Spring has officially sprung in Steamboat Springs. We’ve entered into that magical period of time many locals refer to as the offseason: The fairy-tale months of May and June, where the weather is warm, the days are getting longer and life in the Yampa Valley seems to move a little slower. Although Steamboat becomes quieter this time of year, there is no shortage of events and activities, making the offseason one of the best times to visit.

Yampa River Festival 

Since 1980, the Yampa River Festival has been a hallmark event in Steamboat Springs. This event celebrates river recreation and raises awareness about the vital role the Yampa River plays in our ecosystem. Over the years, the event has evolved to include multiple days of recreational events, parties, fundraisers and presentations. This year’s festival kicks off Thursday, May 31, with the State of the Yampa Address at the Chief Theater. The event continues throughout the weekend with fun river events, including paddleboard and kayak races, rafting challenges and the Crazy River Dog competition.

Yampa River Festival (Photo courtesy: Friends of the Yampa)

37th Annual Steamboat Marathon

One of Steamboat’s signature spring events, the Steamboat Marathon, is ranked as one of the “Top 10 Destination Marathons in North America.” Half Marathon and 10K distances are also offered, making this a must-do event for anyone who loves running.

Main Street Steamboat Farmers Market

Located in downtown Steamboat Springs, the Main Street Steamboat Farmers Market is held every Saturday from June 9 through Sept. 15. The market is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and features a wide variety of items, including local produce, meats, dairy products, fresh breads and desserts, art, crafts and other handmade goods. Grab a quick meal at one of the many food vendors, which offer everything from breakfast burritos to award-winning BBQ, and listen to live music by local musicians. With more than 100 vendors, you’re bound to find something amazing.

Main Street Steamboat Farmers Market

Ride the Rockies – Steamboat Loop Day

The 33rd annual Ride the Rockies bike tour will travel to Steamboat Springs on June 11 and 12. If you are unable to ride in the full six-day tour, consider participating in the Steamboat Loop Day on Tuesday, June 12. This 48-mile route was part of the 2015 USA Pro Challenge course and showcases the quiet back roads and ranchland of the Yampa Valley. The ride starts and finishes in downtown, and riders are treated to a community meal and live entertainment at the finish.

Yampa River Rafting

As the snow melts, it fills the local streams and rivers, providing ample opportunities for outdoor recreation. Take advantage of the peak flows in May and June to raft the Yampa River through downtown Steamboat Springs. In the spring, Bucking Rainbow Outfitters offers “town stretch” rafting trips, perfect for children and adults seeking an early season adventure on the river.

Historic Hot Springs

Soak it all in with a visit to one of Steamboat’s historic hot springs. The Old Town Hot Springs is a fun and family-friendly destination located in downtown. The facility boasts a number of amenities, including water slides, a rock climbing wall, kiddie pool, lap pool, soaking pools and fitness center. A short drive outside of downtown, you’ll find the tranquil Strawberry Park Hot Springs. After checking in at the old sheep herder’s wagon, walk through the woods until you reach several picturesque pools nestled along the hillside. Once you’re done soaking, you can enjoy lunch at the picnic area, go for a hike, receive a relaxing massage, or spend the night in one of the rustic Strawberry Park Hot Springs cabins.

Yampa River Botanic Park

This local gem is the perfect place for an afternoon stroll or picnic lunch. The six-acre park features a wide variety of native plant species and is especially colorful in early spring. The Yampa River Botanic Park is free and open to the public from dawn till dusk beginning in early May.

Spring flowers at the Yampa River Botanic Park

Paddleboard at Stagecoach State Park

Stagecoach State Park, located 30 minutes south of Steamboat Springs, is the perfect early season location for your next paddle board adventure. Stagecoach Reservoir offers adventure seekers miles of shoreline and calm coves to explore. Paddleboards can be rented from the Stagecoach Marina Store or from one of the many outfitters in Steamboat Springs.


Emily Hines is the marketing and special events coordinator for the City of Steamboat Springs. Emily was born and raised in the Yampa Valley and attended the University of Oregon, where she received a Bachelor of Science in business administration with concentrations in marketing and sports business. In 2013, after seven years working on the East Coast for a lifestyle and sports marketing agency, she found her way back home to Steamboat. She loves the outdoors and enjoys sharing her adventures and all that Steamboat has to offer.

Read more from Emily here.

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