Skip to main content

Steamboat Magazine

Take Me to the River

06/21/2023 07:00AM ● By Ski Town Media
(A kayaker floats behind a trio of rafters down the Yampa River. Courtesy of Shannon Lukens.) 

From the Steamboat Springs Visitors' Guide Summer 2023.

The Yampa River is the place to be on a summer day. Within walking distance of downtown, you can tube, paddleboard, raft, kayak or fish in the cool, clear waters of the Yampa.

Tubing is at the top of the list of popular river activities (the best tubing typically takes place from late June to early August). Float lazily through town, with plenty of opportunities to stop at parks, restaurants and bars along the way. Simplify your tubing adventure by renting equipment and taking a shuttle from a local outfitter. Visit for more tips and guidelines. For the sake of the fish and other river-users, make sure not to bring glass and to pick up your trash. 

Standup paddleboarding is all the rage on the Yampa, where the gently meandering water and scenic views provide prime paddling. Depending on experience level, you can target faster-flowing stretches or stick to tranquil pools to gain confidence on your board.

Kayaking and rafting on the Yampa are popular in the spring and early summer, when water levels are high and the current runs fast. Rent your raft or kayak from a local outfitter and feel the thrill of riding spring runoff’s rushing waters. Some of the whitewater is class III, with surrounding rivers rising to the levels of classes IV and even V in the spring, so consult with local paddlers to make certain the stretch of water you are planning to paddle is suitable for your skill level. 

Free public fishing access can be found along the Yampa River’s downtown stretch year-round. Cast a line for rainbow and brown trout while viewing epic vistas of Howelsen Hill and Steamboat Resort. Make sure to follow the tips and guidelines listed here:

Whether you’re floating, fishing or taking a dip, the Yampa River is a slice of heaven on any summer day.