An insider’s guide to enjoying Independence Day in Steamboat Springs |

An insider’s guide to enjoying Independence Day in Steamboat Springs

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — With fireworks and the traditional Fourth of July parade down Lincoln Avenue cancelled due to COVID-19, the holiday weekend in Steamboat Springs will look a little different this year.

But several local organizations have gotten creative to ensure there are still opportunities to celebrate the Fourth, whether you are a local staying close to home or a visitor looking to enjoy a weekend away.

Here’s our list of fun, and appropriately social distanced, Independence Day activities to explore.

The greens of summer have consumed the slopes of Mount Werner and most of the surrounding landscape in the Yampa Valley.
John F. Russell

Red, White and Blue Drive-Through

The Steamboat Springs Chamber has replaced the annual Fourth of July Parade with a brand new concept — the Red, White and Blue Drive-Through. The event will feature over 40 decorated vehicles that will drive around town beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 4.

The procession will start at the Strings Music Pavilion parking lot and continue through mountain area neighborhoods before connecting to Hilltop Lane and Amethyst Street. From there, the drive-through will wind its way downtown and continue to the west side of town. There will be rolling street closures throughout the procession, but no hard closures.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

Those who come out to enjoy the drive-through are reminded to follow local public health guidelines that include: gathering in groups of 10 or less with family and friends; remaining at least 6 feet away from other groups; spreading out along the route; and wearing a mask or face covering when out in public.

Crane Dance video release             

One of the most popular parade entries each year is the Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition crane dancers who perform along Lincoln Avenue. This year, the group has created an appropriately social distanced-crane dance on that celebrates the greater Sandhill Cranes and the Fourth of July. The video can be viewed at

Send in your photos from your epic Fourth of July picnic.
Getty Images/stock

The Great American Picnic

Main Street Steamboat and the Steamboat Springs Chamber are partnering together to promote the Great American Picnic as a way to celebrate the Fourth of July. People are invited to create an amazing spread or order a meal for your family from one of Steamboat’s participating restaurants.

Picnics can take place at home or at one of Steamboat’s many public parks. Participants are encouraged to take photos of these culinary celebrations and then send those photos to or post on social media with the hashtag, #Steamboatsnaps to be featured in the Steamboat Pilot & Today or on

For a list of participating restaurants that are offering specials in conjunction with The Great American Picnic, visit

A tuber floats down the Yampa River near the James Brown Soul Center of the Universe Bridge.
John F. Russell

Tubing through downtown

The Yampa River is the perfect place to enjoy a day on the water with family. The season opened just last week, and tubes can be rented from three downtown outfitters: Backdoor Sports, One Stop Ski Shop and Bucking Rainbow Outfitters.

For those who choose to use their own tubes, it’s suggested people park at the Stockbridge Transit Center and ride the free bus to the put-in location as parking near popular put-in spots is very limited.

It’s also important to remember to leave no trace during your trip down the river.  Make sure you are wearing shoes with straps — no flip-flops — and leave the alcohol at home.

Dwain Carnes and Peyton, 2, fly down the Alpine Slide on Howelsen Hill in Steamboat Springs in a past summer.

Need for speed

If you’re looking for some thrills, try The Howler, a 2,400-foot Alpine slide on Howelsen Hill, or the 6,280-foot Outlaw Coaster at the base of Steamboat Resort — the longest coaster in North America. The Howler is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays, and all proceeds benefit the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. Find more information at The Outlaw Coaster is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. For more information, visit

At the Steamboat Farmers Market in downtown Steamboat Springs.
Bryce Martin

Shop for your July 4th picnic

The Main Street Steamboat Farmers Market is a Saturday morning staple, and since Fourth of July falls on a Saturday this year, a morning spent perusing booths filled with local products is a great way to start your holiday celebration.

The market, located at Seventh and Yampa streets between Fifth and Eighth in downtown Steamboat, is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday. Due to public health orders related to COVID-19, vendors are currently limited to those who provide grocery items, like meat and fish, artisanal cheeses, eggs, fresh bakery items, fresh produce and specialty items like salts, salsa and honey. These offerings provide shoppers with the ingredients to prepare the perfect Fourth of July picnic or meal.

Reminder: Those who visit the market must wear face masks and retain a safe 6-foot distance from other shoppers.

Steamboat Resort and Steamboat Springs can be viewed from the multiuse trails at Emerald Mountain.
Katie Berning

Explore Emerald

Located just across the Yampa from downtown, Emerald Mountain is criss-crossed with multiuse trails that are great for hiking or mountain biking. For a bird’s eye view of town, take Blackmer Drive up to the Quarry overlook or try out T-Bar, the new hikers-only trail. For trail maps and more information, pick up a copy of the 2020 Steamboat Springs Trails Guide.

Celebrate safely

The Fourth of July is synonymous with fireworks, and safety should be part of anyone’s planned celebrations. Here is a list of fireworks safety tips provided by the Routt County Office of Emergency Management and the city of Steamboat Springs.

  • Use fireworks outdoors only.
  • Always have water handy — a hose or bucket.
  • Only use fireworks as intended. Don’t try to alter or combine them.
  • Never re-light a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Use common sense. Spectators should keep a safe distance from the shooter.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix — have a “designated shooter.”
  • Only people 12 and older should be allowed to handle sparklers of any type.
  • Never give fireworks to small children and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  • Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
  • Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.

Fireworks that leave the ground, explode or fragment are illegal in Colorado. Illegal fireworks include, but are not limited to, bottle rockets, cherry bombs, firecrackers, rockets and shells, Roman candles, mortars, missile boxes and M-100 or M-80 devices. Fireworks also are illegal on U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands.

And in addition to fireworks safety, locals and visitors are reminded that this year’s Fourth of July celebrations must be enjoyed under the county’s public health orders related to COVID-19. People are encouraged to adhere to the Five Commitments for Containment, which include:

  • Maintaining 6-foot physical distance
  • Washing hands often
  • Using a face mask in public
  • Staying home if sick
  • Getting tested immediately if COVID-19 symptoms appear

To reach Lisa Schlichtman, call 970-871-4221, email or follow her on Twitter @lschlichtman.

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