In Colorado, summers seem to fly by. One minute we are packing away our Patagonia fleeces and pulling out Chocos and the next it's time for our overflowing amount of fleeces to make their appearance again. However, ask any local what their favorite time of the year in the mountains is and most of them will answer with a resounding - Fall. The fall is a hidden gem in the mountains. The aspens turn to gold, the wildlife makes more appearances, town is less crowded and more laid back.
Autumn in the mountains is also considered Steamboat Springs “off season.” This is the time for locals to reset in the anticipation of winter. In this article, we will go over why fall is the best time to visit, play and live in the mountains.
As much as the local mountain folks appreciate having visitors in town to mingle with and fill local businesses, they also enjoy the reset in the fall. With school starting around the country, mountain towns typically have fewer visitors which means more room to play on the trails, shop at the stores, and hang with other locals at the bar and restaurants all while being able to find a parking spot.
Photo Credit: Uncover Colorado
Steamboat Springs is not only known for its champagne powder but also its natural hot springs especially Strawberry Hot Springs which is a few short miles out of town. While this activity hits the spot year round, fall is often the best time for a soak. Fall foliage, cool air, less crowds, and the laid back mountain town vibe is in full swing at the springs.
Nothing beats the aspens turning golden in Colorado surrounded by majestic snow capped peaks. The views are endless as you explore town, Steamboat Mountain, and the surrounding trails. Not only are there endless miles of trails to explore but you can also take a scenic drive to leaf peep. Our favorites are Rabbit Ears Pass, Elk River Road, and Buffalo Pass.
Best time to get outside
With the cooler weather, less tourists, and beautiful scenery, getting outside during the fall is the best time to hit the trails, walk around town, rake leaves, and to bring the autumn colors inside your house. It is also the last chance to tidy up any yard work left over from the summer. Make sure to check out our favorite trail located on Buff Pass, Flash of Gold, that was named for the aspen trees that line the trail and light the trail in gold as the leaves change.
Photo Credit: Mountain Top Brewery
Similar to locals resetting in the fall, it is also a great time for businesses to reset before the busy winter rush of explorers arrive into town. This includes changing decor, menus, inventory, and getting creative with seating. Many of the restaurants in Steamboat Springs are creating heated, outdoor oases such as yurts and tents to adhere to social distancing measures while keeping guests safe, warm and cozy. A great example is Mountain Tap Brewery, They are setting up gondola cars on their expansive patio so you can enjoy sipping your beer from your very own private gondola car.
With the dip in tourists and the changing of seasons comes incredible deals. Hotels typically have more vacancy, spas offer discounts, retail stores offer sales on summer gear, and restaurants offer off season specials. Fall is a great time to take advantage of these savings. Everything about this unique mountain town is still there but less on your pocketbook. If you’re in the mood for relaxation, check out Waterside Spa. During the autumn season, if you book a 90 minute massage, receive a free pedicure. There’s nothing like loose muscles and pretty toes going into ski season.
While all seasons in the mountains are spectacular, there’s something about the crisp air, fall foliage, and no pressure to ski everyday that makes you long to spend time in the mountains during the fall. Steamboat Springs is filled with activities, community, and culture.
The area is also filled with beautiful mountain homes for every type of buyer. I have lived in Steamboat for numerous years and would love to help you find your ideal mountain escape so you can enjoy all the fun Steamboat has to offer. Please reach out anytime.