5 Worthwhile Shoulder Season Activities
Who Says The Offseason Isn't Fun?
With another Gaper Day and Cody’s Challenge in the books, and closing day at Steamboat Resort upon us, many of us have come to the realization that shoulder season has officially arrived. Here in Steamboat, there are plenty of off-season activities, many of which are equally as fun to do in the winter as well. We compiled a list of 5 activities that are worth the trip to Steamboat during the shoulder season…
Gaper Day 2022, Steamboat Springs, CO
No fun was had...no fun at all.
1.) Go for a gravel bike adventure
Steamboat coined the term Bike Town USA. While this does hold true, it could certainly adopt the name Gravel Town USA. Between being the home of Moots Bikes, as well as SBT GRVL, Steamboat is quickly becoming a global gravel destination.
With 100’s of miles of accessible champagne gravel in town, there’s no reason not to begin exploring county roads, and logging in those valuable base miles. You’ll be primed for summer riding season in no time.
Scenic, and intermediate options include riding through the bucolic Fly Gulch area, exploring the South Valley on The Emerald Circuit, or even knocking out a 100K dirty fondo loop by way of Mystic, with a pit stop at The Clark Store (for a refill of BAR-U-EAT. No gravel bike? No problem...go ride one of the famed Tour De Steamboat road bike courses. Looking to log in some vertical? Rabbit Ears Pass has a wide shoulder and offers nearly 3K of continuous climbing, with many pull outs to soak in the amazing views of the Yampa River Valley.
- Apres Choice: Storm Peak Brewery. Conveniently located on Elk River Road, Storm Peak Brewery is the perfect location to post up after a ride, and grab a pint on their new rooftop deck.
- BAR-U-EAT Location: bike sales and rentals and BAR-U-EAT available at Ski Haus, as well as the Clark Store, which is a great pit stop on longer rides.
Endless miles of gravel, and no crowds (cough cough, Boulder County)
In between seasons
2.) Stand Up Paddle the Yampa River Town Run
Swing by Hala Gearspace, and rent a SUP for a lap on the class II-III Town Run. At lower, early season flows, it’s a great beginning / intermediate paddle with plenty of mellow rapids, fun river features to navigate and a play park at the end of the run. Keep in mind the river is cold. If the water + air temp are under 100 degrees (combined), you definitely want to be wearing a dry suit (for sale at HalaGearspace / CKS).
- Apres Choice: Mountain Tap Brewery is next door to Hala Gearspace, and offers draft beers and great food. It’s a great location to hang out after spending time on the river.
- BAR-U-EAT Location: Hala GearSpace / CKS…grab a bite before your paddle, and give Jack Brown a high five.
3.) Skin up Steamboat Resort
One cool thing about Steamboat Mountain Resort is that they have a post ski season uphill travel program. After the resort closes for the season, the mountain allows you to skin up the hill anytime (as long as you follow the resort's uphill travel guidelines). Besides being great exercise, there are postcard quality sunsets on a nightly basis. Bring a snack and drink, and have a sunset picnic on the table behind Thunderhead lodge. Make sure to bring a headlamp for the trip back down.
- Apres Choice: The Wild Plum Grocer is walking distance from the resort, and offers everything from beer and wine on draft, to pizza, sandwiches and a wonderful selection of gourmet food in the grocery section.
- BAR-U-EAT Location: The Wild Plum!
4.) Soak in a Hot Spring Pool
The question is not whether you should soak at a hot spring, but rather, which one! Steamboat is privy to two world class hot springs - Old Town Hot Springs, and Strawberry Park Hot Springs. If you're pressed for time, or want to sneak in a workout as well, go to Old Town Hot Springs, as it’s right in the heart of town and has a fitness center, climbing gym, treadmills and more. Strawberry Park Hot Springs is definitely more of an “experience”. Everything from its stellar location, perched high in foothills just outside of town, to the laid back vibe is worth experiencing at least once in your life.
Apres Choice: Any restaurant in Steamboat.
- BAR-U-EAT Location: Natural Grocers (directly across the street).
5.) Spring Ski Touring in North Routt County
Just because the snow has melted in town, and the lower elevation terrain at the resort has turned to mud, does not mean the ski season is over. If backcountry skiing is your thing, there are plenty of worthy objectives North of Steamboat. Check out Big and Little Agnes in the Zirkel Wilderness, or Farwell Mountain and Hahn’s Peak (Hahn's Peak is a good choice for an intermediate roadside tour). Being farther North, and on or near the Continental Divide, these mountains have a higher annual snowfall than other Backcountry zones in CO.
- APRES CHOICE: The Steamboat Lake Outpost (formerly the Hahn’s Peak Roadhouse) is a great basecamp for outdoor enthusiasts and anyone who wants to spend some time in North Routt County. It’s got all that you need for a weekend of adventure!
- BAR-U-EAT Location: The Clark Store
Bonus! Discounted Meals
Shoulder season is a great time to go out to dinner in Steamboat. Between the lack of crowds, and happy hour discounts, you’ll be able to save a few dollars, and enjoy a little bit of peace and quiet (until Summer comes). E3 Chophouse has out of season pricing that is definitely worth the trip