springs in July or August. The quiet wildflower meadows are absolutely breathtaking.
📚 Related Reading: Want to learn more about must-see attractions in Colorado? Read our comprehensive guide on 33 Fun Things To Do in Colorado!
Steamboat Ski Resort
Ride a scenic gondola and ski Champagne Powder
Located in the Mount Werner Park Range, Steamboat Ski Resort boasts 165 groomed trails spanning nearly 3,000 scenic acres. It’s one of the largest ski resorts in Colorado, famed for its trademarked Champagne Powder.
The light, dry snow, and varied landscape make Steamboat Ski Resort a favorite among beginners and experts, as well as tourists and locals. Those who snowboard will especially love the resort’s four terrain parks.
Looking for things to do in Steamboat Springs if you don’t ski? Take a scenic gondola ride at Steamboat Ski Resort, offering beautiful views of the Yampa Valley.
Or purchase tickets to the Outlaw Mountain Coaster! This unique attraction is more than a mile long and allows riders to board sleds that travel up to 27 mph down their winding, elevated track.
Yampa River Botanic Park
Wander lush gardens in downtown Steamboat Springs
The Yampa River Botanic Park is conveniently located in the heart of Steamboat Springs. Open from May through October, the seasonal attraction is free to the public and offers a variety of sights and experiences.
Admire more than 50 gardens in the Yampa River Botanic Park. Each blooms with native plants that thrive in northwestern Colorado. Families will love the Children’s Garden, as well as the Butterfly Garden, Hummingbird Garden, and Culinary Herb Garden.
In the summer months, take advantage of free events in the Yampa River Botanic Park. Concerts occur on Thursdays, and outdoor yoga classes are offered on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
Strawberry Park Hot Springs
Soak in natural mineral pools
Of all the incredible hot springs throughout Colorado, Strawberry Park Hot Springs is a personal favorite. Here in the Routt National Forest, Hot Springs Creek blends with cold river water. The upper mineral pools reach 104°F while cooler temperatures can be found within the lower pools.
Strawberry Park Hot Springs is surrounded by natural wonders and feels more authentic than built-up resorts. But despite having fewer amenities, relaxing massage therapies are available.
Families may enjoy the natural hot springs during daylight hours, but after dark, children are not allowed as clothing is optional.
Consider spending the night at one of Strawberry Park Hot Springs’ unique accommodations. These include tent campsites, rustic cabins, covered wagons, and even a train caboose!
🚗 How to Get There: From downtown Steamboat Springs, drive 7 miles down County Road 36. In the winter, AWD or 4WD is recommended in order to travel this narrow dirt road. If you need to rent a vehicle, check out Discover Cars, our preferred search engine that allows you to easily compare agency rates.
Steamboat Symphony Orchestra
Sip wine and listen to a classical music performance
📍 Phone: (970) 870-3223 | Website
Many residents would agree that seeing the Steamboat Symphony Orchestra is one of the best things to do in Steamboat Springs.
Established in 1991, the talented group of local musicians is known for their classical performances. But they aim to make the genre accessible, encouraging drinks, clapping, and photos during their performances.
The Steamboat Symphony Orchestra also values music education. They offer programs like the Youth Music Immersion Weekend as well as classes for adults.
See the well-respected orchestra perform live at various venues throughout Steamboat Springs, Colorado. A calendar of upcoming concerts is available on their website.
Steamboat Art Museum
Admire works from local artists
The Steamboat Art Museum was established in 2005. It operates within the historic First National Bank Building in downtown Steamboat Springs. The museum holds a 99-year lease on the building, preserving various mediums of work made by local artists.
Museum exhibits include photographs, paintings, textiles, and sculptures. Many represent the Steamboat Springs region. Colorado wilderness and wildlife, as well as historic sites and events, are common themes.
Visit the museum store to bring home a local, handcrafted treasure of your own. The store also houses Steamboat Springs’ best selection of professional art supplies.
