Steamboat Lake State Park has one of the most scenic locations of all the state parks of Colorado. A beautiful lake, mountains, wildflowers in summer...in fact, a survey was done by Colorado State Park rangers which showed that Steamboat Lake was their favorite place to vacation.
So, without further ado, here are the directions to this park: from Steamboat Springs, go west on U.S. 40 for about two miles. Then turn north, (right), on County Road 129 and go about 26 miles to the park entrance which will be on your left, near Hahns Peak Village.
As you enter the park, I suggest stopping in at the visitor center which you'll see on your right. It has lots of information including a free map of the park, books about the area, and a small nature museum which also includes some history of the place.
Wildlife that you might see here includes: Sandhill cranes, waterfowl, chipmunks, fox, coyote, deer, elk, and even black bears and mountain lions on rare occasions. We saw a deer with a half grown baby near the Tombstone nature trail, and considered ourselves lucky.
Hiking is limited at this park but one of the trails that does exist, has been listed in national publications as one of the best short trails in Colorado. Also, in case you were wondering, leashed dogs are welcome here, so do bring them with you.
Anyway, if you're ready, here's the trail that has been called one of the best short trails in Colorado:
Tombstone Nature trail
Distance: 1.1 mile loop trail
Difficulty level: easy to moderate
Approximate round-trip hiking time: 45 minutes;
Dog friendly: yes
Entrance fee: yes: $7.00-$9.00 daily pass or $70.00 annual pass.
Restroom facilities: yes, at the park visitor center.
This trail goes up and down, mainly through a forest but occasionally opens up to meadows or views of Steamboat Lake and Hahns Peak. There are a couple of spots along the trail where benches have been placed so you can sit and enjoy the scenery. If you want to, you can also go visit the tombstone which is at the end of a side trail off of the main trail. And last but not least, keep an eye out for deer. We saw a couple of them in a thickly wooded area.
There are a couple of other trails here at Steamboat Lake State Park and I will check them out at some point when I go there.