Let's start with the name of the town, which was based on an auditory misapprehension. Trappers in the area (early 1800s) heard what they thought was a steamboat coming down the Yampa River -- the sound was, in fact, one of the many natural mineral hot springs in the area. Hence the name: Steamboat Springs. The Yampa Valley, where Steamboat is nestled, was originally inhabited by Ute Indians.