James Crawford is the father of Steamboat Springs, Colorado having settled in a cabin on Soda Creek in 1874. Instead of becoming "Crawfordville," legend has it the town was named for the rhythmic chugging of a hot spring that disgorged mineral water 15 feet into the air. The medicinal springs brought the first settlers to the valley and later the town became an international ski jumping mecca with the arrival of Norwegian champion Carl Howelsen in 1913. Today outdoor enthusiasts and dog lovers don't wait for the snow to fall to make their way to Steamboat Springs.
In town, the Yampa River Trail system links Steamboat Springs with the surrounding mountain area. The trails provide easy dog walking along the Yampa River and through city parks. More than 150 hot springs gurgle around Steam- boat Springs. Following the Hot Springs Walking Tour takes your dog to seven historic springs, including Heart Springs. The origin and history of each spring is detailed on interpretive signs. Look for the descriptive brochure in the Chamber Info Center (1255 South Lincoln/Highway 40).
To get out of town head for the Spring Creek Trail, an 8-mile round-trip that begins at the corner of Amethyst Drive and East Spring Street. The route is an easy canine hike on a well-graded trail that meanders up to the Spring Creek Reservoir and Dry Lake Campground.
Just north of town is Fish Creek Falls, a 283-foot plunging waterfall that is the town's leading visitor attraction. Canine hikers will know it as the starting point for the Fish Creek National Recreation Trail. Long wooded inclines at the beginning of the trail give way to a steep, rocky climb before leveling off in alpine meadows on the 5-mile journey to Long Lake. Continuing past Long Lake, you shortly reach the Continental Divide. The elevation gain on this out-and-back trail, Forest Service Trail #1102, rises from 7400 to more than 10,000 feet and and patches of snow in shady spots will delight your dog even in summer.
Steamboat Springs is located northwest of Denver, on US 40.
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