Steamboat Springs Travel Guide

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Steamboat Springs Travel Guide

Steamboat Springs Local History

Steamboat Springs's numerous mineral springs and abundant wild game, made a summer retreat for Utes centuries before the arrival of white settlers. Mid-19th-century trappers swore they heard the chugging sound of "a steamboat comin' round the bend" until investigation revealed a bubbling mineral spring.

They named the original hot spring after the sound that the pulsing water made. Prospectors never thrived here as they did elsewhere in the Rockies, though coal mining has proven profitable. Ranching and farming were the economic mainstays until tourism arrived, and agriculture remains of key importance today. The original spring itself, still located next to the railroad tracks where they're crossed by 13th street, became silent years ago when the railroad was built, disturbing the geologic structure.

This area is perhaps best known as the birthplace of organized skiing in Colorado. Although miners, ranchers, and mail carriers used primitive skis as a means of transportation as early as the late 1880s, skiing only began to be considered a recreational sport in Colorado, after Carl Howelsen built Howelsen Hill ski jump here in 1914. In 1963, Storm Mountain was developed for skiing, and Steamboat's future as a modern ski resort was ensured.

The mountain was renamed Mount Werner after the 1964 avalanche death of Olympic skier Buddy Werner, a Steamboat Springs native. Today the mountain is managed by the Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation, and Howelsen Hill, owned by the city of Steamboat Springs, continues to operate as a facility for ski jumpers. as well as a fun little downtown ski area.

Steamboat Springs Ski Resort

  • Nearest town: Steamboat Springs
  • Resort Altitude (metres): 2070m
  • Ski Season: November to April
  • Mountain Range: Colorado Rockies
  • Number of Lifts: 20
  • Highest Lift (metres): 3224m
  • Lowest Lift (metres): 2103m
  • Number of Slopes: 142
  • Snowboarding: 2
  • Cross Country (km): 30km

Steamboat Springs Ski Information

General information

Apart from the gorgeous surroundings and all the scenic delights, there are restaurants, museums, and art galleries in Steamboat Springs. The Steamboat Art Council is one such, which is located in a renovated historic train depot, and has two galleries displaying work by established artists and newcomers. The Tread of Pioneers Museum in Steamboat Springs is located in a 1908 Queen Anne Victorian home, and exhibits artefacts of historical Routt County, including a Native American display. The Alpine Slide is a mind-blowing two parallel tracks running the 2,400 ft course at this venue, with 180 degree and 90 degree turns.

  • Languages: English
  • Driving: Drive on the right hand side of the road.
  • Emergency contact numbers: All Emergencies 911
  • Religion: Christian

Apres-ski

With the resort being split between Springs and Steamboat, there are plenty of bars and restaurants for some lively apres-ski, with the old town providing just a bit more entertainment.

Overview

At Steamboat Springs there is terrain for all levels, with beginners nursery slopes and ski-school to keep newcomers happy, some good pistes for intermediates, and wooded off-piste powder for advanced skiers, while Boarders have two specialist parks. The resort is split between Steamboat and Springs, and there is plenty of accommodation, with bars and restaurants, and the old town offers a great deal of off-snow activity. Adult 1 day lift pass 69 USD Adult 6 day lift pass 372 USD Youth 1 day lift pass 61 USD Max age for a discounted youth lift pass 18 Child 6 day lift pass 312 USD Child 1 day lift pass 42 USD Max age for a free child lift pass 5 Max age for a discounted child lift pass 12 Min age for senior discounted lift pass 65

Steamboat Springs Attractions

Steamboat Springs Shopping

Lincoln Avenue - Here you will find most of the more interesting shops and galleries. Art lovers will enjoy Artisans' Market of Steamboat, a nonprofit cooperative of local artists, where you can buy some really fine art and craft articles. Located between Fifth and Ninth streets, 626 Lincoln Ave. Tel: 970/879-7512. Another good place for art lovers is Steamboat Art Company, which offers an eclectic selection of limited-edition prints and other art, plus jewelry and crafts in wood, glass, and pottery. Located on 903 Lincoln Ave. Tel: 970/879-3383. The Homesteader, is a delightful kitchen shop with all manner of kitchen gadgets, salsa, chutney, and other Colorado-made food items. The shop also has gourmet coffee beans and an espresso bar. Located on 821 Lincoln Ave. Tel: 970/879-5880. .

