Ever since I was little boy, a Sunday morning stroll has been a staple in my house. Whether it's a leisure drive out to the beach or a walk in the woods, spending time with my family has always been most important. In Steamboat, our favorite family outing is the Yampa River Core Trail. This 7.5 mile paved bike path not only connects one end of the city to the other, but also ties our community together.
On any given day I can stroll down the path and run into several people that I know. Whether I'm out for a morning run, a dog walk or a simple cruise with my family, I am always amazed at the amount of friendly people I run into along the trail.
Sunday mornings are always my favorite time to be cruising along the path. With my family at my side, we love to ride from one end of town to the other with no ultimate goal in my mind. Our itinerary changes weekly. We might make a quick stop at Little Toots Park for a swing and a slide, then off to the BMX track for a race around the course. We’ll sometimes stop at the river to skip stones and cool our toes, before heading off to our favorite spot, the free-to-all Yampa River Botanic Gardens, where we could spend hours lounging in the green grass, admiring the beautiful landscape and the fragrant smells of the local flora. Each week, the journey is different. Sometimes we hit the path and head south towards the mountain, the next week we might go north and set our sights on the Bear River Skate and Bike Park. This favorite family tradition is never without a great adventure.
The amount of activities and points of interest along the Yampa River Core Trail are endless. There are several parks and playgrounds that are all connected by this path and it’s common to see the same family at several locations along the way. The Howelsen Hill complex is also easily accessible from the Core Trail.
This area features the popular Alpine Slide, a beach volleyball area and tennis courts. There are also several baseball diamonds, a skate park and a BMX track, all open to the public. Howelsen Hill is also home to the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena, where the twice-weekly Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo roars to life during the summer. It's not uncommon to spend the entire day here, riding the local trails on our mountain bikes or simply throwing the Frisbee or baseball around. The day is never complete without a quick ride down the slide and finishing the evening off with a root beer float and watching some bucking broncos at the rodeo.
Located on the west end of town right on the Core Trail is the Bud Werner Memorial Library. Originally opened in 1967, this facility received a major facelift and expansion in 2009. Now completed, the new library is one of the most popular stops along the trail. There are also several playgrounds in the vicinity. Little Toots Park is fun for the youngsters and West Lincoln Park is a great spot to relax and enjoy the rushing sound of the river. On a warm summer day, this is also a great spot to take a dip in the river and watch the tubers float on by.
As the sun goes down and the evening activities begin we often opt for our two-wheeled friends instead of our car. It is easy to hop on the trail from just about anywhere in town. Whether you’re by the mountain or in the heart of downtown, you can get just about anywhere with a short commute on the path - and it’s often times quicker than driving. Like blood flowing to the heart, the Yampa Core Trail is the main artery to our community. It connects all essential organs that make Steamboat Springs a whole.