21 Best Steamboat Springs Summer Activities 2023 [By A Local]
LOOKING FOR THE BEST SUMMER ACTIVITIES IN STEAMBOAT SPRINGS?
Officially trademarked as Ski Town, USA, our small town in northern Colorado has much more to offer than just champagne powder. The common motto among Steamboat Springs locals is, “come for the winter, stay for the summer.”
Important note: If you are going to visit our town of Steamboat Springs, please consider staying in a hotel rather than an Airbnb/VRBO. Steamboat Springs is experiencing a massive housing issue for locals. Thank you for your help in solving the issue of overtourism!
21 Steamboat Springs Summer Activities
After battling the Yampa Valley curse and spending several summers in northern Colorado, here is a list of the 21 best activities for your Steamboat Springs summer bucket list, as told by a local:
1. Explore Mount Werner
Mount Werner attracts tourists throughout the winter months with steep ski slopes and the best Bloody Marys in Yampa Valley. But did you know that Mount Werner upped its game and now offers awesome activities for summer visitors, too?
Steamboat Resort features a mini-golf course and other unique things to do for kids, teens, and even adults. Take the entire family out for a friendly game of putt-putt before heading to Slopeside Bar and Grill for an ice-cold brew and pizza.
One of the best things about a Steamboat Springs summer is the live music. Steamboat Resort sets up a massive stage at the base of the mountain where live bands come to serenade the crowds.
If you’ve missed the live music at the stage in Gondola Square, check out the restaurant Timber & Torch. A stone’s throw away from the stage in Gondola Square, Timber & Torch regularly has live music and a great outdoor bar.
Sunset Happy Hour
Who could forget the most popular party in Steamboat Springs? Sunset Happy Hour has made a name for itself among locals and visitors alike. Catch the best sunset of your life at the peak of Mount Werner while sipping on craft beer and listening to popular local music.
To reach Sunset Happy Hour, check the Steamboat Springs calendar for the next event. Sunset Happy Hours are typically on Thursdays and Sundays throughout the summer months.
Cost: $15 (this includes your gondola ticket and first beverage)
Local’s Tip: Hike up Mount Werner for Sunset Happy Hour to avoid the cost of a lift ticket. Hiking to the top is free and you can ride the gondola down for free, too!
2. Go Biking
Steamboat Springs, Colorado is also known as “Bike Town USA” and for good reason! Join the flocks of other riders and explore Steamboat on two wheels. Whether you’re riding on the paved Core Trail, the treacherous paths of Mount Werner, or on the backroads in Clark, you’re sure to find excitement.
Many visitors pack their bikes for the journey to Steamboat Springs, while others rent from local businesses. Since we never owned bikes while living in Steamboat, we always rented from SkiHaus Bike Rentals.
Local’s Tip: Ask about a discount if you plan to rent a bike for several consecutive days.
3. Hike The Many Trails In Steamboat Springs
By far my favorite summer activity in Steamboat Springs is hiking! It’s free, fun, and the best way to experience the mountains of northern Colorado.
Despite your hiking ability and fitness level, there are trails for everyone in this town. So whether you’re an avid mountaineer or an inactive family of six, I expect to see you out on the hiking trails.
A few of my favorite hikes include:
📍 Fish Creek Falls
The perfect hike for people of all fitness levels. Fish Creek Falls features two waterfalls and a mountain lake, all at varying distances on the trail. Decide which distance is right for you and aim for the landmarks:
1st Waterfall – 0.5 miles roundtrip
2nd Waterfall – 5 miles roundtrip
Long Lake – 12 miles roundtrip
📍 Mount Zirkel Loop
If you’re up for an adventure, Mount Zirkel must be added to your list. Located 45 minutes north of Steamboat Springs, Mount Zirkel Wilderness is where you’ll find the best views of Routt National Forest.