Yampa River Core Trail
Enjoy one of Steamboat Springs’ best walking and biking trails
📍 Map It: 40.4518° N, 106.8166° W
The Yampa River Core Trail is one of the best nature trails in Steamboat Springs. It follows the Yampa River, connecting one side of Steamboat Springs, Colorado to the other. All 7.5-miles of the path are paved, making it ideal for walks, bike rides, wheelchairs, and strollers.
A series of wooden bridges allow you to traverse the river, which is often lively during the summer months. It’s not uncommon to see a group tubing downstream, or hopeful fishers casting lines for rainbow trout.
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Howelsen Ice Arena
Go ice skating any time of the year
Open year-round, the Howelsen Ice Arena is an Olympic-sized indoor ice rink that offers a variety of activities. These include public ice skating and hockey, as well as classes for all ages.
Families will especially enjoy their bumper cars on ice, an experience unique to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. But note that availability is limited and their 20-minute sessions fill up fast. Check the Arena’s calendar and consider booking reservations beforehand.
Tread of Pioneers Museum
See an antique chairlift and vintage skis on display
📍 Map It: 800 Oak St, Steamboat Springs, CO 80477 | Phone: (970) 879-2214 | Website | Hours: 11 am – 5 pm Tuesday through Saturday, Closed Sunday and Monday | Entrance: $6 adults, $5 seniors over 62, $2 children from 6-12, free under 6
The Tread of Pioneers Museum represents the history of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Located on Oak Street, it’s housed in a 1908 building featuring Victorian-era architecture and furnishings.
Museum exhibits include information about the region’s Native Americans and early settlers. Major industries such as mining, agriculture, and skiing are featured. Plus, interactive opportunities make the museum engaging for all ages.
Children will love the scavenger hunt on the property. Meanwhile, adults will enjoy History Happy Hour. This donation-based tour features craft beer tastings and a glimpse into Steamboat Springs’ Wild West past.
For an especially unique experience, meet local Olympian Ben Berend for the Olympic Heritage Tour. Berend will overview the history of Carl Howelsen and Howelsen Hill. He’ll also explain why Steamboat Springs is home to more Olympians than anywhere else in North America.
👉 Love Scavenger Hunts? Check out this scavenger hunt tour in Steamboat Springs! Great for families and those looking to connect with locals, these interactive games lead to hidden gems and plenty of fun.
Winter Activities in Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Cross Country Skiing
Explore backcountry trails or those skied by Olympians
Cross country skiing, also known as nordic skiing, is famous in Steamboat Springs. There are several nearby areas with backcountry trails. In the Routt National Forest, these include Rabbit Ears Pass and Emerald Mountain Quarry.
But most tourists will prefer the groomed runs accessible at Haymaker Nordic Center and Howelsen Hill Ski Area. Haymaker Nordic Center specializes in cross country, offering gear rentals and trail tickets.
Howelsen Hill, on the other hand, offers both downhill skiing and cross country. Passes are sold separately, and nordic ski tickets can be purchased at the Howelsen Hill Lodge.
👉 Pro Tip: To celebrate its Olympic history and status as North America’s oldest ski area, Howelsen Hill is free to the public on Sundays. Be sure to take advantage!
Old Town Hot Springs
Slide and soak in family-friendly pools
📍 Map It: 136 S Lincoln Ave, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487 | Phone: (970) 879-1828 | Website | Hours: 6 am – 9 pm Monday through Friday, 7 am – 9 pm Saturday and Sunday | Entrance: $25 adults, $22 seniors over 64, $19 children from 3-14, free under 3
Looking for things to do in Steamboat Springs with children? In comparison to Strawberry Park Hot Springs, Old Town Hot Springs offers a more family-friendly environment. Kids will love splashing into the warm outdoor pools via the two water slides and climbing wall.
Meanwhile, adults will appreciate the privacy of the three smaller mineral pools, as well as the resort’s other amenities. Swim in the lap pool or work out in their fitness center, then enjoy a massage treatment from one of their licensed therapists.
To avoid crowds, I recommend visiting in the early morning or late evening hours. Conveniently, these hot springs are easy to access, located in downtown Steamboat Springs on 3rd Street and Lincoln Avenue.
