Hello party people! I don’t know why I just felt like saying that, maybe it’s because I know many of you are probably hitting up a party or two this Memorial Day Weekend! The most important part of MDW though seems to typically end up forgotten: the reason why we have this long weekend in the first place! Without being too much of a downer here, I want to encourage you to remember why we celebrate MDW and to thank those who so bravely and so selflessly serve our country and fight to protect our freedom. Thank you to all of those who serve, all of those who have served, and all of those families with loved ones who serve(d). I typically don’t share this, but I think it’s important to do so here in hopes that a reader or two will start doing the same: whenever I see someone in uniform or a veteran I make the point of going up to them and thank them for their service to our country. I know this is such a small act, but working in NYC and commuting through Grand Central every day I noticed how hundreds if not thousands of Americans would pass by men and women in uniform without acknowledgment. The least I can do is stop for a moment and say thank you, and each time I have I’ve always been greeted with a smile and appreciation. Okay! Downer time over! Hopefully I haven’t lost you all yet! Keep reading for my Steamboat Springs, CO guide/recap!
Ah! This might be the best part of the whole trip! I snagged such an amazing Air BnB located about 10 minutes away from downtown Steamboat Springs. Jake, the owner of this Air BnB was actually up in Steamboat the same time we were there, so we got to meet him and his wife! They are such a sweet couple and their Air BnB is the definition of “attention to detail” and “simple luxury.” Jake has a few different listings on Air BnB and I believe they’re all up to the same standard! We stayed in a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom apartment located on to the top floor of a 2-story house. The place was completely recently renovated and the kitchen and bathroom are WOW! Can I have this kitchen and bathroom in my house please? In all honesty, I haven’t used Air BnB a lot, I’ve used VRBO once in Belize, but I’m usually a hotel person. With that being said, I am now converted! Jake really went above and beyond here, a complimentary bottle of wine greeted us upon arrival, a tablet had all info to answer any questions that could arise, and the views from the porch were incredible! Here is a link to the exact place we stayed. It is extremely reasonably priced and it won’t disappoint!
This trip to Steamboat was a quickie. We brought our own breakfast so I can’t speak to any breakfast spots, but for lunch I tried Rootz, an organic spot that has plenty of vegetarian options. I ordered the Buddha Belly Bowl, which was really yummy! The portion size could have been a bit larger, but I wouldn’t let that stop you from trying this place. You can eat in, but I’d suggest you take your food with you and find a spot along the Yampa River to enjoy the outdoors!
For dinner we tried Aurum Food & Wine. WOW! This place was incredible! It’s really pricey. We were there right before Memorial Day Weekend so all entrees were 50% off! What a deal! With that kind of offer it was actually quite reasonably priced for dinner, but when they’re not half off you’re going to spend a pretty penny here. BUT WAIT! Even if you can’t afford the entrees, you have to go here for at least a drink and a few appetizers. Their outdoor patio is the BEST I’ve ever been to, and I’m the kind of a girl who has sat on a lot of outdoor patios. I didn’t get any pictures of it, but it’s huge, has a massive fire pit surrounded by couches, it’s right up against the Yampa River, has great umbrella coverage, and there were plenty of space heaters to warm us up at night! Honestly, this place gets a 10/10 in my book. I really enjoyed my food as well: I ordered the Roasted Beet Salad as an appetizer and then had the Salmon as my entree (minus the glaze, def order it without the chipotle glaze. I’m a strong believer that salmon and sauce don’t go together!).
Alright, if it sounds like everything about this trip was perfect, that’s because it was! Not to brag but I chose a winner here for our hike in Steamboat Springs! We hiked Fish Creek Falls on the first morning of our stay in Steamboat Springs and this was a hike for the books! Sure I haven’t hiked around the world, but I’ve done a good number of hikes in Colorado to know the difference between a great hike and a REALLY great hike! If you’re not a huge hiker, don’t worry–the best thing about Fish Creek Falls trail is that the first falls are only 0.3mi into the hike, on a very forgiving trail! So whether you’re an expert hiker, or someone who just likes to enjoy nature with a little walk, this trail won’t disappoint. The views were unrelentingly beautiful, the trail was challenging, but not impossible, and falls were raging! We really couldn’t have asked for more with this trail. I should mention, there is a $5 parking fee, but it’s so worth it! Definitely don’t let that dissuade you.
The hike we planned on doing was going to be a 6.5mi hike out to Long Lake at 9,800ft elevation. However, once we got 3 miles up the mountain the trail became covered in 3-4ft of snow! We tried to walk through it, but quickly realized that wasn’t an option! So we turned back, but honestly those 3 miles up were perfect! We didn’t need to go any higher and the hike’s quality didn’t suffer because of this.
Some basic hiking tips: pack more food and water than you think you’ll need. This is kind of a no-brainer, but you never want to run out of water and food, and the best way to avoid that is to overpack! Sure carrying extra weight isn’t fun, but you’ll be glad you did in case you end up needing extra nutrients/hydration. I always pack an assortment of protein/granola bars (Cliff, Rx Bars, and Kind are my favorite brands), lightly-salted nuts (almonds are great!), an apple or two, and Justin’s Almond Classic Almond Butter packets. My water bottle of choice is a Swell bottle and my outfit on this trip was from Athleta and Lululemon!
There are two hot spring places in Steamboat, the Old Town Hot Springs is basically right downtown, while the Strawberry Park Hot Springs is about a 20-30 minute drive from town (but worth it!). We opted out of Old Town because it was too much of a water park vibe. It has a waterslide and looks like your basic, public pool, while Strawberry Park had a more natural, calm, and secluded feel. The drive to Strawberry Park Hot Springs was really scenic! It was up a dirt road for at least 10 minutes, so be mindful of that and the type of car you’re driving. We arrived around 6:00pm, paid the $15 entry fee/person (cash), and then made our way down to the springs. It wasn’t super crowded, but definitely a good number of people were there. I only saw 2 kids, maybe because it was later in the day? Honestly though I have to say I really preferred the adults only atmosphere, it was much more relaxing this way and no one was running around screaming/splashing water.
There are maybe 5-6 different hot spring pools in a variety of sizes, the smallest fitting only 2 people and the largest fitting 20-30 people comfortably. All along these man-made, yet natural looking hot spring pools is the natural creek, which was rushing ice cold water from the mountain top! Stone walls separate the hot pools from the freezing creek. If you’re really adventurous you can dip into the ice cold water for a quick swim! Or if you’re more like me you might just want to dip your toe in!
This trip was perfectly planned the Thursday and Friday before Memorial Day weekend! That meant a pretty quiet town with little to no crowds before the holiday weekend. We got out right in time before the prices went up for the summer season. Honestly, Steamboat Springs, CO seems like the perfect destination no matter what time of year you want to visit, but I might be a bit partial to late May since I couldn’t have asked for a better trip! Also- the flower trees were all in bloom so it really couldn’t be any prettier of a place when we visited!
Keep scrolling for lots more pictures of our hike and time at the hot springs! Sorry I don’t have pictures of the restaurants and Air BnB, but follow the links above to learn more about them!