F. M. Light & Sons - Offers a tremendous selection of Stetsons, plus just about everything else a westerner wears. You will also find numerous house wares, snowshoes, art and antiques, along with tools and every type of nut or bolt you're likely to ever want. Located at 830 Lincoln Ave. Tel: 970/879-1822. .

Lyon's Corner Drug & Soda Fountain - This is not just a drugstore and card shop (although it does have a good selection of greeting cards), it also has a great old Wurlitzer jukebox spinning golden oldies, and an old-time soda fountain where you can get real malts, ice-cream sodas, egg creams, phosphates, sundaes, and fresh-squeezed lemonade. Located at the corner of Ninth and Lincoln. Tel: 970/879-1114..

The Bottleneck - This is a good choice for liquor, beer, and wine. Wine selections include the locally-produced wines from Steamboat Springs Cellars. The merlot is very good. Located on 734 Lincoln Ave. Tel: 970/879-1255.

Steamboat Springs Activities

The Howelsen Ice Arena - The Ice Arena is an enclosed Olympic-size ice arena. It is open year-round with open skating hours, offering lessons in hockey and figure skating; organizes figure-skating, ice-hockey and broom-ball competitions. Skates can be rented and the Arena also hosts birthday parties. Call for the rink schedule. Admission is $4.75 adults, $4.25 youths under 18, and $3 for seniors 55 and older. Skate rentals are $3 ($1 for seniors). Located at 243 Howelsen Pkwy. Tel: 970/879-0341..

Sombrero Ranches - This establishment offers 1- and 2-hour rides in summer, plus (by reservation only) breakfast rides, evening steak rides, and pack trips for fishing and hunting. Prices are $25 for an hour, $40 for the 2-hour and breakfast rides, and $45 for the evening steak ride. Located behind the rodeo grounds in town (follow 5th St. south from Lincoln Ave.). Tel: 970/879-2306. .

Howelsen Hill - Has remained open every winter since its first day in 1915, making it the oldest ski area in continuous use in Colorado. The first accredited public-school ski classes in North America were taught on this slope. It offers both day and night skiing on its 30 acres of terrain served by a double chair, a Poma lift, and a pony tow. There are 15 trails (the longest is 1 mile), and Howelsen Hill rises 440 feet to a 7,136-foot summit elevation. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for children under 18 and seniors older than 60. There is lower rates for night skiing. Tel: 970/879-8499. .

The Hot Springs at Strawberry Park - On a rugged, rocky road best attempted with a high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicle, the trip might be difficult, but well worth it. It is a wonderful experience to spend a moonlit evening in a sandy-bottomed, rock-lined soaking pool, kept between 101° and 106°F, with snow piled high around you. Massages are available, and rustic cabins and tent sites can be rented year-round. After dark, children under 18 are not permitted, clothing is optional, and admission costs $10. The hot springs are open daily from 10am to 10:30pm year-round. Daytime (until 5pm) admission weekdays costs $5 adults, $3 children 12 and under; weekdays after 5pm, weekends, and holidays admission is $10 adults and $5 for children. Located 20 miles north of downtown, 44200 County Rd. 36. Tel: 970/879-0342.

Steamboat Springs Parks & Gardens

Yampa River Botanic Park - For a pleasant stroll among lovely gardens, stop at this botanic park along the Yampa River, between the ski mountain and downtown. Several picturesque ponds are set among low rolling hills, surrounded by a wide variety of flowering and nonflowering plants and trees of the Yampa River Basin. There are wetlands on each side of the park, and the Yampa River Core trail connects to the park on its west side.
From late June through August, the Strings in the Mountains Festival of Music presents free 1-hour concerts at the park each Thursday at 12:15pm. The park is open dawn to dusk (May-Oct), and admission is free (donations welcome). Located at 1000 Pamela Lane. Tel: 970/879-4300.

