- Steamboat Springs offers access to multiple backcountry areas of world-class calibre.
- Rabbit Ears Pass and Seedhouse Road are close to town, and have easy access to the trails.
- Cabin rentals make for perfect multi-day trips into the backcountry for some Colorado quiet.
- Avalanche safety is a concern, so make sure to come prepared.
Given the quantity of snow that falls each year, and the number of visitors to the lift-serviced ski areas, it's natural to try to find a lonely powder stash, far away from the crowds and comforts of the resorts.
Fortunately, there are a number of areas around Steamboat Springs, as well as excellent guides and rental services. This is the opportunity to get away from the lifts and rely on your own two feet to motor up the mountain!
Where to go Backcountry Skiing
Rabbit Ears Pass
One of the best places to go backcountry skiing around Steamboat is Rabbit Ears Pass. Popular for snow-goers of all types, there are sections marked as non-motorized both for the safety and enjoyment of the area.
Just southeast of town on Hwy 40, Rabbit Ears Pass provides easy access to a variety of skiing routes.
Seedhouse Road (Hahn's Peak)
Only 25 miles north of Steamboat Springs, this area near the town of Clark boasts incredible snow and a variety of terrain. Trails along Seedhouse Road are fairly well marked and accessible. Many of the routes offer spectacular views of Colorado's high mountain peaks.
The Hahn's Peak Ranger District offers more information, maps and snow conditions.
Friends of the Routt Backcountry
For more information about backcountry skiing near Steamboat Springs, contact the Friends of the Routt Backcountry. They host several events throughout the year and encourage responsible backcountry travel.
A great way to enjoy a multi-day backcountry ski trip is to stay in a hut or a cabin. Rent a cabin near Hahn's Peak or on one of the local ranches.
Cabin rentals are in fact available to rent all through the year, and provide a great base for a backcountry getaway in the quiet and calm of the Steamboat backcountry.
Rentals & Fees
The town of Steamboat Springs has a number of equipment shops that will be happy to rent skis, skins, and other gear necessary to have a successful ski adventure in the quiet backcountry.
Hire a Guide
The backcountry is a big place, which makes it easy to get lost, and even harder to find that “secret stash” of powder that some local told you about. A guide will take care of logistics, taking clients through some of the best powder of the area.
In addition, their knowledge and experience with avalanches is not to be discounted, providing a safety net for the entire group.
When traveling in the Colorado backcountry, it's important to be familiar with snow and avalanche safety. Depending on weather and terrain, hazards like avalanches, hypothermia, and severe weather can quickly turn a pleasant day of skiing into a dangerous situation.
Try to follow some common backcountry rules: bring food, water, a first aid kit and warmth; have the proper avalanche safety gear like a shovel, probe, and beacon; know your surroundings and where you're going; and always tell others about your backcountry plans.