Steamboat Springs is well known around the world for our Champagne Powder®, genuine Western hospitality and the fact that Steamboat Springs is home to more winter Olympians than any other town in North America; 86 athletes and counting.
But what else is the Yampa Valley known for? The answer can be seen in every field, hay pasture, and farm in and around Steamboat Springs. Our roots are in agriculture, in every sense of the word. Planting crops and raising cattle has been an important mainstay of this economy for the last century. Steamboat Springs was and still is a Cow Town. It was this way well before we become known as a Ski Town. Did you know? George Baggs first introduced cattle (Texas longhorns) into the area in 1871. Sheep ranchers started introducing their flocks in early 1890, and the notorious range wars ensued during the next five years. Ranching of both cattle and sheep remains a Yampa Valley mainstay.
By 1913, more cattle were shipped from the Steamboat rail yard than any other single point in the U.S. (Down the line, Hayden held a similar record for shipping sheep). In those early days when cattle were shipped onto trains and sent to sale, the cattles’ faces would turn dark black from the train smoke going through tunnels. Black faced cattle would sell for a higher price because the buyers knew they came from the mountains.
Experience our Cow Town yourself by taking part in one of the Cow Town Ranch Tours. There’s one tomorrow and the final session of the season is July 22. Call 970-879-4370 to sign up. I am going to bust out my cowgirl boots tomorrow and will post pictures on the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association facebook page. Check them out—and I’d love to see yours!