My favorite stop on the Mount Zirkel Loop Trail is Gilpin Lake. This mountain lake is the ideal spot for a picnic lunch at the midpoint of your hike.
📍 Emerald Mountain
A local’s favorite, Emerald Mountain is a quick day hike located in downtown Steamboat Springs. Emerald Mountain offers the most jaw-dropping view of the town, so don’t forget to pack your camera. This 4-mile hike is accessible year-round and can be done by people of all fitness levels.
For more hiking ideas, check out my recent blog post: 13 Steamboat Springs Hiking Trails with the Most Rewarding Views.
4. Float The Yampa River
It isn’t a Steamboat Springs summer without a wild ride down the Yampa River. This is one of the most popular activities in Steamboat, so expect to float by large groups of other river-goers.
There are two ways to float the river: with your own tube or by renting a tube through a company. You can buy a tube at the local Walmart or rent a tube from Backdoor Sports. Both of these options are relatively the same price.
You’ll begin your journey at Rotary Park, located at the bottom of the exit off of Highway 40 (there is only one exit in Steamboat Springs, so you can’t miss it). The parking lot fills up quickly so I highly recommend getting here early.
The location where you should exit the river will strongly depend on the time of year and how fast the river is flowing. A safe bet is to follow other groups of tubers and get out where they do. You can also check the river conditions at this website: USGS Current Conditions
To get back to your car after your river adventure, take the free bus. Steamboat Springs offers public transportation that loops around the entire town; just deflate your tube, hop on the bus, and you’ll be back to your car in no time.
Local’s Tip: Be sure to pack water and sunscreen for the ride.
5. Soak In 3 Steamboat Springs Hot Springs
Steamboat Springs is famous for its majestic hot springs tucked back in Routt National Forest. The best part? Strawberry Park Hot Springs is just one of three hot springs sprinkled throughout this town.
Be sure to bring your swimsuit on the family vacation this year because you won’t want to miss hot springs hopping. Check out my recent post about these secret (and not-so-secret) hot springs: 3 Irresistible Hot Springs in Steamboat Springs.
6. Steamboat’s Highly Rated Food Tour
Want a unique experience in Steamboat Springs? Add this Downtown Steamboat Springs Food Tour to your summer itinerary.
This food tour is very highly rated among travelers to the area. It will take you around to the best culinary restaurants in this quaint town.
Sample food from all over the world on this food tour, from Greek cuisine to Mexican delicacies. You’ll love the attention to detail from your tour guides, not to mention the relevant and interesting information you’ll learn.
And if you are a vegetarian or gluten-free, don’t worry. This food tour can accommodate to special diets upon request. You’ll enjoy your tour just as much as the others.
Although poor weather is unlikely during the summer in Steamboat Springs, you may get unlucky with a rainy day. This tour is the perfect solution to a rainy summer day in Steamboat Springs.
Rain or shine, Steamboat Springs Food Tour will go on!
🎉 Check out more details about the food tour and order tickets online here.
7. Visit The Yampa River Botanic Park
Steamboat Springs does an amazing job maintaining its botanic garden. Take a morning stroll through the Yampa River Botanic Park before the heat of the day. Nestled along the Yampa River, this is a great place to stop while exploring the Core Trail.
Local’s Tip: Check the events calendar for yoga in the park, which is hosted at the Yampa River Botanic Park.
8. Explore The Core Trail
The Core Trail is the core of Steamboat Springs. Running from Walton Creek all the way past Bud Werner Library on the north side of town, the Core Trail can take you anywhere you want to go.
Pack your bikes, rollerblades, or even roller-skis and explore the town. Personally, I like to go by foot from the south end of Steamboat to the north end via the Core Trail. There is so much to see and experience on this trek.
Local’s Tip: Remember that there is free public transportation. If you aren’t keen on walking the entire way, take the bus back.