Two wilderness areas - Another two natural attractions in the forest, are easily reached from Steamboat. The Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area is immediately north of town, and it is a region of rugged peaks approached through 10,800-foot Buffalo Pass. The Flat Tops Wilderness Area, on Forest Road 60 off Strawberry Park Road via Seventh Street, offers picturesque alpine meadows and sheer volcanic cliffs. No motorized vehicles or mountain bikes are allowed in wilderness areas, although horses and dogs are permitted (dogs must be leashed in some areas).

Steamboat Lake State Park - At an elevation of 8,000 feet, activities include summer camping, picnicking, fishing, hunting, boating, swimming, canoeing, horseback riding, and nature walks. There's an attractive sandy beach (the sand was trucked in) and three boat-launching ramps. In winter, the park offers ice fishing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing. Day-use fee is $5 per vehicle. There is 198 campsites with fees of $10 - $14, plus the $5 park entrance fee. Steamboat Lake State Park is located some 28 miles north of Steamboat Springs, on Routt County Road 129. Tel: 970/879-3922.

Stagecoach State Park - This park offers camping, picnicking, fishing, boating, and other water sports. The main attraction here is a 740-acre reservoir, which is set among rolling hills, interspersed with forests and grasslands. The reservoir is fairly evenly divided for water-skiing and wakeless boating. Located south of Steamboat Springs. Tel: 970/736-2436.

Steamboat Springs Restaurants and Bars

Whether your taste buds run to the wild and exotic or the quick and easy, Steamboat boasts more than 75 bars and restaurants to take care of even the most discriminating appetite. It is a great place to try local favourites such as elk, buffalo and Rocky Mountain trout.
No visit to Steamboat is complete without a ride on the Steamboat Gondola, to a special treat at Hazie's and Ragnar's, with award-winning continental cuisine and wines, enhanced by spectacular views of the Yampa Valley below.

Steamboat Springs Restaurants

Harwigs/L'Apogee - Located in an 1886 building that originally housed a saddle shop, this restaurant serves French cuisine with an Asian flair. The atmosphere is enhanced by live piano music. The menu changes often, but main courses might include selections such as oven-roasted chicken breast stuffed with apples and goat cheese, or a char-grilled rack of lamb that has been marinated in garlic and herbs. A favorite item here is the half-pound char grilled lamb burger with strawberry green apple chutney. It also offers an award-winning wine cellar, and outdoor seating. Main courses $9 - $37.25, and steaks $3.25 - $4 per ounce. Reservations are recommended. Located at 911 Lincoln Ave. Tel: 970/879-1919.

Cugino's Pizzeria - A favourite amongst local families. It offers great food, generous portions, and low prices. The extensive menu includes pizza, plus hoagies and steak sandwiches, pasta, seafood, and calzones. Those with healthy appetites might want to try one of the strombolis (fresh-baked pizza dough stuffed with various ingredients). A vegetarian version is also served. Beer and wine are available at any time, and liquor is served after 5pm. Reservations are not accepted and main courses are priced $8.50 - $17.95, pizzas $6.75 - $19.95, and sandwiches $4.25 -$6.50. Located 825 Oak St. Tel: 970/879-5805.

Slopeside Grill - This restaurant draws diners with large portions and its views of the slopes. A large U-shaped light-colored wooden bar dominates the dining room, where diners face the ski slopes through large windows. Grill options include the popular slow-roasted rack of ribs, and the Chicken Picatta (boneless chicken breast sautéed with lemon, white wine, shallots, and capers, and served with a creamy butter sauce) is strongly recommended. The pizza, at this establishment is exceptionally good, with choices such as "The Chutes" (sweet and hot Italian sausage, fresh tomatoes, red onions, and mushrooms) and the "Vagabond," which combines garlic, feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, and spinach, and tops it all with mozzarella. Priced at $8.95 - $9.95, it is surely worth a try. Main courses lunch and dinner $6.95 - $23.95. Located on Ski Time Square in Torian Plum Plaza, Around Town. Tel: 970/879-2916.

