When white gives way to green, Steamboat's ranching heritage reclaims the Yampa Valley. In late June, the ProRodeo rolls into town, and cowboy hats and spurs replace helmets and skis. While Steamboat has built its reputation on those ranching roots, summer delivers much more.
Get acclimated to the altitude with a round of golf at the Robert Trent Jones Jr. championship course (970-879-2220). Then refuel with a patio lunch at CafÈ Diva in Ski Times Square before catching a ride on the gondola with your bike to make laps on singletrack like Pete's Wicked Trail. When you're too hot to pedal any longer, cool off with a mellow afternoon float down the Yampa River.
Prefer a slower-paced vacation? Admire the summer wildflowers while hiking the trails along Rabbit Ears Pass, or cast for trout in the Yampa or at one of the many local lakes. Enjoy a midmountain brunch and gorgeous views at Hazie's Restaurant (shuttle courtesy of the gondola). Spend the evening relaxing at the Strings in the Mountains Festival of Music (June-August), a world-class chamber music series.
Although it's best known by skiers as SkiTown USA, Steamboat Springs is equally equipped for celebrating the warmest months of the year.
•DON'T MISS Enjoy a wagon ride to a candlelit dinner in a teepee at the Elk River Guest Ranch. 970-879-6220; steamboat.com
•BEST DEAL Three nights' lodging, admission to the Hot Mineral Springs Pool downtown, a gondola ride up Mt. Werner, admission to the ProRodeo and one day at Steamboat Kids Adventure Club (June 20-Aug. 22) starts at $153 per adult, $62 per child (age 6-12) and $55 per child (age 3-6). 800-922-2722; steamboat.com