Ready, Set, LEAF HUNT. It’s golden season here in Colorado and it’s the time to discover the shimmer of high alpine aspens in full bloom. Where should you spend this precious time you ask? We’re here to tell you one of our favorite spots for autumn activities – Steamboat Springs! Steamboat may be internationally renowned for its slopes, but winter isn’t the only season to enjoy one of Colorado’s best mountain towns.
Fall – The Cowboy way:
Colored with ski bums and high-elevation hippies, Steamboat is lesser known for its strong tie into Western heritage. For anyone looking to vacation in the Wild West, the Home Ranch is a must.
Located in Clark, Colorado, just 30 minutes north of Steamboat, this is not the type of Dude Ranch you may imagine. Sorry to disappoint anyone looking to sleep in a dusty old cabin and eat pork and beans for dinner.
On the contrary, this all-inclusive 4,000-acre Dude Ranch is the definition of luxury. The Home Ranch offers rustic, yet cozy cabin lodging, exquisite cuisine in a spirited, communal dining room and wine from all around the world.
The menu changes daily, with seasonal offerings from their garden and even dishes featuring Colorado game. We loved the smoked quail with gnocchi paired with the ‘Sharecropper’s’ Cabernet Sauvignon from Columbia Valley, Washington. Bon appétit!
The Home Ranch also offers numerable opportunities to play outside. The ranch is strategically located at the foot of the Zirkle Wilderness and parallels the Elk River. Saddle up on one of the Home Ranches’ 75 horses in the aspen-laden Routt National Forest or take fly fishing lessons on the pristine Elk River. Happy ventures!
Get in the cowboy spirit on Wednesday nights for a traditional country-dance. The jam begins right after dinner, and while the band serenades you with steel guitars and banjos, it’s your job to dance the two-step. The crisp fall air fills the barn and if you’re lucky, you might catch a peak of a harvest moon shining through the barn window. You’ll be singing Sweet Home Alabama all night long.
Fall – The Cosmopolitan Way
For those seeking an urban fall getaway, opportunities are endless in the heart of Steamboat Springs.
For a lavish lodging, Moving Mountains Chalet Company offers five-star amenities and is perfect for families. Moving Mountains properties include on-staff cooking and cleaning services, so there is no worry where your next meal is coming from or even cleaning up after the party. A personal chef prepares gourmet breakfast, lunches, and dinners for all dietary needs.
If you want to hit the town, Moving Mountains offers a shuttle service to Main Street, where you can enjoy dinner by the Yampa River and your favorite cocktail.
Be sure to visit Aurum Food and Wine – a local favorite offering divine cocktails and fresh entrée options. You can’t go wrong with the curried cauliflower for an appetizer and the Colorado trout for dinner. We recommend the Pimm’s Royal Cup served in a mason jar, garnished with a flower for aesthetics.
Fall – It’s playtime.
If you only have a few hours to spare in Steamboat, the Strawberry Hot Springs are a list-topping priority. You can drive to the hot springs or, if you’re feeling venturesome the Hot Springs Trail leads you strait to the steamy pools. On route, you’ll hug Hit Springs Creek while cottonwood trees, aspens and plenty of other colorful fauna surround you on your hunt for the best fall snaps. This is a 5-mile out-and-back hike with a mere elevation gain of 616 feet. It is also a common mountain biking and trail-running trail.
Get more details here.
For more wilderness fun, carve out some time to backpack in the Zirkle Wilderness.
This two-day backpacking loop begins at North Lake trailhead. The hike winds through aspens and fir and takes you to three alpine lakes. This includes Beaver Lake, which is a great spot to pitch your tent. You’ll see the incredible views of Three-Island-Lake, catch a view of Big Agnes Mountain and be in awe at the grand Elk River Valley.
More details here.
Upcoming Events in Steamboat:
There are plenty of events to look forward to in the ‘boat as plan your fall vacation. Upcoming events include Steamboat is Magic!, a local magic festival, the Emerald Mountain 12k and the 22nd annual festival of trees in mid-November.
Check out more events here.