A silvery ribbon winding through town, the Yampa River’s snowmelt waters pick up warm pockets from hot springs near its banks. The best swim spots are the C-hole, down the bank from the library, and the lesser-known D-hole, farther downstream.
Steamboat’s Old Town Hot Springs offers relaxing mineral pools for the adults along with plenty of water activities to keep the kids entertained.
Splash around in the newly spiffed up Old Town Hot Springs, with eight mineral pools (including the hot, naturally bubbly Heart Spring), two twisty water-tube slides, and a climbing waterfall wall.
For lunch, grab a hummus plate or fresh-fruit parfait from the on-site Dreamboat Cafe($) and camp out on the deck or flower-lined lawn. $15; 136 Lincoln Ave.
Tamarind-papaya-lime and banana-guava-pineapple are just a few of the delicious smoothie combinations you can find at Café Sweet Pea.
The creations from the new Café Sweet Pea in the Sweet Pea Market take the smoothie to new heights. We’re fans of the tamarind-papaya-lime and the banana-guava-pineapple smoothies.
To go more substantial, order a local-farm-to-table sandwich or salad like the Quinoa Big Bowl, made with fresh corn, kale, and homemade pesto. $; 729 Yampa St.; 970/879-1221.
Hit the trail
Saddle up for a scenic ride along the trails of Steamboat’s Emerald Mountain.
Great hikes or rides on Emerald Mountain are a short walk from downtown, with 10 miles of trails you’ll have pretty much to yourself. It’s a quick 2 miles up the moderate Quarry Trail for awesome valley views. Start at Howelsen Hill Recreation Area; at Fifth St., head across the river to Howelsen Pkwy., two blocks south of Lincoln; 970/879-4300.
Make it a weekend
On the edge of town, Mariposa Lodge Bed & Breakfast is a homey ranch house on the banks of Soda Creek, with bentwood rockers on the wraparound porch and homemade quilts on pine-log beds.
Owners Bob and Cindy Maddox live next door and arrive early to cook, say, gruyère omelets or oatmeal waffles topped with fresh peaches. From $139, including breakfast; 2-night minimum.
4 more wild rides in the ‘Boat
Cheer on cowboys at the night rodeo: The Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo is a must. Go early and enjoy a rib-busting barbecue dinner (from $14). Avoid post-event crowds by parking downtown and walking. Fri–Sat through Aug 21; $15; Fifth St. at Howelsen Pkwy.
Bike a mountain: Let the gondola ($20) at Steamboat Ski Area haul you and your wheels up to midmountain (9,080 feet), the starting point for 50 miles of biking trails under the bluest sky you’ll ever see. Through Sep 6.
Join a cattle drive: No nose-to-tail horseback plodding at Saddleback Ranch; on a four-hour cattle drive, you’ll participate in chores of cowboy life, including moving herds and rounding up strays. Closed Sun; $90.
Crush it:Dig This, the country’s only “heavy equipment play arena,” may be pricey, but this could be your only chance to don a hard hat and drive a full-size bulldozer like a grown-up kid in a giant sandbox. From $200.
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