Make a Splash
By Christina Freeman
Danny Tebbenkamp rides the waves at the C hole. Photo courtesy Danny Tebbenkamp.
On the river
The Yampa River is the life and soul of downtown Steamboat Springs during summer. Kayakers and rafters kick off the season cruising at speed on the whitewater. Once the flow mellows, paddleboarding and tubing become the order of the day. Mountain Sports Kayak School, Steamboat Paddleboard Adventures and Bodhi SUP offer instruction and rentals. Equipment can also be rented from Backdoor Sports. Swimmers can float or swim against a slight current in the C-hole across from Bud Werner Library, or downstream in the D-hole. Little bathers like the warm overflow pools found across from the Old Town Hot Springs, where surrounding trees offer shade.
In the creek
Cool off after a hike in Burgess Creek at the base of Mount Werner. Mini-waterfalls and wading pools provide the ultimate spot for an impromptu splash on the mountain. Kids can zip back and forward between the water and the base area's Coca Cola Adventure Zone.
At the lake
Paddleboard beneath the backdrop of stunning Hahn's Peak at Steamboat Lake in North Routt, located 26 miles from downtown. Rent a pontoon boat or cast a line from the shore before dipping into the water at the swimming beach. Find a secluded picnic spot at nearby Pearl Lake or explore the forested shores in a kayak. Head south of town to Stagecoach Reservoir for an action-packed day of wakeboarding, waterskiing and boating, or circumnavigate the lake on the bike path. Camping is available at each park, with full-service marinas at Steamboat Lake and Stagecoach Reservoir. Instruction and rentals are offered at both.
In the springs
Old Town Hot Springs Feeling energetic? Swim laps, master the outdoor climbing wall or challenge a buddy to a race on the Wibit before whizzing down the slides. Soak in the naturally heated warm pools, where soothing jets massage aches away. A fitness center, daycare, café and massage facilities are on site. Suit and towel rental is available.
Strawberry Park Hot Springs Escape to geothermal waters north of town in the enchanting hills of Strawberry Park. Float between hot pools, cool off in the creek, book a massage or make a night of it and stay in a cabin. Clothing is optional after dark.
In waders Public fishing is abundant in and around Steamboat. Fishing downtown on the Yampa River is the locals’ favorite, together with upstream at Chuck Lewis State Wildlife Park. The tail waters at Stagecoach Reservoir can prove successful, especially in early summer. Scenery rewards casters at Christina State Wildlife Area on the Elk River or Bear River in the Flat Tops. Stop by any of the downtown fly shops for advice on conditions and daily hatches, plus guided-trip opportunities.