Community. That’s what Steamboat is all about – and that’s why it’s the perfect place to start a vacation. The town has grown as multiple communities came together – ranching, mining, skiing – and as a result, the ol’ Western hospitality has thrived smack in the middle of National Forest. Welcome in, everyone.
Steamboat began as a ranching community, so it shouldn’t be any surprise that horses and forest trails could be the center of your vacation. Hop on a horse’s back and head out to North Routt County, where you can go on trail rides from one hour to all day. Want to see some cattle? Take advantage of Saddleback Ranch’s three-hour early morning cattle drive. Think some cowboy songs and barbecue is the way to get in touch with your inner cowgirl? Head out for a trail ride dinner. And if you’d rather skip the drive to North Routt, then you can head to the Romick Arena right next to Howelsen Hill for the Saturday night rodeo. Watch the barrel racers, enter your kid in the Calf Scrabble, and buy a plot for the Cub Scouts’ Muffin Plot raffle. Be a part of the cultural heritage found here!
Take in the Scenery
There are so many things to do here. If national forest is what you’re after, then you might as well plan on staying in Steamboat all summer. The Medicine-Bow National Forest surrounds us on all sides and extends all the way north to Veudawoo in Wyoming (a great day trip or one-nighter for any avid rock climbers). In town alone, there’s the majestic Fish Creek Falls – perhaps you’ve seen it before on the front of a Coors can. Spend some time in the lower waters with the kiddos when the water flow has slowed down, or take the roughly two-hour round trip hike up to the second waterfall for beautiful views – even a sight of the Pony Express lift at the ski resort if you can crane your neck enough. Head out of town south to the Flat Tops for something more challenging: the Devil’s Causeway, a hike that leads you to a land bridge with 700-1,000 foot drops on either side. Make sure you start coming down by 2PM to avoid afternoon storms. Looking for something in the middle? The Mad Creek barn hike is an easy walk off of Route 129 that takes you to a gorgeously restored turn of the century barn. You may even pass horse packers along the way!
And after you see the national forest, go horseback riding, tube down the river, mountain bike and every other activity you can imagine, head back downtown. Amble around on the Yampa Valley Core Trail, then head to the Saturday Farmers Market on 7th and Yampa. Meet local artisans, buy produce from local farmers and honey from local beekeepers, listen to the chatter of neighbors, and know that you’re welcome, too.