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Steamboat Springs

By Deb Stanley, Examiner.com

Have you ever hiked in the Steamboat Springs area? While it may seem far to drive to Steamboat, it’s just three hours from the Denver metro area. The Chamber of Commerce calls Gilpin Lake a “blue alpine lake of magnificent beauty.” I agree. Not only was the lake beautiful, so was the hike there.

The hike starts at the Slavonia Trailhead, about 29 miles from town (directions below). The dirt parking lot has a bathroom and signboards. There’s one trail from the parking lot, but there are more trails along the path.

Just 0.2 miles from the parking lot, hikers come to their first trail split. A sign has an arrow pointing right for Gold Creek Lake (Trail No. 1150) and left for our destination, Gilpin Lake (Trail No. 1161).

Over the next 3 miles, hikers wind their way through a forest of aspens making this the perfect fall hike. When the trees open up, you’ll enjoy beautiful meadows with views of the peaks in the distance. Gilpin Lake sits at the top of this valley on the right side. As you hike, you may get your feet wet. The trail crosses over several streams. Sometimes there are rocks and logs to help you cross, sometimes there are not. As you can hike, you’ll likely hear a loud river nearby, don’t worry, there are close-up views of the cascades occasionally as you hike toward Gilpin Lake.

The trail has lots of ups and downs as it gains about 1,000 feet over that first three miles. Take it easy, because the trail is about to get a lot harder. There are three sets of closely set switchbacks to the lakeshore. Hikers gain about 850 feet over that final mile or so.

When you come over the ridge to the lake, it will be all be worth it. An open field leads right to the shoreline of Gilpin Lake. The lake sits in a bowl below tree line. The lake’s rocky shoreline is surrounded by trees and peaks. Find a spot in the open field for lunch or find a secluded spot on a rock in the trees.

During lunch, you’ll have a decision to make. Hike back 4.5 miles to the trailhead on the Gilpin Lake Trail or continue on the so-called Zirkel Circle loop trail to Gold Creek Lake and back to the trailhead. The loop hike is 11.2 miles. Even if you decide not to do the loop, consider hiking up the trail a short distance to get a better view of Gilpin Lake.

Details: 9 miles RT to the lake with an elevation gain of about 1,850 feet.

Directions: From U.S. 40 in Steamboat Springs, drive west through town to Elk River Road (County Road 129) and turn right. Follow CR 129 about 18 miles to Seedhouse Road (also known as NFSR 400/CR 64) and turn right. This is a dirt road that can be rough, but manageable for passenger cars. (Check with the Forest Service for the latest conditions.) Drive 11 miles to the end of the road at the Slavonia trailhead.

For more great hikes in Colorado and the west, click here.


By Claudia Carbone, Examiner.com

Lots of restaurants in Colorado boast inspired cuisine, international wine lists and impeccable service. But when you get it all above 10,000 feet in the midst of the magnificent Rocky Mountains, dining out just doesn’t get any better than this.

Whether you ski in for a sit-down lunch or ride a snowcat, gondola or horse-drawn sleigh up for a romantic dinner, you’ll find dining at these mountaintop eateries to be an unforgettable and unique experience and, yes, even an adventure. On-mountain restaurants feed you the most spectacular eye candy in the state. They are the ultimate treat for a holiday vacation or special occasion. Night time is the best time, when fires glow in the fireplace, candles flicker on the table and lights of the resort twinkle far below against a black sky. Plan to spend some bucks and be sure to make reservations well in advance.

Game Creek Club at Vail
www.gamecreekclub.com

Mountain clubs are ski resorts’ answer to golf clubs. At Vail, Game Creek Club is such a place. But non-members can taste the good life – or shall we say the good food – at the club’s Game Creek Restaurant, for dinner at least. In the richly appointed main dining room with upholstered chairs, savor wild game and fresh seafood dishes served with award-winning wines. The restaurant is hidden in Game Creek Bowl. From Lionshead, ride the gondola to Eagle’s Nest from where you’ll be shuttled by snowcat to the glowing lights of the lodge.

