Steamboat Springs, CO
Think skiers in cowboy hats and you’ll have a pretty good mental picture of Steamboat Springs in northwestern Colorado. Yes, there’s world-renowned skiing here, but with an undercurrent of cowboy culture. The wide-open Yampa Valley brought cattle ranchers here in the 1800s, and stores still sells Western wear.
Favorite outdoor activities among visitors are a hike to scenic Fish Creek Falls, followed by a mountain-bike ride or hike through the surrounding parks and forests. On cool summer nights, go to Strings Music Festival, a summer concert series, or to the rodeo, which draws the future stars of the rodeo circuit.
In fact, the town got its name from its famed water works. Fur trappers who visited the area in the late 1800s heard the bubbling sound of one of the local hot springs and thought it sounded like a steamboat coming down the Yampa River.
Steamboat Springs has great hot springs.
Just outside of Steamboat Springs nestled alongside Hot Springs Creek lies one of the most spectacular mineral springs in the world.
Imagine relaxing in 104 degree mineral water while Steamboat’s famous Champagne Powder gently collects in the surrounding forest.
Steamboat is known, also, for its long-standing Western heritage — with a more than 100-year-old summer rodeo — and deep-seated ski heritage. The town has two ski areas: Steamboat Ski Resort and Howelsen Hill, the oldest, continuously used ski area in Colorado and home to nearly 90 Winter Olympians.
Hot-air balloons also populate Steamboat Springs’ landscape. Each summer, the town hosts its Hot Air Balloon Rodeo, when a multitude of colorful balloons rise over the valley, offering riders incredible views of the surrounding Rocky Mountains.