Five Best Fall Hikes near Steamboat Springs

Five Best Fall Hikes near Steamboat Springs
By: Lysianne Peacock

Located just 50 miles from Colorado River Rentals Kremmling Outpost is Steamboat Springs. If you plan on visiting this mountain town in the fall, the best way to experience the changing colors of the fall leaves is by exploring the local hikes Steamboat Springs and the surrounding area has to offer. We compiled a list of our five favorite fall hikes near Steamboat Springs that are a great addition to your trip.

1. Fish Creek Falls/Long Lake

  • Route Type: Out and Back
  • Distance: 0.5-12 Miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1600 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy/ Moderate

Standing at 280-feet, Fish Creek Falls is one of the most popular hikes near Steamboat Springs, so hiking this in the fall will be met with less visitors. Hikers have the option to choose to end at the Lower Fall, which is only 0.5 miles round trip, or hike an additional 2.5 miles to the Upper Falls. If you choose to continue, the trail becomes more strenuous as you gain about 1600 feet in elevation through Fish Creek Canyon. An additional 3-4 miles will bring you to Long Lake.

2. Hahns Peak Lookout Tower

  • Route Type: Out and Back
  • Distance: 3.6 Miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1600 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Sitting at 10,800 feet on top of an extinct volcano is Hahns Peak Lookout Tower. Constructed in 1912, this fire lookout tower hike at the top of the summit offers stunning views of Steamboat Lake, Routt National Forest, and Zirkel Wilderness. The hike itself takes you through cool shaded forest and aspen trees that show off their gold leaves in the fall, making this one of the best fall hikes near Steamboat Springs.

*Pro tip: The final ascent is rocky, so make sure to wear supportive hiking boots or shoes. For more information on this hike, visit Outdoor Project.

3. Emerald Mountain Via Blackmere Road

  • Route Type: Out and Back
  • Distance: 3.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: Varies
  • Difficulty: Moderate

The most popular route to hike Emerald Mountain is via Blackmere Road which is a 3.8 mile hike and ends at the Quarry (aka, Gloria Gossard Park). For more scenic views on your way to the top, take the off-shooting trails. Make sure to pay attention to the “Bike Only” signs, as some trails are designated for mountain biking only. This trail offers scenic views of Downtown Steamboat Springs and Howelson Hill. For a map of the whole Emerald Mountain trail network, check out Steamboat Springs’ Emerald Mount Bike Map Guide.

4. Flash of Gold

  • Route Type: Out and Back/One-Way
  • Distance: 11.3 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2000 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate

As the name suggests, the Flash of Gold trail is one of the best hikes to go on if you want to experience the beauty of Colorado in the Fall in its full glory. The Flash of Gold trail is located on Buffalo Pass and is part of an expanding network of trails. For more information about this hike, visit Steamboat Pilot.

5. Mad Creek Trail

  • Route Type: Out and Back/Loop
  • Distance: 3 miles/10 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 440 feet/1840 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

If canyon views, meadows, and aspen groves are on your fall Colorado bucket list, then consider the Mad Creek trail near Steamboat Springs. If you’re looking for a short day hike, you can turn around when you reach a 100-year old barn totaling three miles round-trip. If you are interested in a longer day, continue upstream and turn left on Red Dirt Trail. For more information on this hike, visit

Are you looking for more activities to try during your fall visit to Colorado near Steamboat Springs? Consider trying out one of our trips in Kremmling, CO. We offer scenic float trips on the Upper Colorado River, UTV rentals, guided fly-fishing trips, or guided hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. Book a trip today!