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Steamboat Springs is surrounded—literally—by opportunities for outdoor adventure, from hiking to biking to boating. But where to go to reward your body’s efforts? We drove in all directions to find you these gems so you can swear off processed gas-station snacks forever.
Carelli’s Pizzeria & Pasta
465 Yampa Ave., Craig, 970-824-6868
The stromboli at this locals’ haunt in Craig taste like they’re right out of Boston’s North End. Luckily, you only have to travel to northwestern Colorado to try them. Make a pit stop on your way home from Dinosaur National Monument to check out Carelli’s old Bakers Pride deck oven, which cranks out New York–style slices, or the killer Philly-style sandwiches on house-made hoagie rolls. There are always two IPAs among the six rotating taps, and the golf memorabilia on the walls comes courtesy of co-owner Brett Etzler, a former club professional.
Oak Tree Inn, 98 Moffat Ave., Yampa, 970-638-1000
This gleaming chrome and vinyl soda fountain (connected to the Oak Tree Inn) in Yampa serves calorie-laden sweets that go down guilt-free if you’ve spent a few hours exploring the nearby Flat Tops Wilderness. Penny’s massive milkshakes never fit into the glass—you always get a second helping in the mixer’s shiny silver malt cup—and the root beer floats seem bigger than some office water coolers. Don’t overlook the pastries, either: If it’s available, try the light-as-air banana cream pie crowned with real whipped cream.
Big Shooter Coffee
311 Park Ave., Kremmling, 970-724-3735
After hiking among the wildflowers that blanket iconic Rabbit Ears Pass, stop into this cheery Kremmling coffeehouse for a proper latte—or the Electric Fence, an espresso-spiked milkshake made with your choice of 16 ice cream flavors—to perk you up for your drive back to Denver. Pair it with a served-all-day breakfast burrito, smothered in pork green chile, of course. Whimsical murals and sculptures (look for the antique snowmobile on the roof) offer plenty of eye candy to savor while you wait for your order.
Hahn’s Peak Café
61070 Route County Road 129, Clark, 970-871-1495
Once you’ve docked your boat at Steamboat Lake State Park, get your land legs back at this Clark bar and eatery, where Katie Bessey bakes desserts from scratch. Don’t miss the Grand Marnier chocolate cake and strawberry-rhubarb pie. On the savory side, even sandwiches like the Sinnoff Grilled Cheese with caramelized onions, cheddar, guacamole, and bacon (among other things) are crafted with house-made bread. Other favorites include fish tacos, nachos, and gooey Philly cheesesteak burritos—all preferably enjoyed on the deck while soaking in views of Sand Mountain.