This permanent funding source supports specific non-motorized trail and trailhead maintenance projects on public lands within Routt and Moffat counties. Look for “donation stations” — refurbished parking meters with credit card readers — at 11 popular local trailheads, including Spring Creek, NPR and Wild Rose. Or donate online at yvcf.org/trails.
For a true Western experience, hike Soapstone Prairie Natural Area for its wide-open vistas and nearly pristine grasslands. Hint: keep an eye out for the local bison. This year marks the five-year anniversary of the herd's reintroduction to Soapstone Prairie Natural Area and Red Mountain Open Space. Visitors may see them from the road in their fenced pasture through November.
If you'd like to try one of the two wave features yourself, you can rent equipment (SUP, tubes, kayaks and gear) from a number of local outfitters.
From Fort Collins follow Hwy. 14 and the Cache la Poudre River, the state’s only designated Wild and Scenic River, toward the spectacular Poudre Canyon (also part of the Cache la Poudre-North Park Scenic Byway). Keep a lookout for fly-fishers, rafters, kayakers and stand-up paddleboarders as you ascend. There are pullouts along the route so take your time and enjoy the journey. Pro tip: Don't miss the Poudre Falls.
The State Forest State Park North Loop "touches on a little bit of everything that makes State Forest State Park special." That includes great views of the Medicine Bow Mountains, three pretty alpine lakes (Jewel Lake, Kelly Lake and Clear Lake), a bit of singletrack and forest road, plus towering aspen trees.
Take your time — and eat some breakfast at your hotel before heading out.
From Walden, continue west on Hwy. 14 and enjoy wide-open vistas, fields of sage and prairie grass, the occasional cattle ranch, abandoned cabins and peaceful miles until you reach the base of Rabbit Ears Pass. Turn west (right) onto Hwy. 40 and immediately start the climb over Rabbit Ears Pass (summit 9,246 feet). The pass is known for its false summit, a crossing of the Continental Divide and the distinctive “rabbit ears” rock formation that creates one of the nearby peaks. Before descending into Steamboat Springs, hike the Rabbit Ears Peak Trail, located in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness.
Enjoy miles of seamlessly connected multi-use trails in five main network “pockets” in and around town; all are accessible from town by foot, bike or vehicle in 30 minutes or less. Tip: Ride a new trail or two in the Buffalo Pass or Emerald Mountain Trail System. Steamboat is also home to 600 miles of dirt and hard-packed gravel roads making it a nirvana for world-class gravel riding. Emerald Circuit is a favorite intermediate ride. Rent a bike and give it a go.
This 7.5-mile paved multi-use recreation path runs through the heart of Steamboat Springs along the Yampa River. Don’t miss these great stops (that allow for social distancing) along the route: Yampa River Botanic Park, a 6-acre sanctuary of 40 gardens, ponds and sculptures; fishing access; Howelsen Ski Area, with volleyball, tennis and basketball courts plus a skate park; tubing the Yampa, and more.