Top 10 activities to do in December
Steamboat Springs — Steamboat Springs locals always know the best places to go or sights to see. Explore asked some of them their thoughts on the Top 10 activities to do in Steamboat during the month of December.
#1 Christmas tree cutting
It’s a tradition in Steamboat for those who know just where to go to find the perfect tree for Christmas. However, Christmas tree permits are necessary. The U.S. Forest Service started selling the permits in late November for about $10. Those can be picked up from the Steamboat Forest Service office at 925 Weiss Drive or at the office in Yampa at 300 Roselawn St. More precautions and rules to keep in mind can be found in this Steamboat Pilot & Today article by Matt Stensland.
#2 Strawberry Park Hot Springs
Whether local or visitor, most would agree that a trip to the Strawberry Park Hot Springs is definitely a must when in Steamboat. This local gem was rated No. 1 by colorado.com’s top five Colorado hikes and hot springs. It is open year round from 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 10 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. Shuttles are available, especially with the winding road slick and icy throughout the winter.
According to April Bruder, leaving town for a few days to stay in one of the two yurts available for reservations year round at Pearl Lake is one thing she loves to do in December. Yurts are tents that were once used by nomads on the mountains of Mongolia and Siberia. The round tent on a wooden form offers a circular view of skylights and provides a 20-foot diameter space that sleeps six people. The yurts can be rented for $70 per night.
Zac Barbiasz said one of his favorite places to snowshoe is the Soda Creek trail on Buffalo Pass. The area offers easy trails with beautiful views, Barbiasz said. Emerald and Fish Creek Falls trails are well known spots for snowshoeing. Dustin Bergstrom said Yampatika offers a free ski or snowshoe with a naturalist program that always provides for a fun afternoon.
Howelsen Hill Ski Area is a spot in town where many go to cross country ski. Lake Catamount Ski Touring Center also offers various distances for all levels as does Haymaker and the Touring Center. There also are many trails up on Rabbit Ears like Bruce’s Trail, which is great for either skate skiing or kick-and-gliding.
#6 Dog sledding
Grizzle-T Dog & Sled Works is a business owned and operated by Iditarod musher Kris Hoffman and his wife, Sara. They have a 31-year history of racing and breeding Alaskan Huskies for the Iditarod. The operation is located on Routt County County Road 205. For more information, call 970-870-1782 or visit http://www.steamboatdogsledding.com.
#7 Ice climbing tours on Fish Creek Falls:
This ice-climbing site is a place only a few locals know well, but they suggest not going out there without a guide. Rocky Mountain Ventures is the only permitted outfitter for guided rock climbing and ice climbing tours. All levels of climbers are welcome, kids and adults, and the company provides equipment and instruction for the climb up the frozen falls.
#8 Ice fishing
There are a number of places to go snowmobiling, and many locals find the serene area of Rabbit Ears as a great spot to enjoy the winter sport. Explore contributor Greg Johnson went up on Dunckley Pass last week, and
Danielle Zimmerer suggests calling Saddleback Ranch or Steamboat Snowmobile Tours for a guided snowmobile tour.
This is a recreational ice game that originated in Canada and is played in an indoor or outdoor hockey rink. Howelsen Ice Arena is a great place to try out the game, which is played with six players on two teams. Using brooms, the players hit the ball around the rink and try to score goals. Players don’t wear skates but instead take to the ice on rubber-soled shoes.
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It was a love story that brought Jason Erwin to Steamboat Springs from Nashville, Tennessee.