Inside Steamboat’s Best Swimming Holes!


Want to cool off? As well as hitting the lap pool at Old Town Hot Springs, when the water’s low (i.e. when the tubing hatch is out) but the river is still open, plunge into the Yampa to take a bite out of the heat. Below are a few favorite spots to get the body temp back to a normal, Chillin’ level.

Hippie Dip Hot Springs

While it can get crowded, this outtake from the Old Town Hot Springs across the street that empties into the Yampa is a favorite spot to take the kids, with a shallow warm-water pool right next to the river and a sandy beach you can wade into the Yampa. Bring a picnic to share on the adjacent grass and pick up more trash than you leave. Location: Rich Weiss Park.


Yampa river C Hole

Named for local kayaking icon Charlie Beavers and a popular surf wave at high water, come low flows this popular bike-to swimming hole is a summertime bonanza, drawing boogie boarders, suntanners, snorkelers (for river bootie), swimmers and more, complete with rocks to cannonball off. Location: Across from Bud Werner Memorial Library.


The first official river feature built by the City (that it actually secured a Recreational InChannel Diversion (RICD) water right for) serves up the best beach in town where you can prop a camp chair, dangle your toes in the water and swim to your heart’s content. Just beware when the local kids come out and tie a rope to the bridge to surf the wave on boogie boards. Location: Elk Park (just downstream from the library).

Fetcher Pond

Head for a pondside, afternoon picnic or BBQ at Fetcher Pond, complete with grills, tables and a pond where you can SUP, swim, fish and more. It even has a changing room so you don’t have to do that awkward change-between-your-car-doors trick. Funtime Idea: Break out your watch and stage timed races around the island. Location: Midtown, past the roundabout at Walgreens.

State Parks

photo credit: Michael Kirsh

Popular nearby lakes for swimming include Steamboat Lake (head north on Hwy. 129 24 miles to Steamboat Lake State Park) and Stagecoach Reservoir (13 miles south via Colorado Highway 131 and Routt County Road 14), each serving up sandy beaches for lounging, a rope-bordered swimming area and, yes, popsicles for the kids. Each lake also offers a variety of watercraft rentals for even more fun in the sun.


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