8 Jun 2020
We’ve been known forever as Ski Town USA, and in the last decade or so as Bike Town USA, but did you know that we could also be called Water Town USA?
Ok ok, Michigan and Minnesota might have a problem with us adopting this moniker, but Steamboat has lakes that rival the best of the midwest PLUS rivers, creeks, swimming holes, and hot springs.
Not only can you waterski or wakeboard, but you can also kayak, raft, fish, standup paddleboard, tube, body surf, soak or just plain swim in our waters!
If you’re interested in where the best spots are to splash around in Steamboat, grab your sandals and let’s dive in.
Steamboat’s "great" Lakes
(photo from Wake)
Steamboat lakes for water sports are Stagecoach Reservoir, Steamboat Lake and Pearl Lake.
Pearl Lake is a non-motorized lake about 25 miles north of Steamboat. It's picturesque and perfect for paddleboarders and anglers. Rent a paddleboard in town at Mountain Sports Kayak School. No schlepping required. Mountains Sports Kayak School will drop the paddleboards off and pick them up when you’re done at Pearl Lake.
Steamboat Lake is just up the road from Pearl Lake. Hang out on the beach looking out at Hahn’s Peak or head out onto the glassy waters in a boat rental. Steamboat Lake Marina is stocked with pontoon boat rentals, fishing boats, canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards.
Stagecoach Reservoir is similar to Steamboat Lake. It’s about 22 miles South of Steamboat, has a sizable stretch of beach for sun worshippers and is equipped with a marina and a variety of boat rental options. Stagecoach also hosts the infamous water sports company, Wake. Wake offers wakeboarding, wake surfing, and, for those who know what it means to do a kick-flip or an olie (we’re not exactly sure what those mean!), wakeskating.
Stagecoach is also home to Steamboat Fishing Adventures, where guides guarantee you’ll catch a fish. No exaggerated fishing tales needed! Record-holding Northern Pike upwards of 30lbs have been found in Stagecoach. And it has one of the best trout populations in the state.
A river runs through it
We are pretty fortunate to have the Yampa River meander throughout all of Steamboat. It’s one of our most prized community assets. There are many ways to enjoy the Yampa. You can stroll alongside it, bask along the banks of it, dine overlooking it, or dip your toes in and play in it!
Tubing the river is pretty unique to Steamboat. Other Colorado towns may try to emulate the experience, heck, Disney even tries to emulate the experience! Rest assured, there is no substitute for the real thing. We recommend renting tubes from our friends at Backdoor Sports. As their name indicates, you hop in your tube right outside their backdoor. After you’ve floated the Yampa for a stretch, their shuttles whisk you back to their shop where your dry clothes await.
Stand Up Paddleboarding or kayaking the Yampa
The crew at Mountain Sports Kayak School are experts at helping novice river rats enjoy the rapids. Lessons start in a pond, progress to flatwater, then ease on into some rapids.
When you’ve had a winter as robust as we’ve had, rafting is an exciting way to experience the Yampa. Head over to Bucking Rainbow for everything you ever wanted to know about rafts and rapids. They lead trips down the Yampa as well as a few other neighboring rivers with white water.
If you’re looking for a spot to submerge in, we recommend playing in the waves of the C-Hole or the D-Hole. These are downtown swimming holes located behind the library and the Steamboat Creates Art Depot, respectively. Lounge like a lizard on the rocks, then body surf the waves like a local.
And don’t forget about the Burgess Creek beach at the base area of the ski mountain. In the summertime, Burgess Creek stair steps its way across the bunny slopes of Mt. Werner making it a favorite hangout of those enjoying the mini-golf, rollercoaster and bike parks. There are several “beach” areas flanked with bright red Adirondack chairs, perfect for weary parents there to watch their kids shovel sand or patter around the creek.
Prefer your water to feel like a bathtub rather than a plunge pool? Well, we can accommodate that, too!
If you’re floating the Yampa, hop-off at the Hippy Hot Springs at Dr. Richard Weiss park. This petite pool is perfect for little ones and their parents who want to stay warm while playing in the water.
The Old Town Hot Springs Pool is a family favorite with water slide, rock climbing wall, and hot pools. Its interior has been completely renovated, revamped and reopened to great fanfare this spring. Day passes are available.
Or head up to the Strawberry Park Hot Springs for scenic and spectacular outdoor natural hot springs. It’s family-friendly during the day and adults only in the evenings.
And, of course, to guarantee that your Steamboat water adventures go swimmingly, pair them with a perfect chalet from Moving Mountains. Most of our chalets come equipped with hot tubs, several of our properties have heated outdoor pools, and all come with our insider knowledge and recommendations on the best ways to make the most of your Steamboat family vacation.