Whether you’re here for a weekend or the entire summer, mark our words when we tell you that we’ve scoured this entire town and there isn’t a single literal steamboat anywhere in this motherfucker.
Strawberry Hot Springs
Of course, it’s not a road trip article unless we throw a hot spring into the mix, and luckily, the Steamboat area has what we would argue is a metric fuckton. Our favorite is Strawberry Hot Springs, and that’s not solely because it turns into a clothing optional resort after dark.
Resting on about 40 acres, Strawberry Hot Springs has an incredible and natural feel to it. The place gets its name from the massive shitload of strawberries that used to be grown there in the 1900s. If you’ve ever been to one of those hot springs where it felt like they dug all the pools and filled them with concrete over the span of 24 hours, well, rest assured: this place isn’t that, and if you’ve ever been to one of those public locker rooms where there’s a whole bunch of old dudes hanging dong in the open, rest assured: this place is only like that after 8pm.
Did you know that Steamboat Springs has the largest population of footbag aficionados that we’ve ever come across, and, if you call it a Hacky Sack, they’ll verbally crucify you for it? Neither did we, up until pretty recently. Although the World Footbag Association (now it’s just World Footbag) got its start in Oregon, and later relocated to Golden, it’s been a part of the Steamboat scene since 1996.
Though not official, Steamboat houses the World Footbag Hall of Fame and Museum, and personally, we think that’s just neato as fuck.
Whether we’re reading about how they made the first footbags in the 1970s, or we’re trying to mentally conceive how Ted Martin had a world record of 63,326 kicks in 8 hours, 50 minutes and 42 seconds, a visit to World Footbag will have you wondering when ESPN is going to sponsor this American pastime too. For the record, we caught a Cornhole tournament on ESPN the other night, so we feel as though this isn’t too big of an ask.
8th Street Steakhouse
The classic 8th Street Steakhouse is the only restaurant where we’ve purchased a cut of meat and then proceeded to cook it ourselves, and yeah, maybe our stepdad would turn his nose up at that idea, but holy hell did we have a good time.
The restaurant has been around for thirty years with its model remaining relatively the same: you walk up to the counter, buy whatever cut of meat suits your fancy, and then some teenager at the front tells you how long to cook it for on one of their grills depending on how you want it cooked.
It’s not traditional, and we’re sure a few old timers could go on a rant about buying a cut of meat from a restaurant and grilling it yourself, but it’s a helluva lot cheaper than shelling out for a Traeger.
The entire experience was well worth it to us, if only to see the absolute look of hurt and betrayal in the front counter worker’s eyes when we told her we planned to cook our bison tenderloin until it was well done.
World Class Hiking Abounds
If you picked up a rock and threw it in the Steamboat area, chances are you’d either cream a beautiful blonde woman on a bike or hit one of the many, many world class hiking trails that can be found throughout the area. Whether you’re looking to suffer all afternoon, or just achieve the minimum amount of mileage to justify drinking ten beers that night, boy has this town got some singletrack for you.
Those seeking a challenge and a view should set their sights on Gilpin Lake, a 9-mile round trip hike that will have you huffing and craving a Marlboro Red before the halfway point.
If you’re wanting something a little more mellow, take a look at Fish Creek Falls. Contrary to the town’s name, this one actually fits, as we were able to locate fish in addition to a creek and a waterfall.
Lastly, the Steamboat Resort has a variety of nice hiking trails meandering up its mountainside, and maybe the best part of all is that they have a bar at the top of the mountain. If you’re like us and start craving a beer before the first mile is done, or if you just need to reverse the shakes, this may be the option for you.