Up Here You Can Make A Splash
By Grant Johnson
The Promenade is the heart of the mountain community in the summertime.
Yampa River Festival
When the Yampa River Festival gets underway the first weekend in June, summer officially begins. This family weekend includes slalom and downriver kayak races, kids’ activity zone, freestyle competition and dog events. The festival culminates on Monday, June 3, when some of the world’s best kayakers compete in the Paddling Life Creek Race, which runs down tumultuous Fish Creek. www.friendsoftheyampa.com
On the River
The Yampa River, which runs right through the heart of town, is Steamboat Springs’ summer playground. Kayaking starts with serious whitewater the minute the ice breaks up. The season continues until midsummer, when the river is mellow. Backdoor Sports, 970-879-6249 and Mountain Sports Kayak School 970-879-8794 rent boats and offer lessons.
Cool off on a hot summer day by renting a tube and floating the Yampa; tube rental shops offer shuttle service. Or take a raft trip down the Colorado River. Swimmers enjoy the C-Hole behind Bud Werner Memorial Library and the D-Hole just downstream.
At the Lake
Three state parks are within a half-hour of Steamboat Springs. Steamboat Lake and Stagecoach Reservoir both have marinas that rent watercraft. Both have swimming beaches and are suitable for sailing, wakeboarding, waterskiing and jet skiing. Pearl Lake is a high-mountain lake where all boating is wakeless. All three parks offer hiking, camping and fishing.
Old Town Hot Springs, at the east entrance to downtown, is a fully developed recreational facility, centered around the historic Heart Spring, where the Yampatika Ute once soaked. In addition to mineral pools, there are two water slides, a hot pool with climbing wall, lap pool, kiddie pool and spacious decks.
136 Lincoln Ave. Open daily. Adult (18+), $16; Senior (65+) $11, Youth (3-17) $9; Under 3 Free. 970-879-1828/ www.oldtownhotsprings.org
Strawberry Park Hot Springs, seven miles north of town, offers cabins, a changing tipi, massage facilities, restrooms and cascading natural hot pools alongside a cool stream. The best way to get to this remote paradise is via shuttle. The road is unimproved and steep.
Open daily at 10 a.m. Clothing is optional after dark; no one under 18 admitted after sunset. 970-879-0342/ www.strawberryhotsprings.com Shuttles: call Sweet Pea Tours, 970-879-5820; Hot Springs Adventures, 970- 879-8065; or Go Alpine Taxi 970-879-TAXI.
Ski Area Promenade
Burgess Creek, which runs along the base of the ski area from Ski Time Square through Torian Plaza and past Gondola Square, is the focal point of the Promenade. Kids wade in its cascading pools, families gather for outdoor concerts and picnics, and couples tie the knot in a tent alongside the Grand Staircase. The Promenade is the heart of the mountain community in the summertime.