Destination: Steamboat Springs
About: Located northwest of Denver in the Yama Valley, Steamboat Springs is known for their Champagne Powder and natural hot springs. The name Steamboat comes from the sound the settlers heard from the bubbling thermal springs.
Route: i-70 to US-40
Distance: 156 Miles
Time: 3 hours
Trip Length: Overnight
Sleeping: Camping or Airbnb
Where to Stay In Steamboat
Mountain or Town
If you’re headed to Steamboat in the summer, I would suggest staying in town so you can walk to everything! You can eat and drink in town, hike from town and most importantly float from town! The mountain village is not far and there is a free shuttle so it’s not a bad alternative, I’d lean Mountain in winter.
For winter we have stayed on the mountain at the Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas right on the mountain which was great. Chevy hooked us up with a diesel Suburban and the room which made for an epic trip! Watch the stories here.
Always the best bet when looking for somewhere to stay! Lots of great options in town and at the resort. I would opt for in town over the resort in Summer and Fall so that you can easily walk to everywhere. Headed out for ski season? Check out my ski Steamboat Guide.
We stayed at a pretty epic Airbnb on our last trip with the most incredible views of town! Eclectic house but with this big deck, it was perfect.
The second closest campground to town is Dry Creek Campground, up Buffalo Pass. However, when we tried to camp there over Memorial Day Weekend the road and campsite were closed. So check before going! There are two developed other campsites and numerous dispersed camping sites close to town but not as close as Dry Creek. Read more about the campsites here and here.
The closest campsite to downtown is the KAO where we needed up camping. KAOs, of course, cost more than your typical campsite but do come with more amenities and the option to stay in a cabin too!
Where To Eat in Steamboat
Winona’s Restaurant – Grab breakfast to go or sit outside and have an amazing brunch! Each of us loved everything we ordered
Mountain Brewery – Open seating on the patio picnic tables made for a great afternoon drink. If you have pups you can tie them up outside as well.
There are so many great options right along the river with incredible patios. We stopped at Aurum Food & Wine for drinks but I read a lot of reviews about their amazing happy hour. Next door, Taco Cabo looked like a whole lotta fun and E3 Chophouse might take the cake for best riverfront patio.
Salt & Lime – Great decor, perfect margaritas, and delicious street tacos and a rooftop – Yassss! The decor is on point with whitewash walls wooden accents and tasteful Mexican-themed decor. The rooftop is huge with lots of seating and perfect for all seasons.
For starters, we had the Tuna Tostada’s but I’m dying to try the Salmon Tacos. We opted for the appetizer over ques0 but it looked damn good. For tacos we went with the Ship BLT, Veggie, Al Pastor, Lamb and Chicken and all of them were delicious. The veggie taco was what I want all veggie tacos to taste like.
Otto + Pint – We ordered takeout pizza & salads from here and it did not disappoint! Will 100% be go back here!
Besame Steamboat – This tapas bar is great for a unique and fun meal in Steamboat.
What to Do in Steamboat
Float The Yampa – We rented tubes from One Ski Shop at floated the Yampa 2x – ha we had so much fun! When you rent a tube you get in around 9th street and float about an hour and then get out and a shuttle brings you back to town all for $20.
However, you can easily just buy a tube and float yourself. Here are all the details on how to do it. Next time we will totally do this. After our float we walked up to the park next to 6th street and just got in the water and watched all the people float by. Great day!
Hot Springs – Steamboat is literally covered in hot springs. You can go to the public pools in town at Old Town Hot Springs they also have regular swimming pools and slides! Or check ours to the famous Strawberry Hot Springs. But like I said, hot springs are everywhere so just follow this map to find some!
Strawberry Hot Springs – Finally after so many trips to Steamboat we finally made it to Strawberry Hot Springs. This place is really special and they keep it special by limiting the number of visitors per day so before booking in advance. There is also a shuttle service that will take you too and from!
Fish Creek Falls Hike – This amazing 250-foot waterfall is worth the side trip. I wouldn’t even really call this a hike as its a mostly paved trail, so this “hike” is perfect for anyone!
Champagne powder and no lines! Steamboat is a little off the beaten path so it’s not as heavily trafficked as other resorts but still offers great skiing. I have now skied here twice and can’t wait to go back, seriously not crowded at all, tho the local may feel different.