If you are headed out west for a Colorado vacation, be sure to make your way to the small mountain town of Glenwood Springs. For many years Glenwood was most famous for its hot springs, but there is indeed much more to see and do in this sleepy town—hiking trails abound, spelunkers will rejoice, and thrill-seekers will find many opportunities to get their fix. Glenwood is not your average mountain town.
Originally established in 1883, Glenwood Springs is small town of about 9,000 inhabitants. It first sprang up in the “Old West” as a main railroad hub and was optimally located at the intersection of the Colorado and Roaring Fork Rivers. Glenwood become well known in the old west attracting Doc Holliday, of Tombstone fame, in his final days on this earth (his tombstone can be viewed today in the town). Glenwood’s amazing mountain surroundings in a canyon bearing its name gave birth to the first moon roof and this town even housed one of the first hydroelectric power plants in the country, built in 1888.
What To See And Do In Glenwood Springs
Glenwood Hot Springs
Every year thousands of visitors come to this naturally heated pool that is open year round. The hot springs were first discovered by the Ute Indians hundreds of years ago and are now one of the most visited attractions in the area. The Glenwood Hot Springs sport a good-sized hot tub and one tremendously huge swimming pool. In the summer, visitors can also have fun on their water slides.
The “Glenwood Hot Springs” also offer a lodge, spa, athletic club, and other recreational activities. This is a must-see for any visitor.
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
The Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park can be accessed by a quick and fun tram ride up the side of a mountain. At the tram’s apex, you will be left off at a mountain wonderland. Visitors can explore the many natural formations in the underground caves where one can find Colorado’s largest cave room. Guests will also be greeted with a slew of thrill-rides that include a mind-numbing giant swing that swings visitors 1,300 feet over the Colorado River. For the more tame thrill-seeker, the alpine slide is a great option. Visitors can top off a full day at the adventure park with a meal at the Lookout Grille, which overlooks the vast expanse of the Rocky Mountains beyond.
The trailhead to Hanging Lake is just a short drive into Glenwood Canyon and is just off of I-70. A short but strenuous mile and a half hike will take visitors to the famous and often photographed Hanging Lake. Perched in the canyon cliffs, this lake with crystal clear blue water gets its name since it seemingly hangs from the heavens. Two main waterfalls gush into the lake, making this a spectacular sight. Peak season for the waterfalls is in late spring, when the snow runoff is at its highest levels.
White Water Raft the Colorado River
Numerous outfits exist in Glenwood and the surrounding areas that will herd visitors safely and securely over the rapids of the Colorado River. This is an unforgettable experience in which children can even participate.
As mentioned above, Glenwood lies at the confluence of the Colorado and Roaring Fork Rivers. These two rivers offer ample opportunity for anglers to hook a big catch. Be sure to purchase a fishing license from the Colorado Division of Wildlife before venturing out with your fishing pole.
For winter visitors, it is just a short trip to the local family ski resort of Sunlight Mountain. Other more well known ski resorts are just a short drive away in Aspen and Vail.
If you are in Colorado for an extended stay, be sure to read these other articles for a great vacation:
- Plan your Colorado Vacation
- Vacation in Denver
- Colorado National Parks
- Mesa Verde National Park
- Climb a Fourteener in Colorado
- Visit Rocky Mountain National Park