Tucked into Colorado's Yampa Valley, Steamboat Springs is an idyllic international winter destination famous for its champagne powder snow, authentic western heritage, and natural hot springs. Most people travel to Steamboat for its world-class ski resort, which has turned out a record 95 Olympians (and counting) or to visit the nation's oldest operating ski area, Howelsen Hill. Founded in 1914 by a Norweigan immigrant named Carl Howelsen, this ski area is known for its unique ski jumps and long legacy of alpine and Nordic events.
The Steamboat Ski Resort in the heart of town is where beginners and experts alike can ski across more than 2,000 acres of powdery winter snow, so soft it's said to make your nose tickle –– just like champagne. The term “champagne powder snow” was first coined by local rancher Joe McElroy in the 1950s, and it’s the perfect descriptor for the area’s gorgeous snowscape.
Apart from skiing, the resort boasts scenic gondola rides with breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains and cozy dinner sleigh rides beneath the glittering Colorado night sky. Adrenaline junkies will love the Outlaw Coaster, the famed ride with dips waves and several 360° turns.
But perhaps the thing that sticks out most to Steamboat locals and visitors is the town's good, old-fashioned western hospitality. The American west continues to thrive in this community, bolstered by the surrounding working ranches –– many of which have passed down from generation to generation. You'll also regularly find yourself in the company of cowboys and cattle drives. Steamboat celebrates its western roots with events like Cowboy Roundup Days and the Pro Rodeo Series.
Outdoor enthusiasts can't get enough of the beautiful Fish Creek Falls, characterized by its clear alpine water. During the spring, the falls are at their peak with snowmelt, but ice-climbers love tackling the famous cliff-face during the winter months. Nature lovers frequent the hiking trail, which is a moderate walk boasting incredible views.
Steamboat is best-known for its skiing, but there is an abundance of other activities available for avid outdoor adventurers in this iconic resort town. If you're interested in the community’s Western heritage, then you're welcome to try your hand at the rodeo, horseback riding, or ranching.
In the warmer months, water activities are plentiful on the Yampa River and Steamboat Lake. Strawberry Hot Springs Park is a quiet forest resort featuring all-natural, spring-fed pools, and Old Town has eight natural hot spring pools alongside a fitness center and full-service gym. Stagecoach Park is a lush, sprawling expanse tucked into the valley popular for lake and river fishing.
Fish Creek Falls is always busy with biking, hiking, picnicking, camping, and fishing during the summer. Despite being known for its ski resort, Steamboat has plenty more to do beyond that, including snowmobiling, dog sledding, ice skating, and snowshoeing!
Shopping in Steamboat is the perfect way to get to know the town and gear up for your next big adventure. Whether you want to shop the hottest trends, find western wear, or stock up on outdoor apparel, Steamboat has it all. Take a stroll down Lincoln Avenue to peruse the shops or satisfy your sweet tooth at one of the candy stores. Bookworms will appreciate the numerous cozy coffee shops and bookstores around. There are also a few fine-art galleries and kitschy boutiques perfect for finding unique trinkets and gifts.
Thanks to its central location in the Rocky Mountains West, getting to Steamboat Springs is easy to do. Whether you plan to drive into the city, board a train or take a direct flight, there are many options available. Denver and Salt Lake City are easily accessible via US Highway 40, and Union Pacific handles freight travel. By air, Steamboat connects to key business destinations and major airline hubs. Direct flights are available from Denver International Airport and Yama Valley Regional Airport.