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:
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 even after the skiing stops, and the views of the green trees and wildflowers are jaw-dropping. Make sure you pack a camera.
4. Attend a Strings Music Festival concert. Live music in a mountain setting has a magical quality.
This pavilion features more than 60 different shows in the summer, plus a fall and winter series.
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. The Old Town Hot Springs is great for families. Plus, the mineral-rich water will make you feel great.
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. Follow the trail on foot or on a bike.
7. Ride in a hot air balloon over the valley. Witness Steamboat from above. The views couldn't be better.
8. Golf one of the 18-hole golf courses. Alpine golfing is a different beast and can prove quite challenging for people used to golfing at sea level. Steamboat has multiple different courses to choose between. Or try them all.
9. Tour Steamboat's local breweries, including Butcherknife, Storm Peak and Mountain Tap breweries. Not only do they offer great local brew, but also food and a laid back atmosphere.
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. Book a rafting trip through a local tour company.
11. Mountain bike Emerald Mountain. Colorado loves its bikes. Emerald Mountain has great biking trails with even better views.
12. Hike the Devil’s Causeway, if you'd prefer to explore nature by foot. Hiking is a rite of passage when visiting Colorado. There are many great trails in Steamboat.
One of the favorites is the Devil's Causeway.
13. Fly fish on the Yampa River. Not only is the Yampa good for rafting but it's also a hot spot for fly fishing.
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. This will give you a great taste of the local culture and unique personality of Steamboat.
16. Go downhill bike riding at the Steamboat Bike Park. While trail-riding is one way to enjoy Steamboat on two wheels, downhill biking is another, if adrenaline is what you're craving.
17. Stroll through the art galleries, like the Wild Horse Gallery. Steamboat has some excellent local art.
18. Camp in the Zirkel Wilderness Area. One of the best places to stay the night is under the stars in a tent.
19. Take a scenic drive to Steamboat Lake. Scenic drives are a relaxing way to see the area without exerting yourself too much.
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. Live music is big in Steamboat.
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. This is another one of our favorite hiking trails in Steamboat.
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. Yes, this ski town has its own beach on the creek.
27. Go stand-up paddleboarding at Stagecoach Reservoir. Stand-up paddleboarding blends relaxation with exertion. It's a peaceful way to spend an afternoon in the mountains.
28. Say cheers at a sunset happy hour atop Mount Werner. There are plenty of great happy hour deals in Steamboat, but it doesn't get better than a happy hour with a view.
29. Horseback ride through the aspen trees. Hop on a horse for an authentic Western experience.
30. Go on a tour through history at the Tread of Pioneers Museum. You can learn a lot about a community by learning about its past.