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Hiking With Kids in Mud Season

As April breezes in, so does a unique season in Steamboat Springs, ‘mud season‘. A time when the mountains let go of winter’s chill and awaken to spring, bringing with it a delightful mix of balmy afternoons, cold evenings, sporadic rain showers, and snowfall. It’s a season of contrasts, where thunderstorms can roll through at a moment’s notice, yet the sun also graces visitors with its warming rays.

For vacationers with restless little adventurers, ‘mud season’ might sound daunting. But as the locals will tell you, there are always opportunities for rainy day adventures with kids in Steamboat Springs. Whether your children are itching to explore the mountain, or hunker down for some delicious food, mud season is just as exciting as the winter or summer months. In particular, paved hiking trails become a sanctuary for families during this time, offering stability underfoot as you navigate the mountain’s muddy paths.

Hiking during mud season has its challenges, but it also offers families a unique chance to experience Steamboat Springs in all its transitional glory.

Here at The Astrid, we’re passionate about helping your family to enjoy year-round adventures in Steamboat Springs. That’s why we’ve created this guide to the best-paved trails for families during April and May, ensuring that your hiking adventures are not only memorable but also mud-proof. So, grab those rain jackets, pack a picnic, and make the most of the mountain this mud season.


Apps to Help Find the Perfect Hiking Trail

A couple hiking, using a tablet to assist them

Before you explore the mountains with your young adventurers, you’ll want to download an app to help you predict the weather conditions on the mountain and plan the best route for your family.

The Steamboat Mobile App, in particular, offers a range of features that will greatly improve your hiking experience this mud season, such as up-to-date information on lift and trail status, weather, snow conditions, and grooming reports. This ensures that visitors are always informed about the best trails to explore and the latest updates on the mountain. Live webcams allow users to view current conditions on the mountain, helping them make informed decisions about when and where to venture outdoors.

Another useful app to use in Steamboat Springs is the AllTrails app. This app is perfect to use during the summer and fall, for hiking, biking, and running adventures.

AllTrails features hand-curated maps, reviews, and photographs from 62 picturesque trails around Steamboat Springs, to help you find the perfect trail for your next escapade. Crucially, the app details unique features, difficulty level, and accessible trails so that everyone, no matter their ability, can enjoy the mountains to the fullest.


Fish Creek Falls Overlook Trail

Informational signs at Fish Creek Falls

This 1.1-km paved pathway, a leisurely 13-minute amble on average, offers a delightful blend of accessibility and breathtaking scenery. You and your kids explore this gentle route, you’ll be treated to stunning overlooks that showcase nature’s grandeur. Educational panels dot the trail, adding an extra educational layer to your adventure.

What makes this trail truly special is its year-round accessibility. While mud season might deter some, the Fish Creek Falls Overlook Trail remains open during April and May for a muddy, but not slushy, adventure.

Ease of access is a really exciting feature of this trail, as it offers two designated accessible parking spots, van accessibility, and a concrete surface perfect for wheelchairs, mobility equipment, or strollers. Benches along the way offer a chance to rest and take in the surroundings, while convenient trailside bathrooms will cater to your family’s practical needs.

In this transitional season, where rain, snow, and sunshine mingle, this trail becomes a hiker’s haven. It’s a place where the laughter of children is backdropped with awe-inspiring mountain views. Whether for a quick family outing or a day of exploration, the Fish Creek Falls Overlook Trail promises an unforgettable experience amidst the changing beauty of Steamboat Springs.


Yampa River Core Trail: Rotary Park North to Trail End

The rushing water of the Yampa River

Families seeking a memorable mud season adventure need look no further than the Yampa River Core Trail: Rotary Park North to Trail End. Spanning 7.5 miles of paved, multi-use bliss through Steamboat Springs, this trail offers a picturesque journey along the Yampa River.

As the heartstring of Steamboat, the Core Trail weaves the town together, inviting all ages to revel in the outdoors. To locals, this is more than a simple path. It’s a passage through the town’s very being, connecting iconic parks and scenic locations for your family to explore.

One such gem along the trail is the Yampa River Botanic Park, a six-acre sanctuary of 40 gardens, ponds, and sculptures. Stroll through winding pathways, surrounded by vibrant flowers and native trees, immersing yourself in a tranquil, meditative escape.

Continuing the journey, wooden bridges carry you over the serene Yampa River, offering glimpses of anglers casting their lines. The path leads on to even more attractions, such as the Rodeo Grounds, Howelsen Ice Arena, and the Bud Werner Memorial Library.

If accessibility is important for your family, this trail ranges from six to 14 feet wide, and is mostly concrete with some wooden bridges. Handrails and edge barriers ensure safety, although there are two moderately steep downhill sections that may require assistance. Designated parking spots with access aisles are available at key points along the trail, ensuring ease for wheelchair, mobility equipment, or stroller users.


Yampa Core Trail: Rotary Park South to Trail End

Kayakers on the Yampa River

During the quiet of mud season, the Yampa Core Trail: Rotary Park South to Trail End offers an idyllic 2.8-mile out-and-back adventure for families. Following the tranquil flow of the Yampa River, your family can explore a peaceful and flat path that is perfect for young hikers and strollers alike. Your four-legged companion is also welcome to join in the exploration, if kept safely on a leash.

As you meander along this picturesque trail, you and your kids will experience a real sense of connection with nature as wildflowers bloom and mooses bathe in the river.

Designated accessible parking is available at the small paved lot off Mount Werner Road. This van-accessible spot ensures a convenient starting point for all adventurers. The trail surface, primarily paved concrete or smooth asphalt with railings at bridges, provides a stable and comfortable path. At a minimum of 6 feet wide with wider passing spaces, it’s perfect for wheelchairs, mobility equipment, and strollers.

Along the way, your family can pause, rest, and enjoy a tasty treat thanks to the benches and picnic tables dotted along the path. With a gentle grade throughout (3% or less), this trail is navigable for most, promising a delightful outing for all ages.


Year-Round Hiking in Steamboat Springs

Here in Steamboat the locals have a saying, “Come for the winters, stay for the summers.” At The Astrid, we believe the allure of Steamboat Springs goes one step further. Come for the winters, stay for the summers, then return again and again for exhilarating adventures in every season.

As ski season ends in mid-April, your family can make the most of Steamboat’s quiet mud season by putting on your sturdiest boots and heading for the paved hiking trails. Once you’ve explored every trail, Steamboat Springs is bustling with even more exciting outdoor adventures to enjoy (no matter the weather!)

Here at The Astrid, we’re passionate about helping your family to embrace the outdoor wonders this town has to offer, so that you can create precious memories season after season. We’re creating an idyllic retreat where guests like you can enjoy exceptional service, abundant opportunities for adventure, and the extraordinary beauty of the Rocky Mountains in every season. Repeat vacations to Steamboat Springs will be a hassle-free experience, thanks to your very own home-away-from-home situated at the foot of Mount Werner.

We’re breaking ground on this pioneering new project in Summer 2024, and we invite you to join us in this exciting journey. 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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