20 Fabulous Things to Do in Steamboat Springs in Summer from a Savvy Local

Last Updated on December 31, 2023 by foxintheforest

While Steamboat Springs is a popular ski destination in winter, it’s also a wonderful place to visit in the summer.

From hiking to camping to biking to fishing, you’ll find so many things to do in Steamboat Springs in summer that you should definitely add this mountain town to your must-visit list!

I’ve lived in Colorado for almost 15 years, so I’ve taken plenty of trips to Steamboat Springs! With so much to do and see, I definitely think it’s one of the best places to visit in Colorado during the summer.

If you’re looking to travel like a local, not a tourist, and enjoy all the epic things to do in Steamboat Springs in summer then you’re in the right spot.

About this Guide to Steamboat Springs in Summer

Inside this local guide to things to do in Steamboat Springs in summer, you’ll find:

  • How to get to Steamboat Springs from Denver
  • A map of Steamboat Springs
  • Why you should visit Steamboat Springs in summer
  • All the best Steamboat Springs summer activities
  • Additional local Colorado travel resources

How to Get to Steamboat Springs from Denver

Steamboat Springs makes a wonderful weekend getaway in Colorado, and you can either drive or fly to Steamboat Springs from Denver for the ultimate Colorado summer vacation.

The drive from Denver to Steamboat typically takes around 3.5 hours – heading west along I-70, then north on CO-9, then taking US-40 right into town.

Another option to get to Steamboat is to fly directly into Yampa Valley Regional Airport, which usually offers 4 daily flights from Denver in the summer.

Local Tip: Traffic along the I-70 corridor is absolutely horrendous during summer weekends. Plan at least 30 more minutes in your commute or opt to leave very early in the morning.

Is Steamboat Springs Worth Visiting in the Summer?

Even though it’s known for being one of the best Colorado ski towns, Steamboat Springs is actually an awesome place to visit in the summer, too!

Steamboat Springs summer activities range from hiking to cliff jumping to free concerts and even the rodeo. Steamboat Springs is definitely not a place to miss in Colorado in the summer.

While Steamboat Springs is popular in the summer, it’s not as crowded as it is during the winter, so visiting Steamboat Springs in summer is a great choice.

And downtown Steamboat is one of the most fun Colorado mountain towns any time of year!

The Best Things to Do in Steamboat Springs in Summer

This list of things to do in Steamboat Spring in summer includes something for everyone, from outdoor adventurers to music lovers to foodies.

1. Hit the Hiking Trails

Check out some great Colorado hikes in Steamboat Springs. Some of the best hiking trails in Steamboat Springs include:

  • Fish Creek Falls – This stunning 280-foot waterfall is an easy ¼ mile hike to the base of the lower falls, or you can add on a couple more miles to reach a second waterfall.
  • Zirkel Circle – The Mount Zirkel Loop, aka Zirkel Circle, is an awesome 10.5-mile loop that’s a great way to explore all that the Zirkel Wilderness has to offer. Local Tip: This is one of the top backpacking routes in Colorado if you’d like to spend the night under the stars.
  • Emerald Mountain – Emerald Mountain features a network of trails, so you can choose your own adventure.

2. Soak in the Hot Springs

Even in the summer, soaking in the hot springs is so nice at the end of a long day of adventure. Steamboat Spring has a few options:

  • Old Town Hot Springs – Located in downtown Steamboat, Old Town Hot Springs features four spring-fed pools ranging from 98 to 103 degrees. This hot springs is family-friendly, and also has two over 200-foot water slides for splashing around.
  • Hippie Hot Springs – You’ll find the local favorite Hippie Hot Springs in a park across the street from Old Town Hot Springs. These pools are free to soak in, but they are really more warm than hot, with temps that don’t usually get above 100 degrees.
  • Strawberry Park Hot Springs – Don’t miss one of the best hot springs in Colorado! Deep in the Yampa Valley wilderness, you’ll find Strawberry Park Hot Springs. You must make a reservation for each two-hour soaking session, or you can rent a cabin and gain access to the hot springs from sunrise to midnight.

Local Tip: After sundown, the pools at Strawberry Park Hot Springs are clothing optional. You’ll also need an advanced reservation to visit – even during the day!

3. Glide Up the Mountain in a Gondola

Being one of the top ski resorts in Colorado, of course, Steamboat has a gondola to get up the mountain. In the summer, you can take a gondola ride just for the scenic views from the top of Mt. Werner.

Plus, on Thursdays and certain Saturdays, you can partake in a Sunset Happy Hour up on the summit for an extra special Steamboat Springs experience.

Local Tip: Ikon Pass holders ride the gondola for free, while tickets for non-pass holders are $30/adult.

4. Shop Local at the Farmers Market

Stroll through the Steamboat Springs Farmers Market and peruse the produce, prepared food, and handmade goods from over 135 local vendors.

The market takes place on Yampa Street from 9 am-2 pm on Saturdays from mid-June to late September.

5. Take a Steamboat Springs Food Tour

Explore the foodie scene in Steamboat Springs with a food tour!

The “Bite of the Boat” Tour takes you on a 3-hour tasting to five local Steamboat favorites, including Mediterranean fare at Skullcreek Greek, tacos at Salt and Lime, and the “best burger in town” at Backdoor Grill.

6. Dine Al Fresco Along the River

Steamboat Springs has a plethora of great restaurants, but in the summer, nothing beats a meal outside along the Yampa River at one of these spots:

Aurum Food & Wine – Splurge on a mouth-watering modern American meal served on a large deck overlooking the Yampa River or enjoy cocktails on the classy rooftop patio.

