3 History Hikes to Take in Glenwood Springs

Take a history hike in Glenwood Springs

3 History Hikes to Take in Glenwood Springs

Acquire a dose of history while you spend time outdoors on your vacation to Glenwood Springs. In addition to soaking at Iron Mountain Hot Springs, a hot spring property that dates back to the late 1890s, these hikes also provide a connection with the region’s storied past.

Hiking, history and hot springs in Glenwood SpringsDoc Holliday Trail. The trail to Linwood Cemetery is steep and rocky, but it’s a short one to the pioneer cemetery where John “Doc” Holliday was laid to rest. The gambler-gunslinger came to Glenwood Springs in hopes that the hot springs and dry climate would cure his advanced tuberculosis. Unfortunately, he succumbed to the disease on Nov. 8, 1887. Holliday died a pauper and while his memorial marker has pride of place in the old boneyard, he is actually interred in Potter’s Field, a common grave site for the indigent and poor. Visitors often leave mementos of playing cards and coins at Doc’s memorial marker to honor his memory.

  • Trail Mix: While you’re in Linwood Cemetery, be sure to marvel at the aged headstones and family plots of Glenwood’s earliest settlers. Notorious train robber and outlaw Kid Curry is also buried here. Rather than being captured, he killed himself after being cornered by lawmen during a train robbery.

Storm King Memorial Trail. This trail commemorates one of the most tragic days in Glenwood’s history. On July 6, 1994, 14 brave, young firefighters were trapped on Storm King Mountain as winds shifted unexpectedly. The firefighters deployed their fire shelters as a last resort against the wildland blaze, but all 14 perished. Visitors can trace the path of firefighters on this steep and rugged trail. Along the way, interpretive signage explains the tragic events that led to the disaster. The trail is intentionally primitive so that hikers can understand the treacherous conditions smokejumpers and hotshots faced on that day.

  • Trail Mix: While paying respects to the fallen, be sure to visit the Storm King Memorial at Two Rivers Park which features statues and information about all 14 brave souls.

Cross Trail. One of Glenwood’s most popular hiking trails, the Cross Trail is part of the Red Mountain Trails located in the neighborhood of the same name. The trail ascends from the valley floor to the summit where a giant steel beam cross is located. Though there are plenty of places for a turnaround, if you do the entire loop the route is close to 7 miles long. As you trek, keep an eye out for old ski area remnants. The mountain operated as Glenwood’s first ski area from 1941 to 1952. Notice the old orange lift towers. With more terrain and consistent snow, Sunlight Mountain Resort eventually replaced Red Mountain Ski Area as Glenwood’s hometown hill.

  • Trail Mix: After a brief battle with the ACLU in 1991 about the cross’s location on public lands, a group of citizens purchased the swatch of ground where the cross now stands and maintains the massive symbol of hope for Christians. If you visit during the Christmas or Easter seasons look for the cross to be illuminated after dark. At times, especially on dark nights, the cross seems to be suspended in mid-air.

Nothing pairs better with one of these history hikes than a soak at Iron Mountain Hot Springs. Make your reservations today!

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Karin Gamba

Karin Gamba has been writing professionally for the travel and tourism markets for nearly two decades. She has promoted a wide array of travel products that include destination towns, vacation resorts, golf courses, ski areas, spas, hotels, restaurants and countless visitor attractions. Karin especially loves writing about her hometown of Glenwood Springs.


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