Steamboat Springs, often shortened to just Steamboat, is located just west of the continental divide in Routt County. The town is nestled in the upper valley of the Yampa River, which runs right through the middle of it. Originally inhabited by members of the Ute Tribe, Steamboat officially became a pioneer town after the Utes were forced onto a reservation by the U.S. Army in 1879. The area was incorporated in 1900, with a local economy initially fueled by ranching and mining. During harsh Rocky Mountain winters, skiing was the only method of transportation in the area. Eventually, skiing became a popular winter pastime, which led to the development of ski resorts all over the Rockies. In fact, Steamboat's Howelsen Hill is said to be the site of the first North American downhill ski jump! The Steamboat Ski Resort opened in 1963 and has attracted skiers and snowboarders from around the world ever since. While Steamboat itself is home to approximately 12,000 permanent residents, it swells to capacity with tourists every year when powder starts to fall. Aside from skiing and other winter sports, the town is also well-known for its geothermal hot springs. In fact, Steamboat takes its name from the actual Steamboat Spring located there, thusly named for the bubbling noise that early settlers thought sounded like a steamboat. Visitors can still enjoy a soak in either of the two hot springs that are open to the public. In warmer weather, Steamboat is a great place for all sorts of outdoor recreation. The downtown area offers plenty of shopping and restaurants to enjoy as well.
Nestled in an aspen grove in the mountains about 15 minutes out of town lie the Strawberry Park Hot Springs. These 104-degree hot pools are fed by natural spring water and the rushing Hot Spring Creek. Taking a therapeutic soak in the hot mineral water of the springs is the perfect way to unwind after a day of skiing, hiking or other adventures.
Rated one of the best in the country, Steamboat's Crooked Key live escape games offers locals and tourists a fresh, fun and family-friendly experience. Find clues, solve puzzles and collaborate with other players to escape from one of the Crooked Key's themed game rooms; including an Edgar Allen Poe-dream theme and an Old Western jail break. There's even an outdoor game that takes place throughout downtown Steamboat! Gather your friends and head to the Crooked Key for a one-of-a-kind night out!
This annual celebration includes a variety of events that embrace Steamboat's western heritage and highlight the town's tradition of winter sports. The Winter Carnival began nearly 107 years ago as a way for residents to cope with cabin fever during the height of Colorado's winter season. Today, the four-day February event is an opportunity for everyone to experience Steamboat's history and tradition. At the Winter Carnival, you'll see kids being pulled on skis behind horses down Main Street, and skiers jumping through fiery hoops or coming down the mountain wrapped in twinkle lights. Bear witness to the many skiing and snowboarding competitions during the carnival, or enjoy the parade, pancake breakfast and snow-sculpture contest. Any way you slice it, the Winter Carnival is the perfect way to beat the winter blues!
Every July in Steamboat, the sky is full of color and wonder when the Hot Air Balloon Festival begins. Arrive early to the launch site at Bald Eagle Lake to see the multi-colored balloons inflate and take flight. Once the balloons are in the air, sip some coffee, grab breakfast and visit with local vendors in the park as you watch the rainbow spectacle in the sky. The fun doesn't stop when the sun goes down: head downtown to watch the balloons all aglow with light on Howelsen Hill. Enjoy live music, a beer garden, vendors and kid's activities, too.
In the historic downtown Soda Creek building--the home of Steamboat Laundry from 1910-1977--you'll find Laundry Kitchen & Cocktails. Laundry's delightful blend of rustic charm and contemporary urban atmosphere are complemented by an extensive beer and wine selection. Satisfy your taste buds with a wide variety of creative small plates or entrees like lamb t-bone, pork ribs, beef brisket and sticky chicken. The atmosphere and staff are warm and inviting after a day of creating your own adventures in Steamboat.
The Café Diva has been a local favorite for over 20 years! Fried green tomatoes, crab and tomato bisque, and peach and arugula Salad are just some of the tempting appetizer options. After enjoying an entrée of seafood, beef or chicken, be sure to partake of some of Café Diva’s delicious desserts, such as crème brulee, gelato, and s’mores! The Café Diva also offers an extensive wine list. After a day on the slopes, stop on in for dinner as this restaurant is located at the base of the Steamboat Ski Area.