DescriptionUte Indians, drawn by valuable resources and hot springs, were the area's first inhabitants, but it was French fur trappers who gave Steamboat Springs its name. Legend has it that the rhythmic chugging of the hot spring near the river, from which mineral water spewed 15 feet into the air, sounded like a steamboat chugging down the river.
In the immediate vicinity there are more than 150 mineral springs, both medicinal and recreational. Today Old Town Hot Springs is built on the site of the original Heart Springs; phone (970) 879-1828. Strawberry Park Hot Springs, 7 miles northwest on CR 36, offers rejuvenation in a more natural setting; phone (970) 879-0342.
In addition to the thermal waters, Steamboat Springs has gained prominence as a winter sports playground. Norwegian Carl Howelsen, dubbed the Flying Norseman by Barnum & Bailey, introduced skiing and ski jumping in 1913; by the 1930s Steamboat Springs was internationally known. A number of world ski jump records were set on Howelsen Hill, one of the state's oldest ski areas still in use. Howelsen Ice Arena features an Olympic-size ice rink, which offers ice bumper cars, hockey and public ice skating from July to May; phone (970) 871-7033.
Howelsen also organized the first Winter Carnival in 1914. Held in February, this ski festival—along with some 69 winter Olympians who have called the town home and the popularity of the Steamboat Ski Area—perpetuate Steamboat Spring's reputation as “Ski Town, U.S.A.”
June through August the Strings Music Festival features string ensembles, chamber music, bluegrass, jazz and youth and family concerts at Strings Festival Park; phone (970) 879-5056 or the box office at (970) 879-1996. The Steamboat Springs Arts Council hosts a number of cultural events, featuring Opera Steamboat in August and a free classical music series from June through August; phone (970) 879-9008.
The Yampa River Core Trail, a 7.5-mile route that runs the length of the town, provides scenic opportunities for walking, jogging, bicycling and skating. The path winds beside the Yampa River through city parks and wetlands. Kayakers and tubers enjoy the rushing waters of the Yampa River created by the spring snowmelt; tamer currents later in the season lure anglers.
Spectacular Fish Creek Falls, which plunge 283 feet through a geologic fault, is just minutes away. The falls are reached from the parking lot by a footpath along the creek. A footbridge at the bottom of the falls provides an excellent view of the cascades. The overlook trail is paved and is accessible for the physically impaired. Picnic facilities are available.
South of town a scenic route follows SR 131 to Toponas, turns east on SR 134, crosses 9,570-foot Gore Pass and rejoins US 40 at a point 6 miles north of Kremmling. The headquarters for the Routt National Forest, which encompasses much of the neighboring mountain country, is in town. Steamboat Lake State Park lies 25 miles north via CR 129.
Visitor InfoSteamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association 125 Anglers Dr. STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO 80487. Phone:(970)879-0880
Things to SeeTread of Pioneers Museum
FishingBucking Rainbow Outfitters