Steamboat Lake State Park

Quick Facts

Steamboat Lake State Park

Colorado

(970) 879-3922

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Located 30 minutes north of the town of Steamboat Springs, Steamboat Lake State Park is one of the most beautiful mountain parks in Colorado, and has a nationwide reputation as one of the best places to camp, fish, and hike anywhere in the Rocky Mountains. Steamboat Lake State Park features a 1,100 surface-acre reservoir lying at 8,000 feet in elevation in the Willow Creek Valley of the Park Range. There is plenty of geology, plants, and wildlife to explore in this beautiful oasis. Nestled between three mountain peaks and surrounded by the Routt National Forest, the park offers a wide array of year-round outdoor opportunities. A world-class visitor center was built at the park in 1999, containing numerous educational displays that offer first-time visitors a chance to get oriented and learn about the surrounding environment. The park also features convenient access to the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area, numerous trails, and great food and lodging in Steamboat Springs.

Map of Steamboat Lake (CO)

Latitude, Longitude: 40.799674, -106.962366

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Activities

  • Boating

    The 1,053-acre reservoir provides a variety of water-based activities. Some coves and inlets are restricted to wakeless boating and are indicated by buoys. A large portion of the lake is zoned for wake boating, water-skiers and jet-skiers to enjoy. Registrations for motor and wind-powered vessels are available at the Visitor Center. Please observe all boating laws and regulations. Also, please see the "Boating" link on the left for information about mandatory Aquatic Nuisance Species Inspections.

  • Bicycling

    Mountain biking is available on Steamboat Lake's 7+ miles of established trail. There are additional opportunities on nearby Routt National Forest.

  • Camping

    Summer camping facilities include 188 campsites, some along the shore, some in the trees. Winter camping facilities include fourteen electrical hookups in the marina parking lot. Amenities vary; check out the camping information page and the park map. Ten camper cabins are available year around. Pets--on a leash and under control--are welcome. Reservations end September 14.

  • Fishing

    Anglers from shore or boat can catch rainbow and cutthroat trout or an occasional brook or brown trout. Meadow Point has been producing good fish as well as Rainbow Ridge and the Dam area. Steamboat Lake offers excellent opportunities for bait, lure and fly fishing. The bag limit is four trout daily with a possession limit of eight trout total. Check the Colorado Division of Wildlife fishing guide. Fishing licenses can be purchased at Steamboat Lake Marina or Steamboat Lake Outfitters.

  • Hiking

    We have three trails on the park: the outstanding Tombstone Nature Trail, a 1.1 mile loop below the Visitor Center, the Willow Creek Trail which, which connects the Marina and Sage Flats, and the Poverty Bar trail, connecting the Willow Creek Trail with Forest Service 409.

  • Horseback Riding

    Horseback riding is restricted to undeveloped areas of the park around the southeast corner of the lake.

  • Hunting

    Properly licensed hunters are welcome during all legal seasons after Labor Day. Hunting is allowed only from Rainbow Ridge day use area to Meadow Point area, and hunters must be 100 yards from any park facility.

  • Off Highway Vehicles

    OHV's are not allowed to operate in park; however, there are hundreds of miles of outstanding trails on forest service land immediately surrounding the park. OHV registrations are available at the visitor center.

  • Picnicking

    Picnic tables offering either grills or fire rings are available at the Placer Cove day-use area, Tombstone Nature Trailhead (with lots of tree shade), Sage Flats day-use area and the Dutch Hill Marina area. Check out the park map for location information.

  • RVing

    Electrical hookups are available year-round.

  • Water Sports

    With water temperatures in the low 70s in late summer, hardy souls can enjoy the swim beach at the Dutch Hill area. There are no lifeguards, so please be careful as swimming is at your own risk! Due to the danger of motorboat traffic and because water quality testing is done only at the swim beach, swimming is not allowed in other areas. Pets are not allowed at the swim beach, and may be tied up to the posts just outside the boundary. Approximately one half of the lake is available for wake speed boating. Please make sure your boat has a dedicated observer with an orange flag in addition to the operator for water skiing and wake boarding. Jet skiing and sailboarding are other popular summer activities.

  • Winter Sports

    Whether as base camp for local races, or on its own, the groomed trails provide refreshing workouts and great scenery for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The park has about 12 miles of groomed trail also available for snowmobiling, and is a gateway to 146 miles of groomed trail in the Routt National Forest! Most of the park is also available for off-trail riding, as are the hundreds of thousands of acres of surrounding National Forest. Please respect private property as well as the area from visitor center to Marina designated by blue poles as non-motorized.

Seasonality/Weather

The visitor center and the road to the Dutch Hill Marina parking lot remain open throughout the winter. All other park roads are typically closed mid-to-late October until mid to late May.

Park Partners

Steamboat Lake Outfitters

Steamboat Lake outfitters provides guided horseback rides, pack trips, and equipment rentals.

(970) 879-4404

Directions

Driving

Go west two miles on U.S. 40 to County Road 129 (also called Elk River Road). Turn north and drive 25 miles. The visitor center is on the left-hand side of the road. You can't miss us!

Flying

The closest airport is in Denver, CO.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(970) 879-3922

Links