Trail crew digs in at Steamboat’s Old Town Hot Springs |

Trail crew digs in at Steamboat’s Old Town Hot Springs

— On Wednesday, Gizmo the Old Town Hot Springs mascot got to try out the facility's newest amenity.

Accompanied by his owner, hot springs Facilities Director Matt Enochs, the Jack Russell terrier found plenty of new spots to sniff and grass in which to roll on the hillside behind the hot springs at 136 Lincoln Ave., where a new hiking trail is being built.

"We have this idea that the 10 acres up on the hill could be better used," said Pat Carney, executive director at the nonprofit health and recreation center. "We just felt like we could make it more usable for people."

The first phase of the trail is expected to be finished by the end of the week and will provide about a 0.4-mile hike with overlooks of downtown.

The hot springs is building the trail with funding from a $4,000 grant it received from the Steamboat Springs branch of Wells Fargo Bank's community support program.

"We've always been a big supporter of Old Town Hot Springs," Wells Fargo's Wade Gebhardt said. "We thought that the fitness trail would be a great addition to the community."

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A crew of seven Rocky Mountain Youth Corps workers were hired at a discounted rate for the week to build the trail, which expands on a nature trail built 20 years ago that had become overgrown.

"As long as the weather holds up, I think we're all set to be finished outright by Friday," Youth Corps crew leader Jake Baechle said.

Carney said that next spring, the plan is to build a deck on the hillside by the trail that could be used for activities such as yoga. Personal trainers could use the space with their clients, as well.

"I envision a yoga plot and fitness trail for running, snowshoeing and hiking," hot springs Fitness Director Simonne Oliver said.

The hillside above the hot springs was thought to be considered a sacred area by the Ute Indians, the early inhabitants of the Yampa Valley. Carney said they are being careful to respect those areas.

The only thing the trail builders have discovered that could be considered vintage is the trash. Old glass bottles were found with the names of Oak Creek and Steamboat Bottling.

Carney said the hot springs owns 10 acres behind the facility that is zoned for outdoor recreation.

The trail starts and ends behind the Heart Springs and is being built within an existing fenced-in area and will be available only to paying guests and members of the facility.

— To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email

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