11. Steamboat Springs
Steamboat Springs is the second largest of the small cities on this list at 12,000 people. In terms of diversity of experience, Steamboat probably has more to offer visitors and residents than any other. The Yampa River – Colorado’s last large free-flowing river – runs through Steamboat. Steamboat Springs has, dozens of hot springs around the area, the largest of which is right in the middle of town.
Steamboat’s ski area has the large feel of some of Summit County’s ski areas – Keystone, Breckenridge, Snow Mass and the like, – yet the towns isolation from both I-70 and the front range gives it a small resort feel. In addition, the Steamboat Ski Area is always in the top three areas with regard to snow pack each year, just behind Wolf Creek and Monarch. If the Steamboat Ski Resort does not meet a visitor’s needs, there is another smaller ski area on the opposite side of town calledHowelsen Hill Ski Area.
For those that like lake recreation, Steamboat Lake provides the opportunity to sail, water and jet ski, fish and lay around on the beach. The hiking, mountain and road biking immediately around town is also well worth giving a chance.
However, it is the climate that lands Steamboat Springs second on the list of top 12 towns/small cities in Colorado. With a climate similar to that of Hotchkiss, the winters are snowy, but the temperature generally does not dip so low that it can not be easily dealt with. The summers get a fair amount of precipitation which means that Steamboat is always lush and green and that the heat is never an over-whelming factor.
Steamboat has a beautiful downtown that is well kept and plenty of entertainment opportunities. All-in-all, there is simply very little that any small city in Colorado can offer that Steamboat does not have.