🛎️ Need a Hotel? The highly-rated Nordic Lodge is less than a half-mile from Old Town Hot Springs. Stay here to be within walking distance from shopping and dining, the Tread of Pioneers Museum, Yampa River Botanic Park, and more. For other suggested hotels, see my guide to the best places to stay in Steamboat Springs.
Trot down snowy trails
Here at Saddleback Ranch in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, horseback riding is a year-round activity. Take one of their winter tours to witness scenic, snow-covered views of the Flat Tops, Mount Werner, and Sleeping Giant Mountain.
The two-hour ride occurs solely on Saddleback Ranch, a fourth-generation homestead that spans 8,000 acres. Regardless of skill level, all riders over 8 years and under 240 pounds are welcome.
Following the charming Western experience, you’ll be offered a steaming cup of cocoa and a warm, freshly baked cookie. If you don’t ski and are looking for wintery things to do in Steamboat Springs, this is the perfect activity.
Ski deep powder at Buffalo Pass
With expert guides and a fleet of three snowcats, Steamboat Powdercats is one of Colorado’s oldest snowcat skiing operations. Booking a tour is a must for those seeking an exclusive backcountry adventure.
Steamboat Powdercats will take you to Buffalo Pass, just 25 minutes from downtown Steamboat Springs. This region is famed not only for Champagne Powder but also for having the deepest annual snowpack in Colorado.
Various ability levels are welcome, as Steamboat Powdercats will do their best to match you with compatible guests. Their all-inclusive day trips guarantee 8-16 runs, gear rentals including avalanche packs, and meals. Upon request, they’ll even provide shuttle service to and from your lodging accommodations.
Summer Activities in Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Steamboat Bike Park
Ride up a chairlift to access downhill mountain biking
Once the snow melts at Steamboat Ski Resort, ski runs become biking trails and a new outdoor experience awaits. The Steamboat Bike Park is accessible from June 18th through Labor Day.
The Christie Peak Express Chairlift provides access to these biking trails. Hitch a ride up with your mountain bike and enjoy a thrilling downhill ride, navigating both natural and manmade obstacles.
As one of Colorado’s largest ski resorts, there’s plenty to explore. The 40-mile trail network has opportunities for every skill level. You can find rentals available at several Steamboat Springs bike shops.
Wild West Balloon Adventures
Soar high above the scenic Routt National Forest
For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, climb aboard a hot air balloon in Steamboat Springs. High up in the clouds, you’ll witness incredible views of the Yampa River, Flat Top Mountains, and Hahn’s Peak.
The crew at Wild West Balloon Adventures will be your guides, starting the morning ride with a champagne toast. The tour is generally two hours in length, with around a 45-minute flight. Light snacks are complimentary, as is shuttle service upon request.
Explore Steamboat Springs’ best hiking trails
📍 Map It: 40.4847° N, 106.8229° W
There are so many incredible hiking trails in Steamboat Springs, it may be difficult to know which are best for you. To determine your ideal day hike, consider a few factors.
Know the skill level and endurance of those in your party, and remember that Steamboat Springs is located nearly 7,000 feet above sea level. If you’re traveling from a lesser elevation, you may be surprised how much the altitude affects your abilities.
For families and those seeking a leisurely hike, I recommend Spring Creek Trail. Start from the south end, and turn around whenever you prefer. But if you do hike all 10 miles out and back, be especially on the lookout for wildlife, namely moose!
Those seeking something more moderate in difficulty should head to Rabbit Ears Peak Trail. It’s one of my personal favorites in Steamboat Springs.
For a serious challenge, check out Gilpin Lake Trail. And of course, there’s always Fish Creek Falls to Long Lake Trail. Regardless of which hiking trails you choose, the Routt National Forests’ spectacular views are sure to impress!
Get hooked to a new sport
Like much of Colorado, Steamboat Springs is known for its fly fishing. With secluded lakes and rivers throughout the Yampa Valley, anglers have a good chance at coming home with big game fish.
If you’re an experienced fly fisher, enjoy public access to the Yampa River right there in downtown Steamboat Springs. Or head to Stagecoach or Pearl Lake State Parks, where you can fish from the shore or rent a boat for greater water access.
