Planning a trip to Steamboat Springs, Colorado? We spent a week in this fun mountain town last summer with my extended family, and there are lots of fun things to do in Steamboat Springs in the summer.
Steamboat Springs is located in northwest Colorado, about 3 hours' drive from Denver. It is home to Steamboat Resort – a popular ski resort in the winter.
There is even more to do here in the summer, and cool mountain temperatures make it an outstanding summer destination for families.
Honestly, one of my top priorities on this trip was relaxation, so we spent a lot of time just hanging out at our resort. But we still had time to enjoy most of the activities on this list.
Here are my top things to do in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
Tubing the Yampa River was one of the highlights of our Steamboat Springs trip. It is fairly easy and inexpensive.
We parked upstream and had my dad shuttle us back. Many visitors park downstream and take a bus to the put-in. You can also book with an outfitter who will take care of the equipment and transportation for you.
Learn more about tubing the Yampa River in Steamboat Springs at https://www.steamboatchamber.com/activities/water-activities/tubing/
The Yampa River Core Trail is a 7.5-mile paved trail that runs along the Yampa River and behind downtown Steamboat Springs. It's good for a variety of activities, and it's especially fun with bicycles.
I didn't bike in Steamboat Springs, but my brother-in-law brought his e-bike and rode this trail every day. It was a fun and easy way to get around and enjoy the scenery.
Steamboat Resort has a bike park too. Ride the scenic chair lift up the mountain with your bike, then ride the trails down.
Steamboat Springs is an outstanding hiking destination. For starters, you can hike the Yampa River Core Trail, Fish Creek Falls, or Steamboat Resort.
Avid hikers can find many trails in this beautiful and mountainous region.
My son and others in our group hiked up the hill at Steamboat Resort one morning and then rode the scenic chairlift back down. It costs money to ride the lift up the mountain, but it's free to ride down.
Soak in a Hot Spring
Steamboat Springs is named for the whistling sound that the natural hot springs made here in the 1800's. Today, there are several good ways to enjoy hot springs year-round in Steamboat Springs.
Old Town Hot Springs is located downtown. It features several spring-fed pools and waterslides, as well as other fun activities.
Strawberry Park Hot Springs is another popular hot springs resort in Steamboat Springs. It is located outside the city and has on-site lodging and other amenities.
There are smaller, free springs in the area too. We stopped to soak in “Hippie Hot Springs” at Dr. Rich Weiss Park on our tubing excursion.
The Outlaw Mountain Coaster is just one of the fun things you can do at Steamboat Resort in the summer. There's also a scenic chairlift, mini-golf, shopping, dining, hiking… and just hanging out and enjoying the mountain resort vibe.
We were tempted by the Land Up Adventure Zone Day Pass for $49 per person. It includes 3 rides on the Outlaw Mountain Coaster, 1 round of mini-golf, and unlimited scenic chair lift rides.
But most of our group just wanted one activity, so we chose the Outlaw Mountain Coaster and were glad we did. It's the longest mountain coaster in North America. I've ridden two coasters like it in Utah, and this one did feel faster and longer.
If you go for the Day Pass, I recommend that you arrive at opening time. The line for the Outlaw Mountain Coaster moves slowly and three rides may take several hours on a busy summer day. There is a virtual queue option that can save you from standing in long lines.
Fish Creek Falls
Fish Creek Falls is a gorgeous waterfall just a few minutes' drive from downtown Steamboat Springs. There are two short, easy trails to the Lower Falls and two longer trails to the Upper Falls and Long Lake. We hiked the paved, accessible trail up to the overlook and then the shorter unpaved trail down to the bridge at the bottom of the falls.
It currently costs $5 to visit Fish Creek Falls This is a federal site, so you won't need to pay if you have a national parks annual pass. It may be difficult to find a parking space on summer weekends and holidays, so go early or late to beat the crowds.
Related: 4 Ways to Save on National Park Fees
Hot Air Balloon
Steamboat Springs hosts a Hot Air Baloon Rodeo in July, and you can book a hot air balloon ride anytime you come to town. There are several companies to choose from.
We didn't try a hot air balloon ride on this trip, but we enjoyed seeing balloons float gracefully over our condo in the mornings.
Fly fishing in the Yampa River is a popular activity in Steamboat Springs. Bring your own equipment, rent equipment in town, or let a local outfitter take care of everything for you.
There are several good fishing spots in town, or you can head to a nearby state park. Learn more about fishing in Steamboat Springs at https://www.steamboatchamber.com/activities/water-activities/fishing/
Yampa River Botanic Park
Yampa River Botanic Park is a free public park near downtown Steamboat Springs and the Yampa River Core Trail. It's 6-acres of landscaped gardens and sculptures.
For me, this is the one that got away. I didn't make it to Yampa River Botanic Park on this trip, but would be sure to get there next time.
Learn more at https://yampariverbotanicpark.org/
Downtown Steamboat Springs is filled with fun shops and restaurants. I had a lot of fun browsing the boutiques and bookstores with my teen daughter.
One shop you won't want to miss is F.M Light and Sons. It's filled with authentic western apparel and it's easy to be tempted by the big selection of boots, even if you're not an aspiring cowboy.
Lyon Drug is another good stop for families. It's a real drug store with a real old-fashioned soda fountain – for old-fashioned prices. Get ice cream scoops for as little as $2 each. I recommend the fresh cherry-lime ricky made with fresh-squeezed limes and soda water.
Steamboat Springs is an outstanding summer destination for families. And it's fun for family-reunions and multi-family trips too.
I hope that this list helps jump start your Steamboat Springs trip.