A Trail for Every Preference
By Alesha Damerville
Image from Karen Desjardin
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS- Lace up your hiking boots or mount up on your mountain bike – no matter your skill or fitness level, the Yampa Valley has the perfect trails for you.
Don’t want to stray far from town? No sweat; drive just 4 miles from downtown Steamboat for a short, hike to the base of the iconic landmark Fish Creek Falls. If you’re feeling more adventurous, trek past this massive 280-foot waterfall to reach the upper falls. If that’s still too far from town for your liking, there are still plenty of hikes right in Steamboat. Watch people play on the adjacent Yampa River with a walk along the Core Trail. Enjoy valley views from the top of Emerald Mountain, the base of which is the locally beloved Howelsen Hill, or keep things simple with a relaxing stroll along Spring Creek.
Another option just northeast of Steamboat is Buffalo Pass, which offers an abundance of hiking and biking for varying abilities. Over 18 miles of new biking trails were added to the pass in 2018, making it a dream to explore on two wheels.
If swathes of colorful wildflowers are what you seek, travel east to Rabbit Ears Pass, where biking and hiking trails abound. Hike to the “Rabbit Ears” rock formation for 360-degree views of the valley.
Tap into your inner adventurer with a trip north of Steamboat, commonly referred to as “North Routt.” This area features a network of trails through rugged country in the Zirkel Wilderness Area. Pick your preferred path, from forested streams and wildflower meadows to snowy peaks.
Still more incredible hikes lie south of town, in South Routt. Take your pick of many trails along the Flat Tops Scenic Byway, including the hike to Devil’s Causeway – an exhilarating walk atop the Flat Tops with sheer cliffs on both sides. Closer to Steamboat, stop by Stagecoach Reservoir, where you can take a leisurely lap around the reservoir while viewing people at play on the water.