Steamboat Springs makes a great summer getaway

By By Kirk Turner and By Kirk Turner

By Kirk Turner

Although its commonly known for its skiing and snowboarding, Steamboat Springs, Colo., is also a summer hot spot. This quaint little mountain town, located about 270 miles east of Salt Lake City, offers a nice summer change for anyone. The downtown strip has a variety of shops and plenty of great outdoor activities. Steamboat Springs’ outdoor recreational opportunities include cycling, hiking, four-wheeling, fly-fishing and whitewater kayaking.
Steamboat features a variety of lodging options: from little bed and breakfasts, to chain hotels, to KOAs. And for those who prefer a more rustic experience, there are a couple of different forest service campgrounds outside of town. Seedhouse, located 10 miles northeast in the Routt National Forest, contains facilities that are sparse but well maintained. From a nearby trailhead there is a hefty single-track loop of 30 miles that has beautiful open meadows and other winding sections through the trees.
Visitors approaching the town from the east will come across Rabbit Ears Pass. This beautiful alpine plane is a popular climb on a road bike as it tops out at 9,426 feet.
For those who are more at home on the dirt, forest service roads abound. As longs as the regulations on the signs are adhered to, anyone is allowed to explore, whether a person prefers dirt bikes, jeeps or mountain bikes. The fishing in the nearby alpine lakes can be quite good too, and most are within a day’s hiking distance.
Most of the campgrounds, trails and lakes are above 8,000 feet, so even during the midsummer these sites can be pleasantly cool while the lowlands are baking. Float tubing down the river is also a popular leisure activity, but one has to be cautious of the artificial rapids that have been built for kayaking.
Finally, Steamboat Springs has what the area was named for: springs. Although swimming in the warm, bubbly swamp isn’t advised, the Old Town Hot Springs are a modern alternative. Part health club, part resort, the springs offer different temperature natural soaking pools that are reasonably priced, and soaking after a hard day’s ride is a welcome experience.
For the more adventurous, Strawberry Hot Springs is a natural alternative located north of town. As it is a few miles from the road, it takes some work to get there on foot or bicycle.
The absence of winter crowds is one of the best features of this town. The rodeo on Friday nights is always a good time, and various festivals occur periodically throughout the summer. Steamboat is a pretty quiet town in the summer, which makes it perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer outdoor vacation.
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