Hit these gilded trails in and around Steamboat for the best scenic fall hiking.

It’s that sweet spot between summer and ski season. When Mother Nature turns up the color and lays out immaculate ribbons of orange, gold and red across our favorite peaks and valleys. Lace up your hiking boots and soak up the short — but oh so sweet — season and its spectacular colors.

Here are our six favorite Steamboat fall hikes:

1. Hahn’s Peak

Where: North Routt County 

Rating: Moderate

Length: 3.6 miles roundtrip

Trek to the 10,839-foot summit of Hahn’s Peak for breathtaking 360-degree views from the old fire watchtower. One of the best viewpoints in northwest Colorado rewards hikers with eyefuls of aspen stands and sweeping valleys reaching as far north as the Wyoming border and east to the dramatic craggy Park Range. Hahn’s is worth the 30-mile drive north of Steamboat.

2. Gilpin Lake / Zirkel Circle

Where: North Routt County 

Rating: Difficult

Length: 11 miles roundtrip

Jagged peaks and crisp autumn colors are the draw on this Steamboat bucket-list hike. Nearing 11,000 feet in elevation, expect to encounter other high country solitude seekers fishing, backpacking and horseback riding. Keep your eyes peeled for moose, wild raspberries and brilliant columbines. Once you cross a stream at 9,800 feet, you’ll climb to Gilpin Lake where you can decide whether or not to continue on and connect with the Gold Creek Lake Trail to complete the full 11-mile Zirkel Circle.

3. Flash of Gold

Where: Buffalo Pass

Rating: Moderate

Length: 11.3 miles roundtrip

Living up to its stirring name, this beautiful steady hike meanders from the top of Spring Creek Trail near Dry Lake Campground up Buffalo Pass. The popular mountain biking route passes through various ecological zones, crossing Spring Creek and twisting past fern groves before winding through one of the county’s largest aspen groves. The endless golden vistas and flowing canvas of peaks beams with quintessential Colorado fall glory.

Thunderhead Lodge at Steamboat Resort

4. Thunderhead Trail

Where: Steamboat Ski Resort

Rating: Difficult

Length: 6.6 miles roundtrip

Give your lungs and legs an uphill challenge on this Steamboat Ski Resort fall hiking trail. Start at the base of the mountain and chug your way to the top, gaining an impressive 2,200 feet in elevation. For the return trip either ride the gondola (runs Friday, Saturday and Sundays, Sept 8-October 1) from the Thunderhead Lodge or hike back down. This hike delivers expansive views of the entire Yampa Valley dressed in its dazzling fall colors.

5. Emerald Mountain / Blackmere Trail

Where: Steamboat Springs

Rating: Moderate

Length: 4 miles roundtrip

This easy-to-access trail system near Howelsen Hill climbs up from town and spiderwebs along the rounded mountain mass west of Steamboat. The popular peak offers a variety of hiking and biking trails. Try Blackmere for a smooth wide dirt path through thick forests. From the top, hikers savor sweet wide views of downtown Steamboat and the ski resort laced with pockets of gold and orange aspen trees.

6. Yampa River Core Trail

Where: Steamboat Springs

Rating: Moderate

Length: 7.5 miles long

Stretching from Walton Pond near US 40 past the James Brown Bridge, to the this paved 7.5-mile multi-use trail follows the Yampa River through the heart of town.  Be sure to stop in at the Yampa River Botanic Park and visit historic Howelsen Hill along the way. A perfect fall stroll for all ages and abilities, the trail serves up scenic leaf-loaded stops, including parks, ponds, sculptures, and wooden bridges. Bring your camera — the photo backdrops are priceless.

Escape to the tranquil beauty of the mountains this fall with our exclusive lodging packages.

As the leaves begin to change color and the air grows crisp, there’s no better time to unwind and recharge in the midst of nature’s grandeur in Steamboat. Whether you’re seeking a romantic getaway or a family adventure, our package offers a unique and unforgettable experience in the heart of the mountains. Immerse yourself in the breathtaking scenery, indulge in the delicious local cuisine, and enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities like hiking, biking, soaking in the natural mineral hot springs, or a scenic gondola ride.