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Steamboat Springs Colorado

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Steamboat Springs, Colorado was historically a summer site for nomadic Ute and Arapahoe Native Americans. American settlers arrived permanently in 1875. The area thrived on agriculture, and its cowboy roots show in the annual summer cattle drive down its main street during Fourth of July festivities. The city was named for a geyser, whose bubbling seemed to early settlers like the sound of a steamboat plodding up river. The geyser is quiet now, but it can still be seen near the city library.

In 2004, Laura Bush honored Steamboat Springs as one of the first cities to be designated a Preserve America community for its work in maintaining and restoring its historic buildings. For those interested, a walking tour of the city takes history buffs along a trail of century-old buildings. By spending an afternoon at the city's Tread of Pioneers Museum, you can discover the history of the city as well as the Ute and Arapahoe people.

For those who prefer not to walk, Steamboat Springs Transit runs a free bus transportation service. While primarily catering to outdoorsmen, Steamboat Springs also boasts over 250 shops, including art galleries and gift shops. More than 70 restaurants serve a variety of cuisine, from fresh fish flown in daily to fresh western game.

When to Go and what to Do

Steamboat Springs offers events and activities all year. The more than 150 natural hot springs in the area are a consistently popular vacation draw in both summer and winter, so campers need to make reservations in advance. Hunting, fishing, hiking, and horseback riding are all readily available to the outdoors enthusiast. Arts lovers will find more than enough to satisfy their culture cravings, with the Steamboat Springs Chamber Orchestra, Northwest Ballet and Emerald City Opera performing throughout the year.

For those travelers visiting in the summer, the Strings in the Mountains Music Festival is another appealing option. The adventurous can take part in a real cattle drive on a working cattle ranch, try their hands at river rafting, or take a fast-paced ride down Howelson Hill. For families with budding performers in their ranks, the Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts Camp offers dance, music, and acting classes from mid-June to mid-August.

The end of summer sees the annual Steamboat Springs Art Depot show, and Stagecoach to the Flat Tops. The early fall Literary Sojourn brings book lovers and authors together. The Yampa River Botanic Park, just outside of Steamboat Springs, contains several individual botanical gardens and is open until the first heavy snow.

Winter, though, is certainly Steamboat Springs's time to shine. Hidden away 7,000 feet up in the Colorado Rockies, Steamboat Springs is a secluded skier's paradise. Known as Ski Town, USA, Steamboat Springs has produced more than 50 winter Olympic competitors--more than any other North American city. With ski trails to challenge every skier's level, North America's longest superpipe and lessons for kids, skiers and snowboarders of all ages find enough to do to keep them on the slopes all day.

Snowshoeing and ice skating are available sports alternatives. For those who have had enough exercise, a visit to the Winter Carnival, held every year since 1914, or the Cowboy Downhill, a 31-year-old annual ski rodeo, lets you sit back and watch. The Steamboat Community Players present theater at their 7th Street Playhouse, and Mountain Movie and Chief Plaza Theater offer a night at the movies.

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