Obviously, capturing rainbow trout, northern pike, and smallmouth bass requires some know-how. If you’re a novice to fly fishing, consider booking a tour with Steamboat Flyfisher. Their angling shop and excursions are highly rated, and their expert guides will set you up with all the gear needed for your first catch.
The Howler Alpine Slide
Sled in the summertime
Looking for family-friendly things to do in Steamboat Springs? The Howler Alpine Slide is sure to provide a thrilling, memorable experience!
To enjoy a ride on this alpine coaster, visitors take a chairlift to the highest point of Howelsen Hill. From there, you’ll board a unique sled with steering and brakes, then wind (or soar!) down a 2,400-foot track.
Children between the ages of 2 and 7 must ride with a legal adult guardian, while those ages 7 and up can ride their own sled. To ride the chairlift with your child or simply take in lovely views of Steamboat Springs, you can purchase a lift ticket for just $7.
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Food & Drink in Steamboat Springs
Steamboat Brew Trail
Sample pours at local breweries
The Steamboat Brew Trail is a must for craft beer lovers visiting Steamboat Springs. Bike or walk the 2.7-mile trail, stopping at three breweries and one local distillery along the way.
Mahogany Ridge Brewery is the first destination on the list. Located downtown, it’s the perfect place for your first pour and hearty, comforting American cuisine. Try their Alpenglow amber ale, a local’s favorite.
Just a few blocks west lies Mountain Tap Brewery. Enjoy a flavorful Mountain Macaron brown ale and a slice of wood-fired pizza on their lovely patio. And like the remaining eateries on this list, Mountain Tap Brewery is even dog-friendly!
Heading further west on downtown’s Lincoln Ave., you’ll reach Steamboat Whiskey Company. Though not a brewery, these locally-crafted spirits are absolutely worth the stop. Their Warrior Whiskey and Sleeping Giant Gin create delicious cocktails.
Last but not least, take a seat at Storm Peak Brewing Company. With a large patio and roll-up garage doors, it’s the perfect place to socialize. Grab a board game from their collection, and order from a wide variety of IPAs, cream ales, sours, and more.
👉 Pro Tip: If Storm Peak has The Zest Is Yet To Come on tap when you visit, don’t miss out! This crushable wheat ale is a personal favorite, brewed with fresh ginger and citrus. Nothing else beats the heat better on a summer day!
Aurum Food & Wine
Dine in a cozy yurt and experience ski town luxury
A date night at Aurum Food & Wine is one of the best couples things to do in Steamboat Springs. Situated along the Yampa River, this restaurant serves American cuisine, wine, and craft cocktails.
Book a table in their elegant indoor dining room or one of their outdoor spaces. In the summer, hung bistro lights and a central fire pit cast beautiful shadows throughout their large outdoor patio. During the winter months, if you have a group larger than six, you can reserve a heated yurt for a unique dining experience.
Their dinner menu includes elevated appetizers and small plates. Try their beef tenderloin tartare and mussels puttanesca. Pan-seared Alamosa trout and braised lamb shank are a couple of their mouth-watering main courses. Of course, all pair well with a glass from their extensive wine list.
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Smell That Bread Bakery
Sip hot coffee paired with an artisan treat
Anyone visiting Steamboat Springs must make a trip to Smell The Bread Bakery. On my most recent visit, I discovered this hidden gem tucked away on 11th and Oak Street. After a night of camping on Buffalo Pass, nothing hit the spot more than fresh coffee, a buttery pastry, and savory avocado toast.
Not just that, but there’s an obvious charm to this little cafe. Locals gather after their bike rides, and the staff greets several regulars by name. Sitting on their outdoor patio, you can enjoy the calming babble of Soda Creek and watch the sunrise.
Though home to world-class skiing, Steamboat Springs represents more than that. It’s the perfect example of Colorado culture.
From extreme ice climbing athletes to families on a hike, the outdoors is a central part of life in Steamboat Springs. Early settlers and mining history are celebrated, as are today’s locals who create music, art, and craft.
It’s no wonder that Steamboat Springs was named one of the best places to visit in Colorado! Safe travels and enjoy your trip!
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