Steamboat's Best Loved Places
● By Christina Freeman
Fish Creek Falls is one of the top tourist attractions in the area. Photo by Deborah Olsen
FISH CREEK FALLS
Superb scenery plus ease-of-access makes Fish Creek Falls a must-see destination. Four miles east of downtown, the 283-foot waterfall is a quarter-mile down a dirt trail from a pay parking lot, or can be viewed from a paved overlook. An ideal spot for a short, handicap-accessible hike to the base of the falls, it’s also the start for miles of day hikes. From Lincoln Avenue, turn north on Third Street, then right on Fish Creek Falls Road. Follow it to the end. Daily parking fee: $5. And even if you’ve never visited the ‘Boat, you may have seen the Falls– on Coors beer cans between 1937 and 1978.
OLD TOWN HOT SPRINGS
The Yampatika Ute and pioneers once soaked in the historic Heart Spring. Now you can enjoy the Old Town Hot Springs -- a fully developed recreational facility featuring mineral pools, two water slides, a hot pool with climbing wall, lap pool, kiddie pool, a café, exercise facility, fitness programs, tennis, childcare, massage service and spacious decks. 4136 Lincoln Ave. Open daily. Adult (18+), $16; Senior (65+) $11, Youth (3-17) $9; Under 3 Free. 970-879-1828/ www.oldtownhotsprings.org
Saturdays are special in downtown Steamboat Springs because they start with the Farmers Market on lower Seventh and Yampa streets, and the adjoining parking lot. Some 75 vendors provide fresh produce, meats, cheese, baked goods, canned and prepared foods, plants and other consumables. Several arts and crafts vendors and nonprofit organizations also participate Open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., June 14 – Sept. 13. For more information, visit www.mainstreetsteamboat.com/farmers-market/ or call 970-846-1800.
YAMPA RIVER CORE TRAIL
Running alongside the Yampa River is a seven-mile, non-motorized, multi-use trail, from Dougherty Road at the east end of town, through downtown Steamboat Springs to Bear River Park. Walk, run, stroll, bike, skate or fish among the 40 gardens of the Yampa River Botanic Park, towering cottonwood trees, shady benches, playgrounds and lovely picnic spots. Shopping and dining are immediately at hand, as are bike, inner tube, fishing gear and kayak rental shops. The trail can be as relaxing or physically intense as you like. For more information, see http://www.yampariverbotanicpark.org/ or call 970-846-5172.
BURGESS CREEK PROMENADE
A five-year, $20 million, award-winning urban renewal project, Burgess Creek has been “daylighted” from a buried culvert to a delightful waterway in the summer and fall. It features a public promenade, mini-falls and ponds and a multi-level outdoor concert/performing arts stage in Gondola Square. A magnet for kids, the creek/promenade encircles the base of the ski mountain and connects summer and fall guests to core mountain locations.
Dining and shopping opportunities abound throughout Steamboat Springs, but for pedestrian-friendly concentration, head downtown. From Third to 13th Streets, and from the Yampa River to Oak Street, Old Town has more than 80 shops and 40 restaurants – over 300 businesses in all. Downtown is the home of Howelsen Hill, the oldest ski complex in Colorado. Howelsen sports complex also includes the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena , Olympic-sized indoor skating rink, the Howler alpine slide, and acres of biking, hiking and cross-country skiing trails, all within walking distance of downtown. Learn more at www.mainstreetsteamboatsprings.com