While there’s no bad time to visit Steamboat Springs in northwest Colorado, autumn is a particularly magical season in the city, when the Yampa Valley sparkles in varying shades of gold, orange and scarlet, and crisp sunny days support a wide array of ways to experience the outdoor splendor and soak up local culture. Here are just a few ways to make the most of fall in Steamboat Springs.
Unwind in glorious hot springs.
Steamboat Springs boasts two year-round soaking locales. Tucked in a high-mountain valley just 7 miles from downtown Steamboat, Strawberry Park Hot Springs’ steamy stone-lined pools offer a heavenly respite any time of year. In the autumn, the springs are a lovely sight surrounded by quivering yellow aspens, and multiple pools featuring varying temperatures perfectly complement the cooler mountain air.
Old Town Hot Springs’ eight natural mineral pools, 230-foot water slides and fitness center provide hours of entertainment for every member of the family. The geothermal hot springs, which have prompted gratifying sighs from locals and visitors since the 1880s, offer an easily accessible downtown location.
Pedal through transformative scenery.
Plenty of biking opportunities make it easy to maximize your intake of the post-summer beauty. Steamboat Bike Park at Steamboat Resort has nearly 2,000 feet of gravity-fed and downhill-flow trails enhanced with rocks, rollers, man-made jumps, berms and bridges — all accessible by a convenient lift (open early June through September; check schedule to confirm dates).
Or choose from a variety of trails, like Spring Creek Trail toward Buffalo Pass, where panoramas of yellowing aspens groves juxtaposed with clusters of mossy-green pines are truly unforgettable. Find more Steamboat bike rentals >>
Take a foliage flight.
For views like no other, take in the color-veiled landscape from the air. Zephyr Helicopter Company will whisk you across the Western sky above Steamboat for 360-degree sights of Mt. Werner, glistening Steamboat Lake, the frosty-topped Never Summer Mountains and Gore Range and other signature sights in the area.
If you prefer to peacefully float above the Yampa Valley, consider a Steamboat Springs hot-air balloon ride. Wild West Balloon Adventures offers wonderful excursions that include a continental breakfast, champagne toast and flight certificates.
Live it up at Wild West Air Fest, Steamboat OktoberWest and other signature events.
Gripping aerobatics shows by nationally recognized performers and splendid aircraft displays highlight the Labor Day weekend Wild West Air Fest (Aug. 31, 2019). The Steamboat OktoberWest (Sept. 13–14, 2019) has an I Love Beef Cook Off, a beer garden with more than 40 Colorado brewers and a lauded roster of live bands. Other signature fall happenings include the All Arts Festival (Aug. 11–13, 2017) and Yampa Valley Crane Festival (Aug. 29–Sept. 1, 2019). Find more Steamboat Springs events >>
Connect with your inner cowboy.
A proud ranching community, Steamboat Spring is true cowboy country, and there are tons of ways to experience the city’s Western heritage. Jazz up your wardrobe with an authentic Stetson hat or Johnson & Held belt buckle from F.M Light & Sons, who have dressed area residents in Western threads since 1905. Then, take your new duds to Saddleback Ranch for a fall horseback ride, where you’ll meet the establishment’s cows and calves and see riots of colorful foliage from a whole-new perspective.
Appreciate some of Colorado’s best hiking.
Gold-medal hiking trails in Steamboat Springs offer easy access to views of woodlands cloaked in crimson, amber and gold. Take the 4-mile Emerald Mountain Quarry Trail to unparalleled glimpses of Mt. Werner and the downtown area; or make your way to the top of the breathtaking Continental Divide on the 6-mile Rabbit Ears Peak Trail.
Bag the catch of a lifetime in Steamboat lakes and rivers.
Colorado’s autumn-kissed landscape enhances peaceful fishing experiences. The Yampa River is a locals’ favorite for fly-fishing, while Steamboat Lake State Park offers optimum trout fishing below towering Hahn’s Peak, which becomes cradled by yellow-and-orange-streaked forests. Visit local fishing shops for gear, tips and excursions.
Visiting in Summer or Winter?
Steamboat Springs is the ultimate winter playground with world-renowned skiing at Steamboat Resort and plenty of snowy activities, like snowmobiling and snowshoeing, and a haven for summer fun, including camping, boating and rafting. Learn more >>