9. Navigate The Waters of Steamboat Lake
Ironically, Steamboat Lake is located in the small town of Clark, Colorado, approximately 25 minutes north of Steamboat Springs. Sitting at the base of Hahn’s Peak, it’s hard to miss this beautiful lake. An easy drive from town, Steamboat Lake is a great day trip for the entire family.
Steamboat Lake has many activities for families and adventurers alike. I highly recommend renting a boat from the Steamboat Lake Marina and taking a dip in the fresh mountain water. Other activities include kayaking and paddle-boarding.
Local’s Tip: Once you’re done at the lake, stop by Hahn’s Peak Roadhouse for a delicious burger and beer.
10. Cliff Jump At King Solomon Falls
This is a secret adventure and a local’s favorite that I wanted to share with you. King Solomon Falls might just be the best adventure you’ll have in Steamboat Springs this summer. If cliff jumping into a waterfall sounds like your idea of fun, read on.
King Solomon Falls is about an hour drive from town, but well worth the journey. The hike back to the waterfall is short but steep, so bring proper footwear. Once you’ve made it to the falls, you’ll be able to swim in the pool, jump from the cliffs, or relax in the sun.
Getting to King Solomon Falls will be your first challenge. The best way to find it is by typing in “The Cabins at Historic Columbine” into your Google maps GPS. Below, I’ve attached a map to this location. The dirt road to King Solomon Falls is opposite these cabins on the right-hand side of County Road 129.
DISCLAIMER: Getting to King Solomon Falls is incredibly dangerous. It’s nearly impossible to return to your vehicle in one piece. Go at your own risk!
11. Take The Whole Family Camping
Waking up to the beautiful mountains of Routt National Forest and the crisp northern Colorado air, what could be better? Luckily, there are ample places in Steamboat Springs for camping.
A few of our favorites include Buffalo Pass, Rabbit Ears, Zirkel Wilderness, and Pearl Lake.
12. Experience The Steamboat Springs Farmers Market
Looking for fresh meat, veggies, or fruit? Steamboat Springs has an amazing farmers market during the summer months. Open on Saturdays, you’ll find the farmers market on 7th Street from 9am to 2pm.
The best part of Steamboat’s farmers market is friendly people. Vendors are happy to greet you while making the most delicious BBQ or crepes you’ve ever had. Another perk is the live music; stay a while and listen to the beautiful sounds of local musicians.
13. Rock Out At The Free Summer Concerts
Steamboat hosts a variety of events, but for the past 25+ years, it has hosted a free summer concert series that really gets our town and visitors excited.
Gather at the base of Howelson Hill to hear impressive acts like Stephen Marley, Shinyribs, and more. These concerts are performed periodically throughout the summer and they are a big hit among tourists and locals alike.
Check out the performers for 2022 here: Steamboat Springs Free Summer Concert Series Lineup.
14. Spend A Night At The Rodeo
Head down to the Pro Rodeo for a fun night with the entire family. This event has proved to be a major part of Steamboat Springs’ history and highlights the town’s wild west flare.
The rodeo is a weekly event on Friday and Saturday nights. Come for the bull and barrel riding but stay for the delicious BBQ and awesome views of Mount Werner.
Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children. These are non-refundable but the show goes on even if it rains. The show starts at 7:30pm but I highly recommend getting there early because seating is general admission.
Local’s Tip: Bring a cushion to sit on during the show. The seats are stadium-style bleachers and can become very uncomfortable after two hours!
15. Cool Off In The Yampa River
So you’ve tubed the Yampa, but now it’s time to find the optimal swimming hole and go for a dip.
Swimming in the Yampa River is one of the best summer activities in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Pack a lunch and spend the day jumping into the chilly mountain water with your friends and family.
Local’s Tip: Park your car at Bud Werner Library or West Lincoln Park and check out our favorite swimming hole. It is located right after the bridge on 13th Street.
16. Eat Dinner On The River
Steamboat Springs residents are very proud of the Yampa River. So what’s a summer trip to Steamboat without having dinner at one of the many restaurants overlooking the river?
