Hiking Hot Spot: Steamboat Springs | By Kim Fuller

Last Updated: December 6, 2023By

From Continental Divide Trail support to maintaining beautiful trails, this mountain town offers miles of exploration

In 2018, the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) celebrates its 40th anniversary. In its evolution, the trail has remained an amazing way to explore the backcountry on a non-motorized, primitive trail that runs along the backbone of the North American continent.

Steamboat Springs is amidst the process of becoming a CDT Gateway Community. It’s a distinction of specific towns that recognize the unique economic and cultural value that the CDT brings. They make services accessible to hikers, educate local residents, and advocate for continued access to public lands.

Some Steamboat businesses are even known as “Trail Angels,” and help through hikers along their journey.

Head to Steamboat Springs this season for some great hiking along the CDT and beyond, and experience why this area deserves to be recognized as a Gateway Community for the nature lovers who live there and come to visit.

Hike to Fishhook Lake, Lost Lake and Lake Elmo Trail on Rabbit Ears Pass Along the Continental Divide Trail

Distance: 1.5-miles, each way

Hiking time: 1.5 hours

Fishhook Lake, Lost Lake and Lake Elmo Trail is three to four miles round trip(depending on how many lakes you want to visit). It’s an out and back and moderately trafficked trail, accessed from U.S. 40 on Rabbit Ears Pass, then about 20-minutes north on Road 315. The trail is best used from June through October, dogs are allowed, and provides beautiful rolling terrain to the lovely lake destinations.

Hike to Upper Fish Creek Falls

Distance: 2.5-miles, each way

Hiking time: 1.5 hours each way

This hike begins at a busy trailhead and quick jaunt to lower falls, and then begins to climb toward Fish Creek Falls. It’s about five miles total, with a turnaround point at the stunning mountain waterfall. Dogs can be brought on a leash, and the trail is best used from May until September. To get to the trailhead from Lincoln Avenue (Highway 40), go north on 3rd Street then a right on Fish Creek Falls Road. It’s four miles to the parking lot and trailhead.

Hike to Strawberry Park Hot Springs

Distance: 3-miles, each way

Hiking time: 1.5 hours up, less coming down

Your reward is Strawberry Park Hot Springs when you take the six-mile out and back trail to this sweet destination — bring your suit and money for admission! The Hot Springs Trail is Forest Service Trail 1169, accessed from Mad Creek Trailhead and best used from April until September. Dogs can hike the trail, but need to be on a leash at the hot springs.


Locally owned and operated, Salt & Lime features progressive Mexican dishes created using traditional cooking techniques and regional ingredients. Check out the rooftop for an afternoon margarita.

Creekside Café is a breakfast and lunch staple in downtown Steamboat Springs. Right on the creek and surrounded by an award-winning garden, the menu highlights local ingredient and creative cocktails.


Family-owned and operated, Moving Mountains offers homes and residences as vacation rentals. Add special amenities like a guide service, or a private chef to enjoy a delicious and low-key meal in a home-away-from-home.


Originally published in the Summer + Fall 2018 issue

Kim FullerBased in Vail, Colorado, Kim Fuller is a freelance writer, editor and photojournalist, as well as a yoga teacher, legacy ambassador for Lululemon Athletica Vail, and co-founder of In Your Element, a yoga and outdoor adventure company. When Kim is not diligently writing and editing in her mountain nook, teaching yoga around town or finding a new adventure, find Kim at a local cafe or craft brewery, where she enjoys the more indulgent side of inspiration.

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