Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys – Steamboat Springs

Steamboat Springs, CO – so much to do, so little time! Wait, that applies to most places we stay.

First up was a chance to scope out the town on the very well done Yampa Core Trail, a paved 7.5 mile trail that takes you along the Yampa River, near some hot springs, through downtown and right along side the botanical gardens. Another perfectly paved, mostly flatish bike trail I could thoroughly enjoy.  I made it just over 6 miles! Watch out endurance bike racers, I’m hot on your tail.

The Howler Alpine Slide

The truth is, we didn’t do the 6 miles non-stop. We took a break at the The Howler Alpine Slide for some very kid oriented fun! This 2400’ slide is accessed via a chairlift ride to the top of Howelson Hill. After a bit of a wait, you get to race your partner down the slide on sleds that allow you to control the speed! Jeff beat me but only because I needed one hand to video tape the journey!

Totally fun and totally worth it!

Things to know before you go to The Howler Alpine Slide

  1. You’ll get to ride the lift to the top. Be sure to enjoy that part just as much as the down.
  2. Wear sunscreen. There is likely to be a wait at the top and the sun can get very warm.
  3. While you can record your trip down, if you want to go VERY FAST, you’ll need both hands to push hard on the Stop/Go stick.

While in the area, we took a moment to check out Howelsen Hill Ski Area. This may look like just a small ski jump, but this area boasts some incredible honors. It is the oldest continuously operating ski area in North America, having opened in 1914. The area has sent more skiers to international competition than any other area in North America and it has been the training ground for 89 Olympians.

On this day, we got to watch members of the local youth ski team, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, practice their jumps on the artificial turf slope.

In the evening, we had planned to attend the local free concert in the park right next to the ski jump but the weather had different plans.

Steamboat Springs Farmer’s Market

Going to Farmer’s Markets is one of my favorite things to do when RVing.

I love both the local produce and the amazing local crafts and arts. So far, the best one we’ve been to is still Madison, WI, purely for the huge number of food vendors.  However for variety of vendors, this one was up there. There were a few vegetable stands and LOTS of hand crafts stands. They had everything from purses and hats to wall art and handmade kitchen gizmos. We even found a stand selling authentic Jamaica spices and foods. Having been to Jamaica more than any other place in the world, we were THRILLED to find a place in the states that we could obtain traditional jerk seasoning.

MMM… Food… Did someone say dinner?

While shucking an ear of corn – If vegetables played strip poker, corn would win.

Jeff Bandes

Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series

All summer long, Steamboat Springs is host to a Pro Rodeo Series.

Our favorite part of this particular event, though, were the kids! We aren’t just talking mutton busting (little kids riding sheep) or sheep chasing. These were kids that were barrel racing, riding bucking broncs, and even bulls!

4 year old barrel racing a full size horse! (Sorry for the blur).
5 year old barrel racing a Shetland Pony.
5 year old riding a bull.

It was crazy to watch and I can’t imagine being their mom but it’s a different culture and lifestyle that they are born into.

Things to know before you go to the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series:

  1. They offer a BBQ dinner and live entertainment before the rodeo starts. If you don’t opt for the overpriced BBQ dinner, they also have a couple of food trucks.
  2. Get there early and grab your seats since, even covered Grandstand seating is not assigned.
  3. You can spend an extra $5 per seat to get covered seating. It also gets you on the side of the arena with most of the action. However, the seating is not monitored at all and there were many who did not pay the extra sitting in the covered section.

Tubing the Yampa

We had so much fun tubing the river in Fun Valley that we just had to participate in this activity on the Yampa. While the water levels were low, it was still a ton of fun.

Things to know before you go Tubing on the Yampa River:

  1. You can rent a tube which also gets you a free shuttle back to the rental spot. It runs about $25 per person. Or you can buy your own tubes and take the free public bus back. However, there’s a longer walk and you’ll have to be very dry before boarding.
  2. Do bring a waterproof camera or case. You’ll want to take pictures.
  3. Wear sunscreen. Some of the route is shaded but much of it is not.
  4. Wear sandals or water shoes but something that is attached to your feet. Flip flops will get caught and float away.
  5. See a rapid? Lift your butt! HIGHER! There’s probably a rock under there.

Spring Creek Dog Park

We are always on the look out for great dog parks on our travels and Spring Creek didn’t disappoint. There’s not a lot of parking at the trailhead that leads to the dog park but we were able to sneak the truck in and walk the 1/4 mile or so from the parking lot to the actual play area. We are finally getting comfortable letting Rizzo off leash in parks that aren’t “fully fenced”. Spring Creek has a small border around it with some “natural” barriers but no actual fence. It’s more of a visual barrier than an actual one. Rizzo loved getting to run around and play in the water though.

Strawberry Park Hot Springs

When telling friends that we were going to Steamboat Springs, there was one recommendation that came up OVER AND OVER! Go to Strawberry Hot Springs! We like hot tubs so, HECK YA!

While this was our first hot springs experience, we’ve passed several as we drive through the towns of Colorado. Most of them consist of standard blue swimming pools with water heated by a spring.

Strawberry, on the other hand, has a very rustic feel. The pools are all created with rock and stone to make it feel like you are part of nature even as you experience the different pools. And, rather than being surrounded by buildings, you were surrounded by nature!

As with many hot springs, there is a top level pool with the hottest water that is only diluted a bit by a nearby stream. As you go down levels, the water is diluted more and more until it is just the cool stream water. This way you can pick your warmth tolerance.

Things to know before you go to Strawberry Park Hot Springs:

  1. Reservations required. Visit the website and sign up for a 2 hour time slot before you head up the dirt road.
  2. Bring cash. They are totally off grid and don’t accept any payment besides cash.
  3. Bring a towel and some water. Food isn’t allowed right at the pool but there are some nearby picnic tables if you’d like to snack.
  4. Protect your food. The squirrels and chipmunks are sneaky and can get into your bag of chips.
  5. Since this is more rustic, there can be a bit of slim that builds up on the floor and walls of the pools. I understand that they clean the pools a couple of times a week but think we were on the day just before the longest cleaning break.

After a nice long soak, it was time to pack up and head to our next destination.

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