When you think of the high-altitude, ski town of Steamboat Springs, it's natural to picture snowy lifts and powdery slopes. But Steamboat, about 2.5 hours northwest of Denver, is also worth the drive after the snow melts.
As attractive as this high-altitude town is in the winter, with its plethora of powdery ski slopes, the historic area really shines in the summer, with its options for soaking in hot springs, biking and hiking trails and general Old West vibe — not to mention glorious moderate temperatures and bright blue skies.
Here are 30 things to add to your Colorado travel bucket list to do in Steamboat Springs in the summer, inspired by expert recommendations of the Steamboat Chamber Resort Association:
1. Hike to Fish Creek Falls.The trailhead is just a few miles from downtown Steamboat. Visitors can walk a relatively flat one-fourth mile to a viewing point to see the falls cascading down (especially impressive in the spring and early summer). Or, take the moderate trail 2.5 miles to the base of the roaring falls. You'll gain about 1,600 feet in elevation. Don't forget to pack plenty of water.
2. Attend the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo. A rodeo is such a Wild West, Colorado thing to experience. Don't leave the state without watching our local cowboys in action.
3. Ride the gondola. Yes, it's open year-round, and the views of the green trees and wildflowers are jaw-dropping. .
4. Attend a Strings Music Festival concert.
Live music in a mountain setting has a magical quality.
5. Swim at Old Town Hot Springs. Per the name of the city, Steamboat is rich with natural hot springs, known for their health and relaxation benefits.
6. Cruise the Yampa River Core Trail. The Yampa is the big river running through Steamboat and the center of a lot of outdoor action.
7. Ride in a hot air balloon over the valley. Witness Steamboat from above.
8. Golf one of the three 18-hole golf courses. Alpine golfing is a different beast and can prove quite challenging for people used to golfing at sea level.
9. Tour Steamboat's local breweries, including Butcherknife, Storm Peak and Mountain Tap breweries.
10. Tube, kayak or go rafting down the energetic Yampa River. You can find stretches of the river that are pretty rowdy and challenging for an adrenaline-filled, white river rafting experience.
11. Mountain bike Emerald Mountain.
12. Or hike the Devil’s Causeway, if you'd prefer to explore nature by foot.
13. Fly fish on the Yampa River.
14. Soak at the Strawberry Park Hot Springs, one of the most popular tourist activities in town. After dark, this remote hot springs under the stars is clothing-optional and adult-only.
15. Shop, eat and browse at the farmers market.
16. Go downhill bike riding at the Steamboat Bike Park.
17. Stroll through the art galleries, like the Wild Horse Gallery.
18. Camp in the Zirkel Wilderness Area.
19. Take a scenic drive to Steamboat Lake.
20. Try out the Howler Alpine Slide. Enjoy views of the city from the top, before pummeling down the 2,400-foot track on a sled.
21. Boogie down at a free summer concert.
22. Visit the Yampa River Botanic Park. Don't forget your camera.
23. Cowboy up at F.M. Light & Sons, a Western clothing store. Pick up your own new cowboy hat and boots as a token of your trip to Colorado. This clothing store has been outfitting local cowboys (and visitors who want to look like cowboys) since 1905.
24. Hike the Mad Creek trail.
25. Dine by the river on Yampa Street. One of our favorite restaurants is Aurum Food & Wine, where you can enjoy delicious food outside on a large patio that bumps right up against the rushing water. There's often live music and a fire pit here in the summer.
26. Make a splash at Burgess Creek Beach.
27. Go stand-up paddleboarding at Stagecoach Reservoir.
28. Say cheers at a sunset happy hour atop Mount Werner.
29. Horseback ride through the aspen trees.
30. Go on a tour through history at the Tread of Pioneers Museum.