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The Most Exhilarating Sport in Steamboat Springs

The summer season in Steamboat Springs is renowned for its picturesque landscapes, vibrant wildlife, and abundance of luxurious outdoor activities. Popular pastimes include watersports, mountain biking, and hiking. But we know you’re looking for something a little more daring…

Satisfy your desire for an adrenaline rush with Steamboat Springs’ most exhilarating outdoor sport – off-roading. Off-roading is typically an adults-only outdoor activity, due to the challenging nature of the sport.

During the summer months, Steamboat’s backcountry areas transform into an off-roading paradise. This hidden gem offers a perfect blend of rugged terrain and breathtaking scenery, making it an ideal destination for both seasoned off-roaders and experienced ATV and UTV drivers seeking their next big adventure.

For thrill seekers like you, the appeal of Steamboat Springs lies in its diverse off-roading trails that cater to all skill levels. From the challenging routes of Buffalo Pass to the scenic vistas of Rabbit Ears Pass, each trail promises a unique experience that combines the excitement of navigating rough terrains with the serenity of untouched nature. 

Off-roading in this mountain town is an exhilarating journey through some of the most stunning landscapes this side of the Rocky Mountains. Whether you’re navigating rocky paths or splashing through mountain streams, off-roading in Steamboat Springs is a bucket-list adventure that guarantees unforgettable memories and a deep connection with the great outdoors.

Here at The Astrid, we’re passionate about making sure your next vacation to Steamboat Springs is the most spectacular one yet! We’ve created this guide to off-roading in the ‘Boat so that you can drive full throttle into your next off-roading expedition.


ATV and UTV Vehicles

The headlights of an ATV

The first thing you’ll need before setting out on your next off-roading adventure, is an ATV or a UTV vehicle. Steamboat Springs has very reputable rental vehicles available, but how do you know which one you need?

Here are the key differences between these two types of off-roading vehicles:


Design and Seating Arrangement:

ATVs: Typically designed for one rider, ATVs feature a straddle-style seat and handlebars for steering.

UTVs: UTVs usually have side-by-side seating for two or more passengers, similar to a small car or buggy. They often have a steering wheel and foot pedals like a traditional vehicle.



ATVs: Primarily used for recreational riding, racing, and maneuvering through tight trails and rough terrain.

UTVs: Designed for both recreational and utility purposes, UTVs are commonly used for tasks like farming, landscaping, hunting, and trail riding with passengers or cargo.


Stability and Safety:

ATVs: Can be more prone to tipping over due to their narrow stance and higher center of gravity.

UTVs: Typically offer more stability due to their wider wheelbase and lower center of gravity, making them safer for carrying passengers and hauling heavy loads.


Size and Power:

ATVs: Generally smaller and lighter than UTVs, with engine sizes ranging from 50cc for youth models to over 1000cc for high-performance adult models.

UTVs: Larger and more robust, UTVs often feature higher horsepower engines and are capable of towing heavier loads.


Terrain Accessibility:

ATVs: Excel in navigating narrow trails, dense forests, and rugged terrain where maneuverability is crucial.

UTVs: Better suited for open terrain and tasks requiring carrying passengers or hauling equipment over longer distances.

Making a choice between an ATV and a UTV depends on factors such as your intended use, terrain, number of passengers, and personal preference. 


Off-Roading Vehicle Hire in Steamboat Springs

An ATV overlooking a mountain

Once you’ve made your choice between ATV or UTV vehicles, we recommend contacting Colorado Sled Rentals (CSR)

CSR is your go-to provider of Polaris RZR rental vehicles. Renting a Polaris RZR is the perfect choice for a self-guided exploration of Steamboat’s vast backcountry. CSR will provide you with everything you need for a fun and safe trip, including helmets, a full tank of gas, and a comprehensive safety briefing video.


Steamboat’s Best Self-Guided Off-Roading Trails

An ATV driver jumping through the air

There are a vast array of off-roading trails available in and near Steamboat Springs, perfect for an exhilarating self-guided day out.

  • Buffalo Pass, located just outside Steamboat Springs, offers a leisurely 7.6-mile ride with opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and camping. Accessible to unlicensed vehicles, this off-roading trail is shared with bikers, hikers, and horseback riders. Opening from July to December, it was historically vital for travel between Steamboat Springs and Walden.
  • Base Camp (311) near Dumont Lake offers a scenic 4.2-mile trail showcasing views of Rabbit Ears Peak and Lake Dumont. This remarkable trail features easy terrain with some rocky sections. The trail includes dispersed camping sites and intersects with the Continental Divide Trail.
  • Lynx Pass (NFSR 270) spans 12.2 miles with an elevation ranging from 7,200 to 8,720 feet. Offering scenic views and diverse ecosystems, it winds through lodgepole pine, aspen, and subalpine fir forests, alongside grasslands and wetlands. Accessible year-round, it leads to Lynx Pass Campground, featuring amenities like water, restrooms, and campsites.
  • Williams Peak Road offers an 11.6-mile trail with an elevation of 3,421.99 feet, providing stunning views of the valley and reservoir below. Ideal for ATVs and dirt bikes, it features dispersed camping areas in forested sections with a mix of rocky and smooth terrain.


Guided Off-Roading Tours in Steamboat Springs

Three ATVs next to a campfire

If a self-guided tour doesn’t appeal to you, Steamboat Springs is home to a number of fantastic off-roading guided tour providers.

  • Lucky 8 Ranch offers an unforgettable ATV tour experience amidst the picturesque landscapes of Routt County, Colorado. Situated just a short drive from Steamboat Springs, this family-run bison ranch spans 3,000 acres of rolling hills and panoramic views. Visitors can embark on guided ATV tours aboard Polaris Rangers, exploring the ranch’s rugged terrain and encountering a herd of over 400 American bison. The tour allows you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Rockies, traversing hay meadows and aspen groves while enjoying stunning panoramic vistas.
  • Steamboat Lake Outpost offers exhilarating UTV tours through the captivating landscapes north of Steamboat Springs. You can choose from two or three hour adventures aboard top-of-the-line Polaris RZR 4-seater machines, designed for comfort and excitement. Experienced guides lead the way, navigating rugged terrain and sharing insights into the local area. Riders explore Routt National Forest in Hahn’s Peak, experiencing Northern Colorado’s diverse terrain, including rocky double tracks, dirt roads, and stunning vistas.
  • Del’s Triangle 3 Ranch invites groups to embark on a guided UTV tour through the pristine wilderness of Routt National Forest. Each fully enclosed buggy accommodates up to four passengers, with one member of the group serving as the driver (minimum age of 18 with a valid driver’s license). Children as young as 4 years old are welcome, with car seats recommended but not provided. While helmets are optional, they are available upon request.


Your Next Adrenaline-Fuelled Vacation in Steamboat Springs

After reading all about exhilarating off-roading opportunities in the ‘Boat, there’s no doubt that you’ll soon be opening a new tab and Googling ‘flights to Steamboat Springs, CO.’

Before you go, we invite you to join our community of like-minded adventurers, to keep you up-to-date with Steamboat’s newest outdoor experiences. Why? Because there’s something mysterious about Steamboat Springs where visitors just keep coming back… And we want to help make your next trip as unforgettable as possible.

To join our community, simply provide us with your name and email address. By doing so, you’ll be invited to join our exclusive mailing list. As part of this list you’ll gain access to insider information, behind-the-scenes content, and a highly personalized email experience reserved only for members of The Astrid community.

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