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Pick between long and hard and short and easy
When visiting Steamboat Springs, most people looking for hiking opportunities will visit Fish Creek Falls. The road to the falls is right in the center of town. In addition to its closeness to town, what makes this destination so popular is that the falls are just a quarter mile from the trail head. So for those that want to see a waterfall, but don't want to put a lot of effort into getting there, this is a good bet. In addition, while the Fish Creek Falls trail heads down hill to the falls, requiring an uphill return, there is also a picnic area that is about the same elevation as the trailhead that has a nice viewpoint of the falls.
For those that want to get in a little more exercise than just a half mile round trip, the Fish Creek Falls trail does continue past Fish Creek Falls. At the bottom of the downhill you reach a bridge with a great view of waterfall. After crossing the bridge the trail heads uphill past several switchbacks until continuing up the canyon above Fish Creek. The trail is fairly steep and unrelenting for quite a distance. Fortunately, there is plenty of shade throughout the hike as tree cover is fairly thick.
After about a mile and a half the trail finally starts to flatten out a bit. The creek level gradually rises to where you no longer just hear it below you, but you can actually see it. This is a pretty scenic section of the trail. At about the two mile mark the trail crosses a bridge over Fish Creek and then heads up several switchbacks before reaching a rock wall. The trail continues up and around the rock wall. Just past this wall you reach the upper falls. Unfortunately, we didn't make it that far because of an electrical storm. However, photos that I've seen show that the lower falls are more impressive.
If you've feeling energetic after reaching the upper falls, another 2.5 miles up the trail will get you to Long Lake. The hiking book that I have for Steamboat Springs area hikes says that moose sightings in the Long Lake area are not uncommon. Just be aware, that the sign at the trailhead appears to underestimate the distance to Long Lake by about a half mile one way. So it is about an 11 mile round trip to the lake and about a 2,200 foot elevation gain.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
This is a moderately difficult hike.