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I am a New York-based writer, travel lover, and author of The Drive North and Destination Paranormal. I have several other books in the works, including fiction.

Hiking in Steamboat Springs

Hiking under the chair lifts in Steamboat Springs

Hiking under the chair lifts in Steamboat Springs

A lot of hiking trails in Steamboat Springs lead to fantastic spots. And so with only three days in town, my friend and I had to be pretty picky as to what we selected for each day. While others may choose different trails, these are the three we hit and the reasons why…

Thunderhead

After checking into and dropping off our bags at the Steamboat Springs Sheraton, we gathered up our packs to stroll around the grounds. Nothing serious except, oh, climbing to the top of a mountain. We didn’t intend to. Really. But that’s where we ended up, the top of the ski hill behind the hotel.

Hiking down a black diamond run

Hiking down a black diamond run

The trail switchbacked up the mountain, leading off into the trees separating the ski slopes. At first it seemed simple, albeit a little sun-exposed. But the more we climbed the more we realized we hadn’t intended for such a difficult hike. But by the time we were back down, having wound our way along black diamond ski runs, we were both happy to use the surprise workout as justification for more beer.

The view didn’t fail to impress, either, which is why we had kept pushing forward on our walk:

The view of the Yampa Valley from atop the ski hill

The view of the Yampa Valley from atop the ski hill

Fish Creek Falls

Colorado’s natural beauty has desensitized me a tad over the years, so much so that I rarely find myself speechless. So when I stop dead in my tracks at the sight of something, you know it’s got to be good. Yeah. That was the Fish Creek Falls.

A first look at the Fish Creek Falls

A first look at the Fish Creek Falls

After only a short drive out of Steamboat Springs into the national forest, we were in the parking lot heading for the falls. For visitors with limited time or physical abilities, I’ve got good news: it’s a short and easy walk to the falls. For folks who are looking for a challenge, I’ve got even better news: there are bunches of trails in the area leading to overlooks, lakes, and more.

A hidden overlook on the Fish Creek Falls trail

A hidden overlook on the Fish Creek Falls trail

We hiked down to the falls, stopped to take about a bajillion photos, then headed across the bridge with no real destination in mind. After finding a hidden overlook through the trees only a mile or so up, we noticed clouds beginning to roll in. That’s a good thing, too, since heavy rain started to fall the moment we made it back to the car. That didn’t stop others, though, and I daresay we wouldn’t have been deterred either from seeing the falls, one of the most stunning spots in all of Colorado.

Emerald Mountain

On the opposite side of town and the Yampa Valley from the Sheraton and the Thunderhead hike is Emerald Mountain. In the summer this ski hill is a spiderweb of short trails. A few are a mile or more in length, but most of the trails connect to other short trails to offer a variety of difficulty and distance options.

The view from Emerald Mountain

The view over Steamboat Springs from the Emerald Mountain trail

When we set out in the morning, my friend and I didn’t have much time. The Ride the Rockies bicycle event had the highway south of town closed, so we needed to take a long way back to Denver. This meant we had very little time to hike in the morning, but it ended up being just enough to let the dogs burn off some energy before hitting the road.

Hiking by the ski jumps

Hiking by the ski jumps

We climbed the mountain to the height of the nearby ski jumps, then headed back down. The trails were all well-kept, with spectacular views of the valley and mountains. It made for a great way to start the day, both for us and locals getting in some morning exercise before heading off to work.

 

Do you know of a hike in the Steamboat Springs area? Then please share! I fell in love with the city and want to head back, so any and all ideas would be much appreciated. Thanks!

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4 Comments on “Hiking in Steamboat Springs”

  1. The Miss Adventure Journals June 26, 2014 at 9:37 pm #

    The waterfall! Scenery this is truly breathtaking. Very green

    • Jason's Travels June 26, 2014 at 9:43 pm #

      I don’t know specifically about Steamboat Springs since it was my first trip there, but green in Colorado is usually pretty rare in the summer. We’re technically a desert, so things dry out fairly quickly. We had a big winter season, though, as well as heavy rains this spring.

  2. Traveling Ted (@travelingted) June 28, 2014 at 10:36 am #

    Looks like a great hike. Can’t beat waterfalls and beautiful mountain vistas. Strange to see the ski hills all green instead of billowing white snow.

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