One of my favorite hikes in Steamboat Springs is to Thunderhead Peak. At the top of this peak is the Gondola building for the ski area. This can make your descent a lot less burdensome when the gondola is running. I would recommend a stop at one of their fine establishment’s while there like the Oasis Sundeck on atop the building. Nothing like restocking those carbs after a long hike with an ice cold beer. The views from this great location are absolutely spectacular, food is great and the seating area is quite comfortable.
Now for any hike you want to pack properly. Make sure to have looked up the latest weather report. The best part of the linked NOAA web page is you can center on a topographical map to see the weather in a specific area. It is not uncommon to have different weather on different sides of town in Steamboat Springs. Much less at elevation as you climb to the top of this peak. Be prepared and ready to take on the elements. Also as my mom always said “better to have and not want then want and not have.” Food, water, sunscreen, proper clothing and footwear can make the difference between and incredible hike or a miserable one.
Now to the hike. One of the other accomplishments on this hike is you will also bag Christie Peak along the way. The Thunderhead trail is moderately difficult. It is 3.81 miles and 2,180 feet in vertical gain. Though the majority of the hike is switch backing through Aspen Groves there are several sections where you will be out and exposed to the Colorado sunshine. Do not take this hike as just a good stretch of the legs. This will be 2-3 hours of a decent work out. The payout is amazing. You will be hiking through the national forest with many great views along the way.
Also wildlife from marmots, the elusive pine martens to bear and moose may be seen. DO NOT BE FOOLISH around the wild life. You are not visiting a petting zoo and they are not domesticated. Keep your distance and be attentive. Bad decisions around wild animals can have a variety of negative consequences. So make your encounter magical by being respectful and you will be so surprised how they will show the same respect to you.
The reason why this is my favorite hike in Steamboat Springs is I reside a short walk from the ski area. So the warm up and warm down pre and post hike can really make for balanced exercise. There are certainly a variety of properties to choose from for a vacation rental stay near or on the ski area. Make your summer time stay with a hike in Steamboat Springs a true adventure with a base camp…….. sans the camp.