Looking for an amazing summer vacation in Colorado? Look no further than Steamboat Springs! Known for its world-class skiing in winter, this charming mountain town transforms into an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise during the summer months. From stunning natural beauty, to exciting outdoor adventures, to unique cultural experiences, visiting Steamboat Springs in the summer is an unforgettable experience for travelers, couples, and families alike.
I visited Steamboat Springs in August with my husband, my son, and his girlfriend. We were on a road trip around Colorado visiting hot springs on the Historic Hot Spring Loop. Before we visited, we were told we would love Steamboat and they were correct. There is so much to do and see, let’s examine some of the experiences you can enjoy in summer.
My visits to both hot springs in Steamboat Springs were complimentary. All opinions are my own.
The opportunities for outdoor adventures in Steamboat Springs are endless, making it a top destination for adrenaline junkies and nature lovers. Hike, bike, or horseback ride through the mountain trails for breathtaking views of the lush forests and meadows. If you’re feeling adventurous, try whitewater rafting, kayaking, or paddleboarding down the Yampa River. For a more relaxed pace, take a scenic hot air balloon ride or challenge yourself to a round of golf on one of the area’s stunning courses.
1. Alpine Slide
One adventure you don’t want to miss is the Howler Alpine Slide. You ride to the top via a chairlift and then hop on a sled to ride the 2,400-foot track down the mountain. The sled follows the track so you don’t have to steer; simply use the brake if you feel your speed is too fast.
Pro Tip: Steps and uneven terrain are required for this activity.
2. Saddleback Ranch
This 8,000-acre ranch is the perfect way to experience the town’s rich history and heritage. As a fourth-generation destination, there’s always something exciting happening. Hop on horseback and explore the wilderness or try your hand at cattle drives and day-to-day operations to get a feel for life on the ranch.
If you’re looking for something a bit more laid-back, hitch a ride on the dinner wagon and enjoy a delicious three-course meal while you watch the sunset.
Pro Tip: Close-toed shoes are the best choice for footwear at the ranch.
Stunning Natural Beauty
The natural beauty of Steamboat Springs is what draws many visitors to the area each year. Explore the stunning alpine meadows, creeks and waterfalls on horseback, or hike to the summit of Mount Werner for panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
For a more relaxed experience, take a leisurely drive through the scenic byways of the surrounding wilderness areas or simply relax and enjoy the beauty of the area from one of the many outdoor patios and cafés around town.
These are a few views you won’t want to miss:
3. Fish Creek Falls
If hiking and waterfalls are your thing, be sure to check out Fish Creek Falls. This mountain gem cascades an epic 280 feet down through Fish Creek Canyon. And that’s not all! You’ll have endless chances for breathtaking photos and some great spots for picnicking.
The best part? You’ll be smack-dab in the heart of the Routt National Forest, where you can discover off-the-beaten-path gems galore.
Pro Tip: If taking your camera, be sure to have a waterproof protective case.
4. Scenic Gondola Rides
A great way to enjoy spectacular scenery of Steamboat Springs is to ride the Steamboat Gondola up Mount Werner. The ride transfers you up the 10,500-foot mountain in a comfortable eight-passenger gondola.
From the top, you’ll have a panoramic view of the Yampa Valley. There is no better way to take in the stunning landscape of Steamboat Springs.
Pro Tips: Be sure to check their website for hours and availability. Tickets must be purchased online.
After all that hiking, biking, horseback riding, and exploring, you’ll need to relax. And what better way to do so than by soaking in natural hot springs? Steamboat Springs has several options, such as Old Town Hot Springs and Strawberry Park Hot Springs. Both offer a relaxing soak in mineral water surrounded by the beauty of the surrounding nature.
5. Old Town Hot Springs
A family destination with numerous activities for all ages, the Old Town Hot Springs is located in downtown Steamboat Springs.
There are eight hot spring pools, cold water lap lanes, a dive area, a climbing wall, waterslides, a gym, exercise classes, and more. Adults will love the adult-only soaking pools and if younger children are traveling with you, there is a huge splash area.
If you have young kids or teens traveling with you, they will love the Old Town Hot Springs because there is something for everyone.
6. Strawberry Park Hot Springs
In the forest up the mountain is the historic Strawberry Park Hot Springs. It is about 20 minutes from Steamboat on several miles of dirt road. (It is worth every second of the drive.)
If you don’t want to drive, they do have shuttles, but you will need to reserve one in advance. (This is a popular option.)
Sitting in a natural setting on the side of a mountain along a river, there are varying temperature pools. The hot springs bubble out of the ground and flow down a hill to mix with the river water and create the soaking pools.
Day visits require advance registration. They also have camping and cabins available.
Pro Tip: If you stay on the premises, you have access to the soaking pools until closing.
Steamboat Springs is rich in history and culture, and there are numerous ways to experience it during the summer. Take a guided tour of historic buildings or check out the local galleries and studios to see the vibrant arts scene in action.
7. Tread Of Pioneers Museum
Visit the Tread of Pioneers Museum to learn about the area’s early settlers and Native American tribes. It is fun to learn the history of the hot springs and what pioneer life was like.
There are hands-on activities and exhibits for children, and they often hold events that offer fun for all ages such as Steamboat walking tours, history happy hours, Olympic heritage tours, and more.
What impressed me most about the Tread of Pioneers Museum was the 1908 Victorian home that houses this charming momento.
8. Balloon Rodeo
Similar to a hot-air balloon festival, Yampa Valley Balloon Rodeo is a weekend event held the last weekend of July that brings the community together. There are lots of hot air balloons in the sky and many other activities to enjoy.
9. The Steamboat Art Museum
Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, the Steamboat Art Museum showcases rotating exhibits that highlight the history and culture of the American West.
You will find galleries featuring work from current artists and it’s free to the public. They also provide classes, workshops, tours, and lectures available to the public.
Attend an outdoor concert or festival, such as the Strings Music Festival. There are concerts throughout the summer. Check the website to see who is performing during your visit.
Steamboat Springs is a great destination for families, offering a wide range of activities for kids of all ages. Take a scenic gondola ride to the summit of Mount Werner for epic views as we previously mentioned, but at the top, it is also a kid-friendly adventure zone complete with a giant slide, ropes course, and bungee trampolines.
11. Yampa River Botanic Park
Spend a day at the Yampa River Botanic Park featuring numerous gardens and walking trails.
Located 6,800 feet up in the Rocky Mountains, this natural attraction features lush botanical gardens. You can explore 6 acres of impressive gardens highlighting the region’s flora and fauna.
Open from dawn to dusk, you can enjoy over 40 garden experiences at this must-see attraction, including the Hummingbird and Butterfly gardens, ponds, the Culinary Herb Garden, and more.
With all that outdoor activity, you’re sure to work up an appetite. Steamboat Springs has some incredible dining options ranging from upscale to casual dining. Steamboat Springs has a wonderful dining guide to help you choose where to eat. For a quick and delicious sandwich, try Yampa Sandwich Company, or if you enjoy Mexican food, check out Salt & Lime.
Steamboat Springs also has a Brew Trail for visitors to enjoy.
Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, history buff, or simply looking for a relaxing mountain getaway, Steamboat Springs in summer offers something for everyone. With its stunning natural beauty, exciting outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, and family-friendly activities, it’s an unforgettable destination for travelers, couples, and families alike. Plan your next summer vacation to Steamboat Springs today and prepare to be amazed!
For more information on traveling to Steamboat Springs and Colorado, check out these articles: