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Your Guide to the Best Museums in Steamboat Springs

If Steamboat Springs were a person, they’d be the sort whose stories you never got tired of hearing.

They’d chuck a couple of logs on the bonfire and draw your adirondack chair a little closer. They’d tell you stories of burning libraries, Olympic heroes, and trailblazing pioneers. Your jaw would occasionally drop in disbelief, and Steamboat Springs would say, with a twinkle in the eye, “it’s all true my friend, it’s all true”.

But, Steamboat Springs is not your wise ole’ grandma or curious uncle… it’s a real ranching town, with a world-renowned ski resort, rich in Western heritage.

Our favorite way to learn more about this small town’s vibrant history (between ski runs of course) is to visit the array of museums in Steamboat Springs. So, if you’re ready to discover the depths of Steamboat Springs’ vibrant history, here are the best places to start.


1 – Tread of Pioneers Museum

The Tread of Pioneers Museum on a sunny summers day

Have you ever built a time capsule? Filled a box with photographs, your favorite record, a few toys, and buried it at the bottom of the yard? The Tread of Pioneers Museum is like a time capsule from a bygone era, at scale.

Walk through the door of this enchanting 1901 house, that was once home to the Zimmerman family, and you’ll have decades of history right at your fingertips. The Museum’s exhibits walk you through the lives of the area’s indigenous people and their art, the earliest days of the town when settlers put down their roots, to Steamboat’s evolution into the thriving snow sports community we all love to visit today. 

The one thing that makes this Museum stand out the most, is it literally puts history in your hands with its interactive exhibits.

For all slopeside sport enthusiasts, we recommend stopping by the permanent exhibit ‘Ski Town USA: The History of Winter Sports in Steamboat Springs’. This exhibit follows the growth of Steamboat’s ski scene, from essential winter-time transportation to world-renowned training ground for winter Olympians.

Young children are welcome to immerse themselves in Steamboat history too, as the ‘Pioneer Kids Hands-On Discovery Exhibit’ allows children to wear pioneer clothing, and play with historic replica toys from the turn of the 19th century.

The Museum hosts a number of events and launches new exhibits year-round, so there’s always more to discover.


2 – Steamboat Art Museum

Steamboat Art Museum interior gallery

Steamboat Springs is a vibrant place which, whilst never losing its strong Western identity, embraces people who come from far and wide to visit. Steamboat Art Museum is a celebration, and a coming together, of these different parts of Steamboat Springs.

On display, you’ll be charmed by traditional Western art, and captivated by beautiful contemporary works. The Museum houses contributions from local artists and caters to every taste. From the majestic landscapes of John Fawcett, to the dynamic mixed-media pieces of Jill Bergman.

While many galleries only give you the opportunity to look at a distance, Steamboat Art Museum nurtures your creativity and hosts numerous painting and drawing workshops across the year. This gives you a chance to turn your hand to something new. Perhaps, one day, you’ll see something of yours hanging on these hallowed walls.


3 – Yampa Valley Regional Airport

A glass cabinet at Yampa Valley Airport filled with historical arteacts

We already know what you’re thinking – “this is meant to be about museums, not airports!”

You’re right. That’s why we couldn’t keep this historical gem off our list of must-see museums in Steamboat Springs.

Yampa Valley Regional Airport (HDN) is located a short 30 minute drive from Steamboat Springs. This airport subverts normal travel expectations and invites you into an exhibition-style cultural immersion experience right from the start.

Once visitors step off the airplane and walk through the terminal, they’re greeted by a charming gallery of artwork that highlights the wonder of nature in Colorado. Awe-inspiring photos of majestic mountains, golden aspens, and native wildlife adorn the route through the airport.

Continuing through to baggage claim, the Hayden Heritage Center’s display showcases artifacts from the Yampa Valley’s lively Western history and is available for everyone to enjoy. After some festive refreshments at the 3 Wire Bar & Grill, and a snoop around the Tailwinds General Store, visitors can choose from a variety of commercial services to transport them into Steamboat Springs.


4 – Sunshine Olympian Trail


Olympian Erin Simmons Nemec stands with her sign on the sunshine olympian trail

If you’d like a dose of history whilst shredding the slopes, look no further than the Sunshine Olympian Trail. This remarkable ski trail is located on Sunshine Peak, and offers an outdoor museum-like experience for those seeking historical-immersion-on-skis!

Steamboat Springs’ history is deeply intertwined with the winter Olympics, as this bustling ski town has produced more winter Olympians than any other town in the USA. As visitors slalom through the aspen trees, this open air museum is dotted with large signs featuring famous Olympians from Steamboat history. You might even bump into one of the Olympians themselves who have been known to visit their signs…

Your Part in Steamboat’s History

Steamboat Springs is a wellspring of Western tradition and heritage, bursting at the seams with monuments and museums dedicated to preserving history. This authentic ranching town has flourished into a hugely desirable vacation destination for those who want to immerse themselves in American history – all whilst zooming down a ski slope.

Here at The Astrid we make it possible for people like you to play their part in Steamboat history, by laying down roots and creating a long-lasting legacy for your family. We’re determined to contribute towards the ever-advancing story of Steamboat Springs, where slopeside adventures and authentic Western hospitality meld together to create the ultimate luxury escape.

There’s more opportunities to immerse yourself in Steamboat’s history and legacy as part of the Astrid community. To join, 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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