  • E3 Chophouse – Go all out for a fancy steak dinner or enjoy a less pricey but still tasty summer lunch on the incredible riverside patio.
  • Taco Cabo – For a more casual al fresco dining experience, go for tacos, burritos, and margaritas served riverside.
  • Sunpie’s Bistro – The most fun you can have along the Yampa is at Sunpie’s Bistro, an authentic New Orleans “5-star dive bar” where the Hurricanes come with a warning and the sandwiches will blow you away.

7. Tube Down the Yampa River

One of the truly can’t miss things to do in Steamboat Springs in summer is tubing down the Yampa River.

Locals and visitors alike have a blast during tubing season, which typically starts in June and lasts through August.

Local tubing outfitters can provide you all the gear you need, but if you’re bringing your own tube, be sure to check out all the Steamboat Springs tubing info before you put in.

8. Explore “Bike Town USA” on Two Wheels

From paved paths to single-track to downhill trails, Steamboat Springs has a little bit – or a lot! – of everything for bikers, which is how it earned the name Bike Town USA.

If you’re a mountain biker, be sure to check out the Steamboat Bike Park, with over 50 miles of downhill and freeride bike terrain.

9. Splash Around in Steamboat Lake

Steamboat Lake is a must-visit in Steamboat Springs in summer!

Splash around at the swim beach or rent a pontoon boat, kayak, canoe, or SUP at the Steamboat Lake Marina to take off across the lake with views of the Continental Divide.

You can also camp or reserve a cabin to spend the night in Steamboat Lake State Park.

10. Jump Off a Cliff

When visiting Colorado, cliff jumping doesn’t seem quite so crazy!

About an hour outside of Steamboat Springs, head to King Solomon Falls and make the 20-foot leap into the ice-cold water to get your adrenaline pumping.

Local Tip: The actual location can be hard to find, but look for the left fork past Columbine Cabins, ten miles after Routt County Road 129 becomes dirt.

11. Fly Fishing on the Yampa & Local Lakes

One of the top things to do in Colorado in the summer is fly fishing, and Steamboat Springs is a true mecca for anglers.

You can cast along the Yampa right downtown or head to Stagecoach, Pearl Lake, or Steamboat Lake State Park for more options.

Local Tip: Visit local outfitter Steamboat Flyfisher for all the gear and advice you need for a good catch.

12. Stop & Smell the Flowers at the Yampa River Botanic Park

A beautiful oasis in Steamboat Springs, the Yampa River Botanic Park has over 60 gardens featuring both alpine and desert plants from around the Yampa Valley.

This special place is free to visit and is open from May through October, weather permitting.

13. Spend the Night Under the Stars

Steamboat Springs is truly one of the prettiest places in Colorado, and you can really appreciate the area by spending at least one-night camping.

Stay at the developed campgrounds in Pearl Lake State Park, or dispersed camp at Buffalo Pass, Rabbit Ears Pass, the Zirkel Wilderness, and Routt National Forest.

14. Take the Core Trail Through Town

The 7.5-mile-long Yampa River Core Trail runs straight through downtown Steamboat Springs.

You can walk, run, or bike or run the trail to make your way through Steamboat, and stop along the way to check out other Steamboat Springs summer activities like fishing and tubing.

15. Attend a Free Summer Concert

Since 1993, the Steamboat Free Summer Concerts have offered live music in downtown Steamboat Springs to bring the community together.

Five concerts take place throughout the summer featuring artists from a variety of genres, including pop-rock, reggae, bluegrass, blues, and funk.

16. Break Out Your Cowboy Boots for the Rodeo

Embrace the western mountain town vibe by attending the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo.

Enjoy live music before the opening ceremonies, then watch the bull riding, steer wrestling, and of course, the rodeo clowns.

The rodeo takes place every Friday and Saturday from late June to late August.

17. Fly High in a Hot Air Balloon

Take in an incredible perspective of the mountainous landscape of Steamboat Springs in a hot air balloon.

Wild West Balloon Adventures will take you on a hot air balloon tour to soar over Steamboat Springs, the Flat Top Mountains, and Hahn’s Peak.

18. Ride in a Helicopter

Another way to see Steamboat from the sky is on a helicopter tour!

A tour with Zephyr Helicopter Company will give you a birds-eye view of all of the most popular sights in Steamboat – Steamboat Resort, Fish Creek Canyon, Rabbit Ears Pass, the Never Summer Mountains, and, my personal favorite, the jaw-dropping Gore Range.

19. Go Ziplining

Get your heart racing on a zipline tour through the trees above Steamboat! Steamboat Zipline Adventures features a six-segment zipline course, with ziplines from 600’ to 1300’ feet long.

As you zip along up to 40mph, you’ll get amazing views of the Yampa Valley and Flat Top Mountain Range along with an adrenaline rush.

20. Go Offroad on an ATV

The Steamboat Springs area is a playground for ATVing, and you can have an epic ATV adventure on Buffalo Pass or Elkhorn Mountain.

Take a self-guided tour with Thunderstruck Adventures, or head to Lucky 8 Ranch and ride the trail system where you might see a bison herd.

Additional Colorado Travel Resources

Ready to travel like a local? I’ve got you covered with these amazing resources:

Meg Atteberry
Meg Atteberry

Meg is a long-time Colorado local and outdoor industry professional. She's spent the last 15 years hiking, climbing, mountaineering, and canyoneering all over Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and Nevada in search of the best views. She's written for Outside Magazine, REI, Backpacker Magazine, and appeared on the Weather Channel.

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Meg Atteberry standing on a mountain sticking her tongue out

Meg aka Fox is a 30-something who's born to explore. Toddler mom, queer, and neuro-spicy her favorite things to do are climb in the alpine and camp in the desert. Her mission is to get you out on your greatest adventure.