Tales from the Tread: Celebrating the springs of Steamboat
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Visiting nine of Steamboat Springs’ most iconic mineral springs is more refreshing through a series of new interpretive displays thanks to a unique local partnership. New designs and signage share a pool of information when exploring the downtown mineral springs.
Explore hot springs, healing waters, sparkling soda and the mysterious Sulphur Cave and Springs through the distinctive history and geology of each spring. These unique geologic natural wonders include the Sulphur Spring, Lake Springs, Black Sulphur Spring, Steamboat Spring, Iron Spring, Soda Spring, Lithia Spring, Sulphur Cave and Springs and Heart Spring at Old Town Hot Springs.
The Mineral Springs interpretive project is a partnership between the city of Steamboat Springs, Tread of Pioneers Museum, Northwest Colorado Cultural Heritage Program, Steamboat Creates and Emerald Mountain Geoscience. It is funded by the city and the Tread of Pioneers Museum.
Take a tour: The Tread of Pioneers Museum created an interactive Google Maps Mineral Springs Tour of all the downtown springs in Steamboat and a feature exhibit, “The Springs of Steamboat,” currently on display at the museum, located at 800 Oak St.
“Few places in the world match the concentration and diversity of the mineral springs found in Steamboat Springs,” said Tread of Pioneers Executive Director Candice Banister. “We wanted to celebrate this with attractive new signage utilizing historical photos from our collection and updated interpretive information. Now, taking a geological and historical walking tour of Steamboat Springs’ most iconic mineral springs will bring the waters to life.”
For centuries humans have been drawn to the thermal waters in and around Steamboat. The Ute tribe, which summered in the area, considered the mineral — or medicine — springs sacred ground and valued the springs as places of physical and spiritual healing.
By the early 1900s, the springs were touted as a great natural wonder. Over 150 springs were recorded in the area. The arrival of the passenger train in 1909 opened the remote northwestern region to an influx of visitors and established Steamboat as a “spa town” and tourist destination. Today, the mineral springs and the area’s hot springs continue to lure locals and visitors from across the world.
The Tread of Pioneers Museum is located at 800 Oak St. in downtown Steamboat Springs.
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