The 5 Best Outdoor Activities in Steamboat Springs

A favorite Colorado resort town, in part, because it’s a real town in addition to being a resort, Steamboat Springs fuses two very different worlds - a state-of-the-art ski village and a genuine Western ranching center.

So apart from what you might already suspect to be amazing Colorado vacation rentals, Steamboat Springs also boasts wondrous outdoor activities that will invigorate even the most overworked of us.

Let's see some of the very best activities you can enjoy in this pretty resort town.




Strings Music Festival

Summer is a magical time in Steamboat Springs. Strings Music Festival offers an incredible array of musical programs, including classical, jazz, blues, and family-friendly music.

Pack your lunch for Strings’ Music on the Green at the Music Festival Park at Yampa River Botanic Park - the gardens are a stirring backdrop for a concert each Thursday at 12:15pm in summer. It’s a lovely way to spend your lunchtime, and many locals agree, so get there early to snag one of the free umbrellas to keep the hot sun off your head.

Instead of extensive program notes, nuggets of information about the music and composer are presented before each piece by a commentator. Should jazz, country, bluegrass, or pops be the music that thrills your soul, Friday night is the night.

If chamber music is your choice, don’t miss the Wednesday and Saturday evening concerts. The choices are diverse - the evening might start with a gentle Chopin nocturne and move to a Schumann piano quartet, then finish off with Brahms.


Hot Air Balloon Rodeo

Summer is the time of the year when a multitude of colorful balloons rises over Yampa Valley.

During the Hot Air Balloon Rodeo, more than 100 colorful hot-air balloons launch from Memorial Park, making this one of the largest balloon rallies in the country. Don't miss the Art in the Park arts and crafts fair and the brilliant performances, while you stuff your mouth with delicious crepes and sip a cup of coffee.

While it might be fun to witness it all from ground level, you can also take a hot-air balloon ride yourself. The most awe-inspiring scenery is, of course, over the Rocky Mountains, but you can take a ride virtually anywhere in the state.


Hike to the scenic Fish Creek Falls

Fish Creek Falls, one of the top waterfalls in Colorado, is just 4 miles from downtown Steamboat Springs in Routt National Forest.

A footpath leads to a historic bridge at the base of this breathtaking 283-foot waterfall and there’s also an overlook with a short trail and ramp designed for those with disabilities, as well as a picnic area and hiking trails.

The falls can be easily reached by foot, but some of the trails are also fit for bikes and even ATVs. The area offers pristine views of the Roky Mountains so just put your hiking boots on and have some fun in the great outdoors.


Summer Rodeo

Greeley’s Stampede comes to town for 2 weeks, starting in late June, and boasts the world’s largest Fourth of July Rodeo.

Hundreds of professional cowboys and cowgirls compete for over $400,000 in prizes at Greeley’s Island Grove Regional Park, with bareback bronc riding, calf roping, saddle bronc riding, team roping, steer racing, barrel racing, and bull riding.

Festivities include country and classic rock concerts, art shows, a carnival, a children’s rodeo, fun-runs, a demolition derby, barbecues, a parade and colorful fireworks.



Steamboat Ski Resort and Howelsen Hill

Steamboat Ski Resort and Howelsen Hill is a continuously used ski area in Colorado and home to nearly 90 Winter Olympians.

The most popular winter sport in Colorado is downhill skiing. Since the state’s first resort, Howelsen Hill in Steamboat Springs, opened in 1915, Colorado has been synonymous with skiing in the western United States - it attracts more skiers per day than any other Western state, and its resorts continue to win accolades.

The snowboarding craze hit Colorado just as hard as other winter-sports destinations and, after some initial resistance, has been welcomed with open arms. Nowadays, many resorts have snowboarding parks and offer lessons and rentals.

Photos by Colby Stopa and Armand under Flickr Creative Commons