During the heatwave months of July and August, an escape to Colorado is a summer fairytale. It’s an accessible drive, which is particularly nice during the COVID-19 pandemic and offers a relaxing reprieve from the daily routine. Everywhere you go, the mountainous backdrop is a subtle reminder to take a breath of fresh air and appreciate Steamboat Springs, CO.
The Must-Do List
Eat along the Yampa.
Several restaurants are located directly on the Yampa River. We ate at the E3 Chophouse and Taco Cabo, which were both delicious. E3 Chophouse delivers on happy hour. Every weekday from 12-5pm you can enjoy a phenomenal happy hour that includes food and drinks. There are clusters of Adirondack chairs that are perfect for quaint gatherings with an impeccable view of the river. E3 Chophouse also did a respectable job of social distancing the tables without sacrificing on the layout. They also record patron’s information for contact tracing. Food highlight: The Wedge Salad was the perfect combination of a creamy fresh crisp deliciousness.
Taco Cabo is in an unassuming little red house that apparently used to be a pie shop. Regardless of the change in cuisine, this is THE place if you want to eat as close to the Yampa River without getting wet. While we maintained our affinity for breakfast tacos, everything looked delicious. During COVID-19, Taco Cabo is recording every customer’s information for contact tracing and taking extra precautions with respect to maintaining a socially-distant and safe experience. Food highlight: The breakfast burrito is worth the wait!
Visit the Botanical Gardens
This is a beautiful adventure for adults and kids, alike, while providing an excellent backdrop for your family picture. There are activity guides for kids at the entrance, which provide additional education and keep the children entertained. Everything from the picturesque lily pads to the rock garden to the fairy garden is spectacular and towards the back of the garden, there is a lookout point to view the Osprey’s nest. This is a great morning stop to add some excitement to your stroll.
The Steamboat Resort is an impressive surprise. It is like walking onto a movie set built to depict the ideal après-ski lifestyle. A long stream runs through the center of the expansive lawn, peppered with bright red chairs, encouraging an afternoon of leisure. There is a small sandbar on one end of the stream that became a focal point for kids wishing they were at the beach. My son thoroughly enjoyed the water, while my husband and I were able to take a seat and watch him while taking in the beautiful mountainous backdrop.
The gondola is a beautiful experience to ride to the top of the mountain and enjoy the view. There is an option to hike down, but beware, this is an all-day hike. There is a small restaurant (everyone had masks on during COVID-19) at the top of the mountain, but many people brought picnics, which seems like a great idea, particularly if you want to make a day of it.
Fish Creek Falls is the trademark hike of Steamboat Springs, CO. There are several options depending on difficulty level and the scenery along the way is spectacular. You immediately see the fall, which provides some motivation to get to the top of the falls. Go early to enjoy a more leisurely experience, as it does get crowded. Across from the Fish Creek Falls trailhead is the Uranium Mine Trail that is less crowded. This hike is more dirt and less boulders. We hiked this trail first, which gave us a great vantage point of Fish Creek Falls.
Mad Creek Trail is about 5 miles out of town and an excellent opportunity to take in some traditional Colorado frontier. The trail boasts an old mining log cab and beautiful creek. We encountered a heard of cows as they stopped by for a drink.