Steamboat Springs: Follow Your Bliss to the Yampa Valley
By Chris Duthie
Timely July rains are making a big splash throughout much of Colorado’s Western Slope, bringing cooler temperatures and welcome relief to a region beset by a major drought and two major wildfires.
Northwest Colorado’s sumptuous and scenic Steamboat Springs is boasting a similar smile-inducing climate. Recent storms — hopefully an early indication of Rocky Mountain summer monsoons — are rejuvenating the Yampa Valley and tempting sun-worshippings with pleasurable pastimes like golf, fly-fishing, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, ATVing, ziplining, camping, SUPing and a whole lot more.
What is so special about this celebrated summer destination? Here are four suggestions that will make anyone an ardent fan of Steamboat:
1) Take your golf game to new heights
There are three terrific 18-hole courses in Steamboat, led by the Troon Golf-managed, Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed Rollingstone Ranch Golf Club. Haymaker Golf Course, backdropped by magnificent Mount Werner, is a high caliber challenge crafted by Keith Foster. The third is a private gem, Catamount Ranch & Club, a Tom Weiskopf creation that is sanctioned by the Audubon Society for its environmentally sensitive design. Plus, Steamboat Golf Club’s nine-hole rota is a great option for families, beginners and time-sensitive players.
2) Let your inner child soar
This weekend (July 14-15) marks the 37th Annual Hot Air Balloon Rodeo (pictured atop) and the 44th Annual Art in the Park. Other amazing events include the Tour de Steamboat road bike race (July 21), Strings Music Festival (through Aug. 4), the 104th Annual Rout County Fair (Aug. 16-19 in nearby Hayden), and the Free Concert Series (through Sept. 2).
3) Find your Rocky Mountain bliss
Activities seem almost endless, including fishing, SUPing and canoeing at Steamboat Lake and Stagecoach State Park; riding high in the saddle amid the Flat Tops Wilderness and Mount Zirkel Wilderness; tubing the Yampa River through downtown Steamboat; hiking to roaring Fish Creek Falls; and going for a muscle-relaxing soak in Old Town Hot Springs and Strawberry Park Hot Springs..
4) Spoil yourself rotten
First-class accommodations, casual dining, spa, pool and easy access to Rollingstone Ranch GC await guests of the Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas; top-rated and all-inclusive Vista Verde Guest Ranch is a dude ranch of an entirely different and compelling color; and stylish The Steamboat Grand pampers city slickers with premium lodging, fine dining, spa, fitness center and a pool.
Steamboat Springs is just under three hours northwest of Denver via I-70 West, CO-9 North and US-40 West. For more information about all its astonishing attributes, go online to SteamboatChamber.com.
Chris Duthie is a Durango-based contributor to Colorado AvidGolfer. Colorado AvidGolfer is the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it, publishing eight issues annually and proudly delivering daily content via coloradoavidgolfer.com.