The Outpost atop North Peak, Keystone
www.keystoneresort.com

This gastronomic escapade begins with two gondola rides over the slopes of Keystone to The Outpost atop North Peak, the massive timber home of Alpenglow Stube at 11,444 feet. Inside North America’s highest fine dining restaurant, trade your boots for comfy slippers before entering the Swiss-style dining room. Under the eye of Executive Chef Skip McCarthy, award-winning chefs prepare exquisite (and expensive) seven-course prix fixe dinners. Or choose from the a la carte menu of the chefs’ favorite creations. Finish it off with cognac or port in front of a roaring fireplace.

Allred’s at Telluride
www.tellurideskiresort.com/allreds

The timber and stone building housing Allred’s perches on a cliff 1,800 feet above Telluride. To reach it, board the gondola, the historic town’s umbilical cord to chi-chi Mountain Village. As you rise upward on your ride to the midway station, the twinkling lights of the tiny town become distant as the snowy 13,000-foot San Juan Mountains engulf you. Inside, cozy up for the night with small plates and cocktails or enjoy fine dining from the à la carte menu. More than 250 wines from around the world complement the gourmet food.

Zach’s Cabin at Beaver Creek
www.beavercreek.com/zachs-cabin

Zach’s joins Beano’s and Allie’s Cabins at Beaver Creek as elegant yet rustic romantic sleigh-ride dinner destinations. This one is named for Zach Allen, father of Beaver Creek’s first female resident Allie Townsend, for whom Allie’s is named. With vaulted ceilings, a massive stone fireplace and huge windows for dazzling views of the Gore Range, 13,000-square-foot Zach’s is hardly a cabin. But its secluded location in an Aspen grove between Arrowhead and Bachelor Gulch give it a cozy cabin feel. Sleighs leave from the Ritz-Carlton for dinner Thursday-Saturday.

Hazie’s at Steamboat
www.steamboat-dining.com/Hazies

The Werner family brought fame to Steamboat with three Werner kids sharing Olympic glory. It is fitting, then, that their mother Hazie is immortalized with a restaurant named in her honor. The alpine bistro sits halfway up Mount Werner in the Thunderhead Lodge. Ride the gondola, watching the twinkling lights of the Yampa Valley grow smaller as you reach the top. The dreamy ambiance temporarily fades walking through the terminal building—until you sit down for dinner. The set-priced Continental meal is as romantic as the ride.


By Reginald Bautista, Examiner.com

As the nation embraces summer, it’s time to dig out the clubs, shake the rust off the swing, and hit the golf course in the mountain towns. This batch of golf getaways features a trio of deals from Sheraton Steamboat and Rollingstone Ranch Golf Course. Other honorable mentions include cocktails in a package for the Peaks Resort & Spa and Telluride Golf Club, and a Stay and Play package from The Inn at Keystone, the town’s only pet friendly property.

Trio of Golf Getaways with Sheraton Steamboat Sheraton Steamboat and Rollingstone Ranch Golf Course are offering three packages depending where you want to play and for how long. All packages include at least one round of golf at Rollingstone, accommodations at Sheraton Steamboat, and late checkout, if available.

Golf The ‘Boat Starting at $299 per person double occupancy, per night, this package offers access to two of the Yampa Valley’s finest courses, including:   – Resort accommodations  – Greens fees for up to 18 holes for two players at the Sheraton’s Rollingstone Ranch Golf Course  – Greens fees for up to 18 holes for two players at Haymaker Golf Course  – Golf cart included  – 4 p.m. late check-out (based upon availability)

Unlimited Steamboat Golf Package This unlimited golf offer, which starts at $149 per person double occupancy, per night and includes:   – Resort accommodations  – Unlimited golf for two players at Sheraton’s Rollingstone Ranch Golf Course – cart included  – Driving range privileges on day of play  – 10% off all merchandise at Sheraton’s Rollingstone Ranch Golf Pro-Shop  – 4 p.m. late check-out (based upon availability)

