Warm weather is here and if you’re like us, you’ve been itching to get the camping gear out of storage. Steamboat Springs, or 'The Boat', as locals call it, is one of Colorado’s best places for a weekend getaway! As they say, come to Colorado for the winter and stay for the summers.
The small town of 15,000 sits in the Yampa Valley and is home to incredible skiing, hiking, and hot springs. A 2.5 hour drive from Denver makes this destination the perfect escape for folks living in the city. We left around 3pm on Friday and had no issues with I-70 traffic, as many of the ski resorts have closed already due to Forest Service permits and lack of snow. Once you veer off at the Silverthorne exit, you are greeted with open roads, large reservoirs, and seemingly endless valley views.
Many campgrounds were still closed on our drive in over Rabbit Ears Pass, so we found a pull-up tent spot at the KOA Campground along the Yampa River, about 5 minutes past downtown Steamboat Springs. The campground has many amenities not typically found in the backcountry, but it was nice to ease back into the weekend routine of sleeping under the stars! Be sure to grab a campsite along the river. The water is flowing steadily due to runoff, creating the perfect natural sound system at night or early morning fly fishing hole. Food, drink, and firewood can be found close by, so don’t sweat it if you haven’t packed everything on your list.
The next day we got up early and went into town for coffee at Off the Beaten Path Bookstore before heading up to check out Fish Creek Falls. The trail, about five miles from town via Fish Creek road, is the perfect hike to a spectacular 283-foot waterfall. You can spend anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours here, walking the trails to various viewpoints and elevations. If you choose to climb the trail up towards the falls, beware that snow coverage was still prevalent. Close toed shoes and micro spikes (if you have them) will help with comfort and traction. FYI, there is a $5 cash fee at the trailhead!
The hike may not be an intense workout, but that shouldn’t stop you from venturing down to Storm Peak Brewery afterwards to sip on a refreshing beer in the sun. Sore muscles? Late afternoon is a great time to soak in Steamboat’s hot springs. As many as 150 bubbling geothermal springs once attracted Utes and early settlers to their healing waters. Strawberry Park, nestled in a canyon north of town, has big pools, smaller hot pots, and plenty of room to relax. If you’re a night owl, the hot springs offers excellent stargazing opportunities due to the lack of ambient light.
If you’re not ready to leave on Sunday Morning, we don’t blame you! Take a walk or bike ride through historic downtown. There’s plenty of history, culture, and cool shops to explore. The western mountain town vibe is truly unique to the area. Once you finally convince yourself that it’s time to head home, be sure to stop at Big Shooter Coffee in Kremmling for a pick-me-up. They have a great selection of baked goods, ice cream, and coffee. The perfect caffeine fix to help you plan your next adventure!
Nothing goin on this coming weekend? Make the trip, you won’t regret it!