Most people don’t need a reason to get out, breathe among the trees, and walk or bike a few miles. But for those who do, Colorado Mountain College Steamboat Springs student Carsen Coleman has created a whole new incentive and motivation for area hikers with the Steamboat Springs 6’er Challenge.
The challenge consists of six hikes within 30 miles of Steamboat Springs. Upon completion, people can submit an entry form to become an official SS 6’er member and earn a sticker and roster number.
Coleman, 19, grew up in Lake Placid, New York, in the heart of the Adirondacks, where there are many hiking challenges. There’s the Saranac 6’er and the 46’er challenge all in upstate New York.
“When I was a kid, my dad dragged me on hikes and I was never in it,” Coleman said. “When he showed me one of the challenges of the hike, the Lake Placid 9’er, it definitely motivated me to get that sticker and certificate. Since then, I fell in love with hiking. I hope some local kids will do the same.
Coleman came to Steamboat to work for Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. as a ski lift operator after graduating from high school amid the pandemic. He now attends the CMC, where he majors in nursing.
When Coleman moved to the Yampa Valley, he noticed and was surprised to learn that Steamboat had no such challenge. Inspired by the names of hiking challenges in the east, Coleman came up with the Steamboat Springs 6er and created an Instagram and website at SteamboatSprings6er.com.
The challenge includes Creekside, Uranium Mine Trail, Blackmer on Emerald Mountain, Rabbit Ears Peak, Hahns Peak, and Thunderhead Trail.
“I wanted something for tourists and locals,” he said. “There are six of them, so they can be finished in a fairly short time. I just wanted people to get out and see the great views that Routt County has to offer.
The challenge is extremely accessible as all trails are close to Steamboat and easily accessible by car, if not by bus, bike or on foot. Routes range from 2.3 to 6.6 miles round trip.
Coleman chose trails that were already fairly well known and on most people’s radar, so as not to bring extra feet to more hidden gems.
“I thought about adding some more underrated hikes that not many people know about,” he said. “But I was a little worried about the backlash. Not to mention that the six I picked are just classics in the Steamboat area.
Any hike prior to May 25, 2022 or the birth of the challenge does not count. When a person completes all six, they must complete the registration form available at SteamboatSprings6er.com and mail it with the $10 registration fee.
Fees are for making certificates and stickers. The remaining money will be donated to Friends of the Yampa.
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.