Steamboat Stay & Play Starts at $129 per person double occupancy, per night, including:    – Resort accommodations  – Green fees for up to 18 holes of golf for two players at Sheraton’s Rollingstone Ranch Golf Course – cart included  – Driving range privileges on day of play  – 10% off all merchandise at Sheraton’s Rollingstone Ranch Golf Pro-Shop  – 4 p.m. late check-out (based upon availability)

About Rollingstone Ranch Golf Course Named one of Colorado’s “Best Resort Courses” for 2011 by Colorado Avid Golfer, the Rollingstone Ranch was designed by Robert Trent Jones II. The 18-hole course – a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” by to Audubon International – consists of bentgrass/poa annua greens and bluegrass/ryegrass fairways and roughs and sixty-six sand bunkers, plus dramatic tee shots, stunning Flat Top Mountain views, and the Fish Creek Grille. For more information on Rollingstone Ranch, visit www.rollingstoneranchgolf.com or call 970-879-1391.   To book any of these packages and for more information on the Sheraton Steamboat, call 866-716-8134 or visit www.sheratonsteamboatresort.com. All packages are based on availability; the Golf the ‘Boat offer require a 2-night minimum stay.

Elevate Your Golf Game at The Peaks in Telluride This golf package at the Peaks Resort & Spa and Telluride Golf Club includes: Resort accommodations – One round of Golf per person – Range balls and practice facility – Golf concierge services – 19th Hole round of cocktails at Palmyra Bar – Complimentary valet parking

About Telluride Golf Course At 9,500 feet above sea level, this par 70, 6,574 yard, 18 hole, mountain resort course is surrounded by the highest concentration of 14,000 foot mountains in the United States. Constructed in 1992 and located within the Peaks Resort & Spa, the course serves as a private club for members as well as a public course for Peaks guests. For more about this package and information about the Peaks Resort & Spa and Telluride Golf Club, visit www.thepeaksresort.com.

Stay and Play at The Inn at Keystone  From $126 per person, the package includes: Lodging accommodations – 18 holes at the Keystone Ranch

About Keystone Golf Keystone’s courses were ranked among Colorado’s Best Resort Courses by Colorado Avid Golfer. Elevation changes, variable bunkers, and water hazards combine to challenge golfers of all levels. Other rates, dates and accommodations available. To book this package and for more information, visit www.keystoneresort.com.


Courtesy of Summit County

By Deb Stanley, Examiner.com

If you’re driving through Steamboat Springs, don’t miss Fish Creek Falls. The trail is just 3.5 miles from town and the “hike” is really just a short walk. A trek of 0.2 miles takes visitors to a 280-foot waterfall.

The trail starts at a paved parking lot with about 40 spaces (directions below). Before you start, you’ll need to pay a fee. Cash only.

The wide, dirt trail drops about 100 feet in elevation from the parking lot to a bridge with a view. The hike to Fish Creek Falls is easy, it’s downhill. Remember you have to hike back up after you visit the falls.

At the bridge, find a good spot and take lots of pictures. There’s the falls, the cascades below it and the historic bridge.

A trail on the other side of the bridge leads to the upper falls and Long Lake. The hike to the upper falls is another 2.25 miles with about 1,200 feet of elevation gain. The hike to Long Lake is about 5 more miles with 2,400 feet of elevation gain.

If you’re looking for more waterfall hikes, check out my favorite waterfall hikes and my favorite waterfall hikes with little to no hiking.

Details: The hike to Fish Creek Falls and back is just 0.4 miles with 100 feet of elevation gain on the way back.

Directions: From Steamboat Springs, turn east on 3rd Street, then take the first right turn on to Fish Creek Falls Road. The trailhead is about 3.5 miles from town.

For more great hikes in Colorado and the west, click here.

