Glenwood Springs is one of the best Colorado vacation destinations. It has been named a Top Adventure Town by Elevation Outdoors Magazine and The Most Fun Town in America by Rand McNally and USA Today to name just two accolades. It’s a refreshingly authentic, friendly mountain town that welcomes visitors to relax and recreate. In addition to soaking at Iron Mountain Hot Springs, consider adding these Glenwood Springs activities to your itinerary:
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
Nestled on top of Iron Mountain overlooking Glenwood Springs, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is a year-round, family-friendly destination. You can enjoy guided tours of Glenwood Caverns and the Historic Fairy Caves, mountain-top dining, extreme thrill rides, kids’ attractions, gondola rides, concerts and live entertainment. The park sparkles during Winter on the Mountain with a dazzling display of a half million lights, a giant musical Christmas tree, lighted thrill rides, fire pits for roasting s’mores and holiday visits from Santa.
Hike Hanging Lake
Another attraction that gets top billing is Hanging Lake. Located in Glenwood Canyon, the trail is a favorite Colorado visitor destination. Unlike other trails in the area, due to its popularity hiking this beauty takes some planning. In order to preserve the pristine natural environment, create a pleasant hiking experience for all and prevent overuse, permits are required to hike to Hanging Lake. A straightforward online reservation system allows you to choose the date and time of your hike. A portion of the $12 per person fee goes to trail maintenance and education.
Skiing, Snowshoeing, and Snowmobiling
Glenwood Springs is surrounded by Colorado’s premier ski destinations. Vail, Aspen, Beaver Creek, Snowmass, Buttermilk and Sunlight are all located within an hour’s drive, and Breckenridge, Winter Park, Powderhorn, Steamboat, Copper Mountain, Keystone, Ski Cooper and SolVista are within two hours.
Sunlight Mountain Resort has one of the longest cruisers in Colorado, over two miles long, as well as the one of the steepest extreme runs, boasting a 52 percent pitch. Nordic skiers and snowshoers will appreciate the 29 kilometers of groomed trails in the Nordic Center. The Snowmobiling Center has some of the best terrain and equipment in the valley.
Glenwood Hot Springs Pool
In the late 1800s, the Hot Springs Pool attracted wealthy international tourists. As the world’s largest hot springs pool, it continues to be a popular attraction. The main pool, larger than a football field, provides ample space to splash, play and swim laps. The smaller and warmer therapy pool features submerged benches and bubble chairs for relaxing.
Nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the 2.3-million-acre White River National Forest is the top recreation forest in the nation. Headquartered in Glenwood Springs, it’is the largest national forest in Colorado and the 12th largest in the nation, with something to offer every outdoor enthusiast.
Rafting & Kayaking
A host of commercial rafting and kayaking companies guide thousands of visitors down the Colorado and Roaring Fork Rivers through rapids with names like Upper Superstition and Tombstone, substantiating Glenwood Springs’ stature as one of the country’s premier whitewater destinations. Calmer waterways, such as South Canyon Rapids, are suitable for families with children as young as six. The city’s whitewater park attracts kayakers from around the globe.
Gold Medal Fishing
The area’s Gold Medal waters on the Roaring Fork River harbor an astonishing number of brookies, browns, cutthroats, and rainbow trout. Local guides can direct anglers to some of the best fly-fishing in the state.
As a geothermal destination, Glenwood Springs is also a place known for its abundance of wellness therapies. Visitors will find treatments from full immersion Watsu water massage to Classic Swedish massage and everything in between. In addition to the town’s many spas, fitness centers feature classes that include yoga, barre, Pilates, spin, HIIT and more.
One of the best ways to get the lay of the land in Glenwood Springs is by bike. Glenwood Springs has mountain biking trails for any ability, from paved paths and country dirt roads, to rugged double- and single-track trails. Choices range from a leisurely ride through Glenwood Canyon on a scenic, 18-mile paved trail that hugs the Colorado River from Glenwood Springs to Dotsero, to the Rio Grande Trail, a multi-use, 44-mile pathway from Glenwood Springs to Aspen. The newly constructed Grandstaff Trail on Red Mountain features rolling downhill terrain with banked curves.
Events and Entertainment
With the annual Strawberry Days Festival, summer farmers’ markets, free concerts including Summer of Music and Music on the Mountain, Ski Spree, Oktoberfest, the annual Holiday Lighting Ceremony at the Hotel Colorado and so much more, there’s always something going on in Glenwood Springs.
Museums and History
The Frontier Historical Society Museum, located in a 1905 house, takes you back in time with artifacts and exhibits on everything from household life, mining, ranching and the Ute Indians to Doc Holliday, Teddy Roosevelt and Buffalo Bill Cody, all of whom spent time in Glenwood Springs. Don’t miss the Doc Holliday Museum, a satellite museum located on the basement level of Bullocks in downtown Glenwood Springs . It is dedicated to all things related to the gambler-gunslinger and the times in which he lived.
Campsites are available in public and private campgrounds located throughout the Roaring Fork Valley, ranging from secluded sites within the White River National Forest suitable for tents and RVs, to a full-service RV park in Glenwood Canyon.
Championship-caliber golf is just a stroke away at any one of eight courses located within a 40-mile radius of downtown Glenwood Springs. Designed by some of the greatest names in golf, including Jack Nicklaus and Jay Morrish, courses boast Scottish-style links, undulating greens, and staggering mountain views.
Flowering meadows, alpine forests, abundant wildlife and beautiful views characterize the hiking experience surrounding Glenwood Springs. Choose a stroll along the Colorado River through Glenwood Canyon, or for a heartier dose of exercise, Hanging Lake, Storm King Memorial Trail, Red Mountain, and Lookout Mountain.
There’s no better way to experience Colorado’s cowboy heritage than riding the open range or high mountain meadows while a guide regales you with tales of the Wild West. Weekly rodeos in nearby Carbondale and Snowmass offer even more Western entertainment.
Glenwood Springs is the largest retail shopping area between Denver and Grand Junction. Its historic downtown district provides a wonderful selection of unique specialty shops. The Glenwood Meadows Shopping Center includes many one-of-a-kind shops, as well as some national chain stores.
Learn more about Glenwood Springs and its attractions at the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association. Stop by the visitor center at 802 Grand Avenue, call (888) 445-3696 or go to www.visitglenwood.com for more information about planning your visit.