Colorado Resort Adventure Guide

North Western Region
Hahn's Peak Village and Steamboat Lake, Colorado

by Tom Stockman

Historic Hahn's Peak

The original Hahn's Peak was founded close to the shores of Steamboat Lake in 1865 during Colorado's gold and silver rush days, and was the original County Seat of Routt County. It hosted the first school and Post Office in the county. It is 25 miles north of Steamboat Springs & the Steamboat Springs Ski Resort.

Famed outlaw Butch Cassidy once resided in the jail in Hahn's Peak Village. The original Hahn's Peak jail, called the Bear Cage Jail. The original jail is called the Bear Cage Jail, and the cages--aka jail cells--were used in Steamboat Springs for years after Hahn's Peak was no longer the county seat.

Steamboat has somewhat more modern jail facilities now & the cages reside again in Hahn's Peak, where visitors can check out what jail cells were like in Colorado's early days.

Famed outlaw Butch Cassidy spent a bit of time cooling his heals in the Bear Cage Jail early in his career.

When the glory days were over, Hahn's Peak became a ghost town. The miners and businesses dried up and blew away. The buildings remained. A homesteading ranch took over the entire area, and remained a working ranch into the 1960s.

A Ghost Town Come To Life

The Little Green Schoolhouse houses the Hahn's Peak Historic Society and the Museum. Eventually people returned to Hahn's Peak, some fixing up the old buildings, others putting up modern log cabins & homes...well, some people doing both.

Hahn's Peak Village today offers visitors a stroll through Colorado's colorful past, and offers residents a peaceful & historic residential life.

The locals have opted to preserve the original quiet residential character of the town and shy away from the commercial tourism development typical of many old Colorado mountain towns.

Snowmobiles, ATVs, & dirt bikes are not allowed in town, and the residents of Hahn's Peak Village will voice strong disapproval to any violatons...they are very serious about this.

Several area residents offer vacation home rentals, especially longer-term, and including the Steamboat Lakeview Mountain Cabin.

The Hahn's Peak Historic Society maintains the "Little Green Schoolhouse", a designated National Historic Site, which houses the local museum and many historic displays; this all-volunteer association is dedicated to preserving the heritage & history of the Village. The Schoolhouse and Museum key is available from Rilla Wiggins at "Things & Stuff", a unique mountain gift shop where photos of the area that were taken by Rilla's deceased husband, Al, are available for purchase.

The Historic Society also has a free brochure describing a self-guided walking tour through the Village, as much of the town is still made up of the original buildings from the early days, and many are still used. Residents do ask that visitors not approach the old log cabins, or look through the windows, as these are their homes.

Steamboat Lake and Hahn's Peak Area Recreation

Some Hahn's Peak Village locations offer tremendous views of Steamboat Lake.  Here, Sand Mountain stands in the background. Hahn's Peak Village is next to the Steamboat Lake State Park on, naturally, Steamboat Lake, with tremendous views of the lake.

The state park surrounds the entire lake, offering camping, boating, hiking, fishing and lakeshore day-outings to visitors.

The surrounding Routt National Forest has both developed campgrounds and "dispersed camping", meaning you can drive the dirt roads & pull off when you find a spot you like.

Hahn's Peak is the mountain peak dominating the area despite its relatively modest elevation (for Colorado) of 11,000 and some feet. It's a steep climb at altitude, but the reward of the views from the top is tremendous.

The many old roads used in times past by gold and silver mining interests offer many hiking and mountain biking options, and there are three popular mountain biking loop trails in the area, of course the many old roads and trails allow bikers to find their own path as well.

  • Mountain Biking Loops
  • Hahn's Peak Lake / Nipple Peak Loop (21 miles, with shorter variations)
  • Crane Park / Elkhorn Mountain Loop (14-1/2 mile, with shorter variations)
          ...with steep, rocky, & challenging sections
  • Circle Bar Basin Loop (6-1/2 miles)

Part of the biking and hiking trail system is also the Elkhorn Stock Driveway and Wyoming Trail, both were used in historic cowboy times by ranchers for cattle and sheep drives.

The whole area around Hahn's Peak and Steamboat Springs offers summer activities like camping, hiking, mountain biking, ATV touring, fishing, scenic and wildlife viewing, horseback riding, and just about any other outdoor activity you can think of when you think of Colorado.

In fall, add hunting, and viewing the colorful aspen trees.

In winter, nearby Steamboat Springs Ski Resort offers some of Colorado's best skiing, and all around Hahn's Peak & Steamboat Lake you'll find snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and a winter wonderland. This region is one of Colorado's more snowy areas.

  • Directions: From Steamboat Springs, 6th and Lincoln (US 40), head northwest on US 40 1.7 miles. Turn right on Elk River Road (county road 129) & go 24.4 miles. Turn right on Main Street (county road 113).
  • Little Green Schoolhouse Museum: 970-879-7291, open summer season, May thru September
            ...cut-and-paste this for more:

Little Green Schoolhouse, Bear Cage Jail photos courtesy Hahn's Peak Historical Society
Steamboat Lake & Sand Mountain photo courtesy Steamboat Lakeview Mountain Cabin



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