September is my most favorite month in Steamboat. It always has been and because every month in Steamboat has its own bragging rights, it’s certainly tough competition to be at slot #1.
Maybe it’s the crunch of leaves, perhaps it’s the warm sunny days with slightly cooler evenings or just the fact that, in addition to my own kids being back in school, so are everyone else’s, therefore, Steamboat in September takes on a subtle yet serene feel.
Everything is still in full swing. The gondola still whisks people to the top of the mountain for fall hikes and sunset happy hours, the Farmer’s Market is still selling farm-to-table freshness, restaurants are still serving fantastic fare to hungry hikers and bikers. But the vibe around the ‘Boat is quieter and (double bonus) parking spaces are plentiful!
In late September, the aspen leaves start to take on their yellow hue, just making the Steamboat scenery even more stunning. Snuggling around one of the many outdoor fire pits in the evenings and staring at starry September skies seems just a little bit more perfect with the slight brisk evenings that the hint of fall brings.
And, of course, there’s always a few events to remind you that while the little ones might be back in school, playtime can be year-round. The Wild West Air Fest for families kicks off fall with Labor Day fanfare in early September and OktoberWest is the annual mid-September celebration of craft beer, concerts and cruiser bikes.
September is the perfect time to drive up Buffalo Pass and enjoy some spectacular fall-colored scenery, the higher elevations up there sometimes give their leaves a head start on changing colors if it’s still a bit green around town. Driving up to Clark and Hahn’s Peak also can provide early foliage viewing. And while your fall self might not be craving a dip in the Yampa River as much as it wants to in July, the Strawberry Park Hot Springs are absolutely ideal for September soaks.
September in Steamboat is for slowing down, strolling along the river, enjoying art galleries and impromptu music on outdoor patios. It’s for savoring those last vestiges of warmth before our verdant valley gets covered in blankets of the powdery white stuff we all know and love. September is Steamboat’s best kept secret and now you’re in on it, too!