Nestled in the Yampa Valley surrounded by picturesque landscapes of mountains, forests, and rivers, Steamboat Springs is an excellent town to visit, whether you live elsewhere in Northern Colorado or in a different region entirely! And you don’t have to be a skier or snowboarder either. With a wide variety of outdoor activities, delicious dining options, and unique cultural experiences, Steamboat Springs has something for everyone.
Whether you’re looking to hit the trail, soak in natural hot springs, or explore the rich history of the Old West, this full-day itinerary will guide you through the best that this charming mountain town has to offer. So buckle up and get ready for an adventure-filled day in Steamboat Springs!
Start your day with a cup of coffee at Beard & Braid, a relatively new coffee shop in downtown Steamboat. The focus of the shop is coffee, and they offer a range of coffee options, including espresso, Americanos, macchiatos, cortados, lattes, drip coffee and cold brew, as well as hot and iced tea, chai, matcha, and hot chocolate. The coffee is sourced from Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters in Lakewood, which has a unique direct-trade model that connects the representative of the farms with the company, wholesalers and customers who consume the coffee. They also have plenty of baked goods available in the morning hours, including their popular five-day croissant!
Next, sit down for a delicious breakfast at Creekside Cafe & Grill, which serves both breakfast and lunch all day. The cafe takes pride in using farm-fresh eggs and only the freshest ingredients, thanks to their local ag partners. Creekside is known for their killer Eggs Benedict; the Traditional is tried-and-true, but they also have a BAT (Bacon, Avocado and Tomato), a Cowboy Downhill with smoked beef brisket, charred onions and pickled jalapeños, and Tailwaters with smoked steelhead trout, goat cheese, avocado and capers. The cafe is also known for its great coffee, award-winning Bloody Marys, and unique mimosas. The patio is a wonderful place to sit and relax, surrounded by a beautiful garden along Soda Creek — hence the name Creekside!
After a relaxing breakfast, walk a few steps to Little Toots Park (yes, that’s the actual name), where you’ll encounter the Yampa River Core Trail, a 7.5-mile paved multi-use trail that runs along the Yampa River. Along the way, take in exceptional views of foliage and wildlife, including deer, beavers and birds of all kinds. This well-maintained trail provides access to fishing spots, picnic areas and parks, including the popular Yampa River Botanic Park, a 6-acre sanctuary with 40 gardens, ponds and sculptures. If you want to visit the gardens, head south along the trail — and you should reach it in about 30 minutes. The park is free and open to the public from May through October!
Let the exploration continue with a ride on the Steamboat Scenic Gondola. Hop on this comfortable eight-passenger gondola to encounter breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, valleys and the Yampa River. This is a unique and scenic way to reach the top of Mount Werner, where you can enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking and sightseeing. The gondola is open for the summer and winter seasons, typically from mid-June through September and December through April. This is the perfect alternative to reaching the summit during the winter months if you’re not skiing or snowboarding!
After all this adventuring, refuel at Salt & Lime, a vibrant restaurant offering a twist on classic Mexican cuisine. Their colorful and energetic decor makes it the perfect spot for a casual lunch or dinner. The menu features a variety of dishes made with only the freshest ingredients, including a range of tacos, burritos, soups, salads and bowls, plus a robust drink menu, which includes delicious margaritas, cocktails, beer and even wine. Not to mention, their tequila menu is extensive, with dozens of options to choose from. During the summer months, there’s no better place to be than the rooftop deck overlooking downtown Steamboat. And no matter where you sit, don’t forget the churros!
Learn more about the history, art and cultural heritage of Steamboat Springs by visiting either the Steamboat Art Museum or the Tread of Pioneers Museum — or both, if you’re feeling up to it! The Steamboat Art Museum features a diverse collection of works by local and regional artists, as well as special exhibitions and educational programs. It’s open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m.–6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 11 a.m.–5 p.m. and admission is free! The Tread of Pioneers Museum showcases the rich history of the area and its pioneers, showcasing local artifacts and photographs. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Admission is very reasonable — $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $2 for children ages 6–12, and free for children under 6 and Routt County residents! These museums offer visitors and locals alike an in-depth look into the unique history and artistic culture of Steamboat Springs, providing a glimpse into the past and the creative spirit of the community.
It wouldn’t be a Colorado itinerary without a stop at a brewery, now would it? One of our favorite breweries in Steamboat is Storm Peak Brewing Company, which brews exceptional beers and offers the perfect environment in which to enjoy them, from the cozy, industrial taproom to the airy patio. Their team brews a wide range of beer styles in their 20-barrel brewhouse, from light lagers to bold stouts. They utilize locally sourced ingredients to create unique and flavorful beers, with new and experimental brews being added to the menu on a regular basis. We suggest ordering a flight, so you can try several of their styles at once before choosing your favorite!
Take some time to pop in and out of the many shops lining Steamboat’s charming downtown, if you haven’t already. Stop by Off the Beaten Path for books, Ohana for gifts and apparel, Ruby Jane Boutique or Wanderlust Boutique for women’s clothing and accessories, Steamboat Hat Shop for hats, The Homesteader for gourmet foods and kitchen accessories, Overland Sheepskin Co. for sheepskin accessories, Faherty for clothing and accessories, and Moose Mountain Trading Co. for a little bit of everything — home decor, books, bath and body products, kitchen supplies and food, jewelry and apparel, and kids’ clothing, toys and accessories. Shop ‘til you drop — or at least until dinner!
Dining at Aurum Food & Wine is a culinary experience you won’t forget. This elegant restaurant is positioned along the Yampa River, with an exceptional outdoor deck with plenty of seating, plus an open fire pit surrounded by deep cushion sofas. This upscale eatery offers a contemporary take on traditional cuisine, utilizing only the freshest ingredients sourced from local partners to create elevated dishes that will tantalize your taste buds. From hand-crafted cocktails to an extensive wine list (featuring wines from their very own vineyard), the bar at Aurum provides the perfect accompaniment to the delicious food. The atmosphere is intimate and stylish, with warm lighting and comfortable seating, making it an ideal choice for special occasions or a romantic evening by the river. Make sure you make a reservation before you go!
Unwind at the end of this long, jam-packed day by soaking in one of the many natural hot springs in town. After all, it’s called Steamboat Springs for a reason! Nestled in a remote, wooded canyon about 8 miles from Steamboat Springs lies the enchanting Strawberry Park Hot Springs. With its natural rock-lined pools, breathtaking mountain views, and the soothing sound of the hot mineral water cascading down the rocks, the hot springs provide the ultimate relaxation experience. The pool is available for overnight guests from sunrise to midnight and is open to day-use guests until 10 p.m. You must make a reservation for a 2-hour window in advance, which becomes available 25-30 days in advance. The changing rooms and public restrooms are open to day-use guests, but showers are only available for overnight guests. And keep in mind that clothing is optional after sundown!
What are your favorite things to do in Steamboat Springs? Let us know in the comments below!
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