If you like your Independence Day with a small-town feel and true western flair, downtown Steamboat Springs is the place to be for their annual Cowboy Roundup Days. Unlike a lot of small towns, in Steamboat, you can literally spend all day and never run out of things to do.
For over 100 years, Steamboat has celebrated Independence Day with its’ own red, white and blue hometown parade. Thousands line the streets the morning of the 4th to watch the colorful parade of truck floats, clowns and characters, dogs, horses and even camels walk down Lincoln Ave. TIP: Avoid having to park and walk to the parade by taking the local bus or your hotel shuttle (if it provides one).
Following the parade, everyone heads to the Pioneer Days Block Party for live music, activities for the kids and free admission to the Tread of Pioneers Museum. But, the biggest draw appears to be the free hot dogs and root beer floats – the lines were nearly as long as the parade route! So, we decided to try out one of Steamboat’s popular local cafes instead.
Breakfast at The Shack turned out to be a good call. The place was hopping, but the counter bar stools change out just as quickly as the food is served. And did I mention they serve breakfast until close? Our kind of place.
If you’re looking for a thrill, you’re sure to find it on Howelsen Hill! Also right downtown, you can ride a ski lift to the top of the hill and then sled down The Howler’s 2,400 feet of track.
While riding up the ski lift, we marveled at the Independence Day Ski Jumping Extravaganza going on right next-door. Ski jumping in July? Yep, take a look!
At just 1,500 feet higher than Denver, it was still a bit warm that day, so we “cooled off” at the Old Town Hot Springs, right smack in the middle of everything. The Hot Springs are open year-round with several hot mineral pools to relax or play in. The pool area is beautifully Xeriscaped and has something for everyone. In addition to an adorable kiddie pool/spray ground with plenty to keep busy, little climbers like Reagan occupied, there is also a rock-climbing wall for the bigger kids and two waterslides. We practically had to drag Reagan out of the place to get ready for the rest of the evening’s festivities!
Back on Howelsen Hill, Steamboat Springs 109th Annual Cowboys Round Up Days was gearing up. A Pro Rodeo and BBQ Dinner all in one? The night was full of promise. And, dark, ominous clouds. It may not have rained on our parade, but sadly, it did rain on our rodeo.
Many brave rodeo fans stuck it out under their umbrellas, but it was a bit too cold and wet for us. We were still in shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops from the parade that morning after having showered and dressed again at Old Town Hot Springs. So, after a full day of activities ending with a few angry bulls, bucking broncos and rodeo clowns, we decided it was finally time to head back to our warm, dry, cozy room and soft beds at the Steamboat Grand.
We heard the next day that the rodeo went on. And, the free concert following the rodeo – put together in lieu of Steamboat’s awesome fireworks show because of the fire danger this summer – was the bomb. The City of Steamboat aims to please, and brought in “1964” the Tribute, a renowned Beatles tribute band that will also be playing at Red Rocks this summer.
There are lots of ways to spend your 4th in Steamboat Springs, this is just one of them. No car necessary.
Be sure to check out my rundown of the Best Restaurants in Steamboat Springs too, as recommended by the locals!