Shoulder season is a tough time to stay in shape. Here are some tips.

Will Firestone flyfishes at Fetcher's Pond on Thursday evening. He bundles up to stay warm in the fall weather. Fishing is just one of the ways people can continue to get outside in the cooling weather.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Fall shoulder season in Steamboat Springs is more than just a time when restaurants close for a couple weeks. It’s also a season marked by active people doing their best to recreate. After multiple gloomy days, it’s hard to get excited by hiking, biking or trail running. With the trails getting so damp, it’s probably best to avoid those activities.

There’s no skiing or boarding yet in Steamboat. Though, Loveland is opening Saturday. Thankfully there are still plenty of things to do to stay active in the Yampa Valley.

“For me and a lot of my friends, the fall to winter seasonal shift, when we’re getting shorter days, more darkness, things are getting colder, that can be tough on people’s mindset,” Routt County Riders Exective Director Laraine Martin said.

In this cycle of snowing and melting, area trails have gotten to be pretty damp. Depending on the area, some trails are still OK to tread on, but others have been showing signs of improper use.

Frozen trails, or ones with snow on top, are safe to travel on. Sinking into the mud and leaving thick prints or tread marks means it’s probably best to find another trail or opt for a road.

“Our gravel roads have been getting more and more popular in those shoulder seasons for good reason because the tread service, the improved county roads that are more close to pavement or the less improved ones that have more gavel on top, they are a better option,” Martin said. “If we get a long period of rain and snow, the trails aren’t going to dry out but after a few days of sunshine, the county roads will. And a lot of them do go really beautiful places. I live out on fly gulch on 44A and it is gorgeous. I see people out there walking dogs and walking and riding their bikes.”

It’s also a good time of year to hit the Yampa River Core Trail or bike on paved roads that are seeing less traffic in a season marked by less tourists.

Getting outside is also more important than ever as seasonal depression starts to settle into many people. Martin hopes cyclists aren’t jumping to judge riders and criticize where they choose to ride.

“Just be kind to each other,” Martin said. “We’re all out there trying to chase down our own mental health needs and connect with the outdoors.”

Hunting season might deter some people from the woods, but fishing season is always in full swing. And most of the Yampa River is back open again for anglers.

Old Town Hot Springs Marketing Director Vanessa Cory said there is an obvious influx of people at the gym during the cooler months leading up to winter.

“It’s been really fun to watch the progression over the last month and a half, seeing a lot of our group exercise classes continue to fill up and up and up,” Cory said. “In the summer, so many of our members love to get outside and enjoy the weather. Once things start to change, they start to creep back.”

The ski fitness class at Old Town Hot Springs filled up quickly and is in the middle of its two-month training window. Old Town Hot Springs has a four-month seasonal pass on top of monthly or daily options.

Indoor workouts are possible at home too. Thanks to the pandemic, YouTube creators have put out endless options of no equipment, apartment-friendly (meaning low impact) workouts that anyone can complete in a small space.

The days are getting shorter, so it’s harder to spend time in the sun. Fall is the perfect time to pick up a new hobby or branch out to new fitness trends. Steamboat is home to more than a handful of studios offering everything from pilates to meditation to rock climbing.

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