Friday, July 25, 2014

3 Great Hikes in Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Hiking in Steamboat Spring, Colorado
Steamboat Springs is a perfect town to explore the outdoors - hiking, biking, skiing, and tubing are just a taste of the activities the town has to offer.  My host, Courtney, took us on a number of hikes in our one-week stay.  Here are my favorites....

Hot Springs
Strawberry Park Hot Springs - The Strawberry Park Hot Springs is a natural hot spring that has been built up by a local entrepreneur.  The hot springs now boasts multiple pools, camping area, restrooms, and massage.  Visitors are welcome to drive in, but we combined our love of hiking with soaking for this Steamboat adventure.  The trailhead for this hike is a little "hidden".  To get there, park at Mad Creek Trailhead on Routt Country Rd 129.  Instead of taking the Mad Creek Trail, walk down the parking lot toward the road and you should see a worn path (not marked) walking away from the parking lot.  You'll pass a gate the trail marked Hot Springs Trail 1169 will go off to the right.  It is a moderate uphill hike through aspen forest along the Hot Springs Creek.

When you arrive at the Hot Springs, make sure to walk up to the check-in counter.  All guests must pay to use the hot springs.  Cost is $12 adults (Sun-Fri) and $15 (Saturday and Holidays), $7 for teens, and $5 for kids.  The hot springs was a great spot and very family friendly.  They had running water and restroom facilities.  We brought a pack lunch and enjoyed it "pool-side" before hiking back down the same way.  Overall, this is a 5 mile round trip hike.

Hot Springs Sign


Trail to Upper Falls
Upper and Lower Fish Creek Falls - Fish Creek Falls is a popular destination in the Steamboat Springs area.  This 280 ft falls is located only 1/4 on an easy road from the parking lot and is sure to be bustling with tourist on a warm summer day.  However, 99% of the visitors will turn back after the falls and not continue the 2 miles to the Upper Creek Falls - another gorgeous waterfall surrounded my wildflowers in the summer months.  To visit these falls, take 3rd street north and turn right on Fish Creek Falls Road.  The parking lot is four miles down this road.  This is a US Forest land.  Cost is $5 per car.  Hike down 1/4 mile down the overlook trail to the bridge overlooking Lower Fish Creek Falls.  From here, continue on this trail.  The trail winds through aspen and conifer forest to arrive a second waterfall surrounded by wildflowers and providing views of the valley below.  Overall, our hike was 5 miles out-and-back.


Lower Fish Creek Falls

Hiking through wildflowers up to Rabbit Ears
Rabbit Ears - This mountain peak is located outside of Steamboat Springs in Kremmling, CO.
 Because of it is mostly hiking through meadows, we saw amazing wildflowers along this hike as well as great views of distant mountains.  The trailhead is tricky to find.  Take East US 40 to Dumont Lake turnoff and continue onto National Forest Road 315.  This road goes for about 1.5 miles until you see a large stone monument on your left.  Turn left at the monument into a small parking area.  Park in the first lot begin walking down the road.  At a second parking lot, you will bear right - there will be a sign marking 291.  This is your trail.  The trail (or road) winds through meadows up to the "Rabbit Ears" rock formation.  Admire the volcanic rock along the trail and multitude of wildflowers in summer.  It is 3 miles of moderate trail to the summit (10,694 ft elevation).  Return the way you came for a total of 6 mile hike.  There is no charge for parking and no bathroom facilities.

Approaching the Rabbit Ears
This is just a taste of Steamboat Springs' MANY wonderful hikes.  I recommend a trip to Steamboat Springs, Colorado for hiking and adventuring!


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