Steamboat Springs Bars & Clubs

Steamboat Brewery & Tavern - This modern brewpub, which produces an award-winning amber ale, offers a full bar, with about a dozen wines available by the glass, and five or six of its own microbrews on tap. The menu includes a wide selection of soups, sandwiches, burgers, and salads, plus hand-twirled pizza and their own bread, baked fresh daily. Dinner entrees include selections such as blackened Pacific snapper served over tomato basil linguini with Cajun sauce, broiled New York steak, or salami and provolone stromboli with fresh basil and plum tomatoes. Tours of the brewery are available by request. Reservations are not accepted, and main courses are priced $6 - $22, pizza $9.80 - $12. Located at 435 Lincoln Ave. Tel: 970/879-2233.

The Tugboat Grill & Pub - Oak floors and rough barn-wood walls cloaked with game and fishing trophies, sports memorabilia, and celebrity photographs are the trademark of this establishment. The fare includes a variety of burgers, burritos, deli sandwiches, fish, soups, and huge salads throughout the day. Dinner entrees such as basil chicken (a lightly herbed chicken breast in a creamy vegetable sauce, with black olives, green onions, and tomatoes) is worth a taste. There is also generous appetizer plates available and live music enhances the atmosphere. Reservations are not accepted. Main courses cost $4.75 - $17.50. Located on Ski Time Square, Around Town. Tel: 970/879-7070.

The bar scene in Steamboat, comes especially alive in winter. One of the hottest new hangouts is Level'z, at Ski Time Square (tel. 970/870-9090), with live entertainment nightly, 20 beers on tap, pool tables and video games, and some good happy hour specials.

Steamboat Springs children's activities

The Howelsen Ice Arena - The Ice Arena is an enclosed Olympic-size ice arena. It is open year-round with open skating hours, offering lessons in hockey and figure skating; organizes figure-skating, ice-hockey and broom-ball competitions. Skates can be rented and the Arena also hosts birthday parties. Call for the rink schedule. Admission is $4.75 adults, $4.25 youths under 18, and $3 for seniors 55 and older. Skate rentals are $3 ($1 for seniors). Located at 243 Howelsen Pkwy. Tel: 970/879-0341..

Sombrero Ranches - This establishment offers 1- and 2-hour rides in summer, plus (by reservation only) breakfast rides, evening steak rides, and pack trips for fishing and hunting. Prices are $25 for an hour, $40 for the 2-hour and breakfast rides, and $45 for the evening steak ride. Located behind the rodeo grounds in town (follow 5th St. south from Lincoln Ave.). Tel: 970/879-2306. .

Howelsen Hill - Has remained open every winter since its first day in 1915, making it the oldest ski area in continuous use in Colorado. The first accredited public-school ski classes in North America were taught on this slope. It offers both day and night skiing on its 30 acres of terrain served by a double chair, a Poma lift, and a pony tow. There are 15 trails (the longest is 1 mile), and Howelsen Hill rises 440 feet to a 7,136-foot summit elevation. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for children under 18 and seniors older than 60. There is lower rates for night skiing. Tel: 970/879-8499. .

The Hot Springs at Strawberry Park - On a rugged, rocky road best attempted with a high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicle, the trip might be difficult, but well worth it. It is a wonderful experience to spend a moonlit evening in a sandy-bottomed, rock-lined soaking pool, kept between 101° and 106°F, with snow piled high around you. Massages are available, and rustic cabins and tent sites can be rented year-round. After dark, children under 18 are not permitted, clothing is optional, and admission costs $10. The hot springs are open daily from 10am to 10:30pm year-round. Daytime (until 5pm) admission weekdays costs $5 adults, $3 children 12 and under; weekdays after 5pm, weekends, and holidays admission is $10 adults and $5 for children. Located 20 miles north of downtown, 44200 County Rd. 36. Tel: 970/879-0342.

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