Delight in a delicious meal while watching the fly fishermen catch rainbow trout just 10 meters away. A few of the restaurants on the river include Aurum Food & Wine, Sake2U, E3 Chophouse, Taco Cabo, and Sunpies Bistro.
17. Go Ziplining
If you’re looking for a thrill, ziplining in Steamboat Springs this summer is the answer! With zipline speeds reaching up to 40mph, this adventure isn’t for the faint of heart.
Take in the most epic views of Yampa Valley and the Flat Top Mountains by soaring high above the trees with Steamboat Zipline Adventures. This is the perfect midday activity for families. Expect this journey to take approximately two hours.
18. Fly Fish The Yampa River
Back to the Yampa! Grab your fishing poles and head out for a day on the water. Fly fishing is one of the most popular sports in Steamboat so whether you’re an experienced fisherman or a newbie, there is room for you on the river.
If you’re looking to book a fishing guide, I suggest Steamboat Flyfisher. Their guides have years of experience and will take you on a trip you surely won’t forget.
19. Rent ATVs
Steamboat Springs is the land of adventure and adrenaline so the last few activities I have on this list are all about exhilaration.
Steamboat Springs is an isolated town in northern Colorado. With endless amounts of wilderness to explore, an awesome way to get out and see nature is by renting an ATV.
There are several companies that cater to ATV tours and rentals; our favorite is Hahn’s Peak Roadhouse ATV Tours. They offer several unique tours throughout northern Routt County including a dinner tour with a three course meal following the ride (our favorite).
20. Take A Hot Air Balloon Ride
One of the first things you’ll notice on a cool Steamboat Springs summer morning is the handful of hot air balloons floating through the sky.
Unfortunately, Mike and I have never had the opportunity to take a hot air balloon ride up over Yampa Valley, but we have only heard raving stories about this experience.
Book your tour through Wild West Balloon Adventures. If you’re lucky, you’ll get the Colorado flag hot air balloon!
21. See Steamboat From Above On A Helicopter Tour
Go higher and further with a helicopter tour over Steamboat Springs and the surrounding areas. Unlike the hot air balloon ride, a helicopter tour will bring you up and over landmarks like Fish Creek Falls, Mount Zirkel Wilderness, Hahn’s Peak, and so much more.
Use Zephyr Helicopter Company to book your helicopter tour above Steamboat Springs this summer.
What Is Steamboat Springs Famous For?
The town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado is famous for champagne powder snow, hot springs, and endless outdoor activities.
As mentioned above, most people come to Steamboat Springs for world-class skiing, but locals know that the real magic happens during the summer.
What Is The Weather Like In Steamboat Springs In The Summer?
During the summer in Steamboat, the weather can range from freezing cold to scorching hot in a matter of hours.
Overnight, temperatures often drop to the low 40s and sometimes even below freezing. During the day, break out your sunglasses and hats because the temperatures rise to well over 80 degrees.
Rain is uncommon during the summer, so it’s the perfect weather for camping and outdoor exploration.
Note: Always check the mandates on burning before starting a campfire. Steamboat and the surrounding areas are susceptible to wildfires, so it’s important to be diligent and follow the rules.
How To Get To Steamboat Springs, Colorado
If you’re coming to Steamboat Springs from Denver, the best way to get here is by car. The drive takes approximately 2.5 hours (in the summer) and it’s a gorgeous trip.
You can also opt to fly into Steamboat for a quicker journey. The flight takes a mere 29 minutes, but make sure to factor in boarding time and getting to the airport early for security check-in.
The Wrap-Up: Steamboat Springs Summer Activities
Although Steamboat Springs is home to one of the best ski resorts in America, it’s the summer activities that will steal your heart. Start planning your trip to Steamboat Springs and add these 21 unforgettable summer activities to your Colorado bucket list.
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