Don’t miss any of my hiking reports, follow me, HikingDebbie on Twitter or DenverHikingExaminer on Facebook.


Credit: Deb Stanley

By Deb Stanley, Examiner.com

If you like loop hikes, put the Zirkel Circle on your “to do” list. The 11.2 mile trek near Steamboat Springs features two alpine lakes, scenic meadows, a waterfall and numerous cascades.

The hike starts at the Slavonia Trailhead, about 29 miles from town (directions below). The dirt parking lot has a bathroom and signboards. There’s one trail from the parking lot, but there are more trails along the path.

Just 0.2 miles from the parking lot, hikers come to their first trail split. A sign has an arrow pointing right for Gold Creek Lake (Trail No. 1150) and left for Gilpin Lake (Trail No. 1161). You can hike the loop in either direction.  The Gold Creek side is longer so the elevation gain is more gradual. The Gilpin Lake side is harder, but once you hit the lake, you can see the last ridge you have to climb before it’s all downhill.

The Gilpin Lake side is great in the summer months for wildflowers. In the fall, the aspens put on quite a show. When the trees open up, you’ll enjoy beautiful meadows with views of the peaks in the distance. Gilpin Lake sits at the top of this valley on the right side. As you hike, you may get your feet wet. The trail crosses over several streams. Sometimes there are rocks and logs to help you cross, sometimes there are not. As you can hike, you’ll likely hear a loud river nearby, don’t worry, there are close-up views of the cascades occasionally as you hike toward Gilpin Lake. The trail has lots of ups and downs as it gains about 1,000 feet over that first three miles. As you hike the last mile to the lake, there are three sets of steep switchbacks.

When you come over the ridge to the lake, it will be all be worth it. An open field leads right to the shoreline of Gilpin Lake. The lake sits in a bowl below tree line. The lake’s rocky shoreline is surrounded by trees and peaks. Find a spot in the open field for lunch or find a secluded spot on a rock in the trees.

At the lake, you’ll see the ridge you’re climbing next. That’s 450 feet of elevation gain in less than a mile. It’s steep, but the switchbacks help. And you’ll likely be taking lots of breaks on the way up for photos of Gilpin Lake.

At the top, it’s down a different valley to Gold Creek Lake about 2.7 miles away. Like the first valley, this valley features scenic meadows, cascading creeks and water crossings. There are two water crossings on this side that are a little tough. Take your time to scope out the best way across.

Gold Creek Lake is smaller than Gilpin Lake and while Gilpin was dark blue, Gold Creek Lake is green. It’s an odd shape lake so it’s hard to get a good picture of it, but as you hike around the shoreline, you should find some good spots. Take a break, enjoy the views, then it’s about 3.2 miles back to the trailhead. Don’t worry, it’s not a boring trip out. There is thick forest to hike through and an impressive waterfall in this last stretch.

Details: 11.2 miles RT with an elevation gain of about 2,300 feet.

Directions: From U.S. 40 in Steamboat Springs, drive west through town to Elk River Road (County Road 129) and turn right. Follow CR 129 about 18 miles to Seedhouse Road (also known as NFSR 400/CR 64) and turn right. This is a dirt road that can be rough, but manageable for passenger cars. (Check with the Forest Service for the latest conditions.) Drive 11 miles to the end of the road at the Slavonia trailhead.

For more great hikes in Colorado and the west, click here.

Don’t miss any of my hiking reports, click on the “subscribe” button at the top of this article for an alert each time I publish. And follow me, HikingDebbie on Twitter or DenverHikingExaminer on Facebook.


RANDOM POSTS

Tired of seeing the plans for a promenade, sidewalks and other basic downtown improvements collecting dust on shelves for decades, the Steamboat Springs City Council Tuesday night pulled the trigger on the biggest investment in the downtown corridor in many years.

The financing package approved by council will construct millions of dollars worth of new sidewalks, public restrooms and other basic infrastructure downtown by the end of 2018.

The council agreed to pay for the $10.3 million ...read more

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