Last summer, before the chill of fall set in and the aspens turned gold and shivered in the wind, RAS and I headed up to Steamboat Springs.
Now, this almost sounds like one of those romantic getaways that I’ll write about every now and then and did with more frequency when I was a “romance travel examiner.” Luckily I don’t do that anymore, but I occasionally like to focus on that travel niche. But I truly can’t do that when my in-laws (RAS’s parents T and G) come along.
(Just so you know upfront, I love them dearly and like traveling with them on occasion)
Slowing things down in Steamboat
Our normally active slate of activities gets turned down about five notches when we travel with them. That’s perfectly fine, because I like being a little more low-key. Or, if we are doing something more physically rigorous, we must plan accordingly.
For instance, we headed up to Fish Creek Falls, a Forest Service area above the town. It isn’t exactly hidden or off-the-beaten road – it’s TripAdvisor’s number one thing to do in Steamboat, for goodness sake. But RAS and I had never heard of it, and we thought that T and G would like the scenic waterfall views.
There are two main trails in the canyon, the Upper and the Lower Fish Creek, as well as half-mile trail above the waterfall.
Here’s where RAS and I goofed.
Look before you hike
Look at any listing or guidebook of this place, and even ask the ranger at the entrance gate as we did, and you’ll learn that the path to the waterfall is suitable for everyone.
Well, not really.
The Lower Fish Creek Falls trail gradually slopes downhill, which was problematic for my mother-in-law, T, who has knee joint mobility issues. She shuffled down to the creek and bridge that afforded the breathtaking view of the waterfall, with the assistance of RAS. My father-in-law, G, had no problems at all.
But ascending that same pathway proved to be tough for her. She had to walk up with both RAS and me, holding on to our arms. People asked if she was alright and if she was going to make it. Each time she politely said yes, but the time spent going up was at least double of our descent.
So here is my word of warning: Carefully consider taking anyone who has physical challenges down this path. Later, T said “Oh, it was worth it.” But I know she was trying to put on a brave face for all of us. Instead, follow the accessible paved path that goes above the falls.
Still a worthwhile Steamboat activity
Even with this little hiccup, Fish Creek is worth the little jaunt you need to drive there as well as the crowds you’ll likely encounter.
If you’re nimbler than T, then consider heading to the Upper Fish Creek Falls trail and see where the cascades begin.
Maybe you can see that I did a silly thing and got up close and personal with the creek itself. I did this by slipping around the footbridge (shown above) and scaling some boulders alongside the water. I am surprised that I did not fall in, given how slippery the rocks were, but if I had, I would’ve totally deserved it:
Next…I’l share some other things you can discover at Steamboat.