Glenwood Springs is located in the heart of the Colorado Rocky Mountains just 90 miles east of Grand Junction. Famous for its geothermal amenities and outdoor adventures, Glenwood Springs is home to many one-of-a-kind attractions. Here’s a sampling of what this gorgeous area has to offer:
The Glenwood Hot Springs Pool is considered the world’s largest mineral hot springs pool; it features two enormous outdoor pools and an award-winning spa. The pools were first used by Native Americans who continue to consider the hot springs sacred. The thermal waters are 90-93 degrees Fahrenheit in the large pool, and 104 F in the smaller, therapy pool. Features like the two water slides, a diving board and bubble chairs bring out the child in everyone. Other amenities include the award-winning Spa of the Rockies, a 107-room lodge, an athletic club, a retail store and restaurant.
Situated along the Colorado River is Iron Mountain Hot Springs, which boasts 16 smaller mineral pools, all varying in temperatures that range from 99 to 108 degrees Fahrenheit. These smaller thermal spring pools are surrounded by a quiet zone to enhance relaxation. With kids and families in mind, the large freshwater pool is heated to a comfortable 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Resting at the edge of this family pool is an elevated jetted spa with a perfect soaking temperature of just over 100 F. Parents can enjoy the hotter water while supervising their children below.
The mountain-top Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park combines spectacular cave tours and thrill amusement rides with breathtaking views. The park’s “Haunted Mine Drop” ride was named USA Today’s “Best new Amusement Park Ride” of 2017. Other thrilling rides include “The Cliffhanger” – North America’s highest elevation roller coaster; the “Giant Canyon Swing,” which soars out into Glenwood Canyon 1,300 above the Colorado River (The giant swing can accommodate up to four riders at a time, so you can share the adrenaline rush with friends); additional exciting rides with breathtaking views are the Alpine Coaster and the Glenwood Canyon Flyer. The Western-themed park is primarily noted for its pristine cave formations with several tours offered.
The Yampah Vapor Caves features naturally-occurring mineral steam baths – a rare geological feature. The thermal spring water contains 34 minerals and trace elements and flows through the cave floors via narrow channels at a simmering 125 degrees Fahrenheit to create an underground geothermal steam sauna. The Ute Indians used the vapor caves for purification rituals when they inhabited the area.
Another geological wonder is Hanging Lake in Glenwood Canyon, one of the most beautiful hikes in Colorado. Though just under a mile in length, the trail is rocky and steep; be prepared with proper gear and plenty of hydration. The best views for photos are from the boardwalk surrounding the lake. After making it to the top, don’t miss Spouting Rock, just a short walk along a marked trail, where water comes rushing through a hole in the cliff face.
During the warm weather months, rafting through scenic Glenwood Canyon, cycling paved and unpaved trails, and fishing the region’s Gold Medal rivers and streams are top choices for visitors. Come fall, Glenwood Springs welcomes big game hunters to the area, as well as visitors seeking autumn fall colors as the aspen trees turn to gold.
Skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling at Sunlight Mountain Resort dominate winter itineraries. With 67 trails covering over 680 acres of skiable terrain and a vertical drop of over 2,000 feet, Sunlight Mountain Resort is exceptionally diverse. The topography features everything from cruisers to heart-stopping steeps all at family-friendly prices. Sunlight Mountain’s Extreme ski run challenges all experts. The Heathen run, with a pitch of 52 percent, is one of the steepest trails in the state. Sunlight is also home to one of the longest trails, the Ute, which is a beginner slope that winds more than 2.5 miles from the summit to the base. There are additionally two terrain parks that accommodate snowboarders.
Glenwood Springs also has a thriving dining and entertainment scene. With everything from farm-totable eateries to award-winning breweries, Glenwood Springs’ dynamic dining scene offers a continuous source of culinary delights. For entertainment, the Glenwood Vaudeville Revue keeps visitors in stitches with its hilarious comedy show. Other venues and restaurants regularly offer music and dancing.
The town also has an interesting past. Western icon, John Henry “Doc” Holliday came to Glenwood Springs seeking a cure for his advanced tuberculosis. Unfortunately for him, his luck ran out. Western history and “Doc” fans pay homage to the gunslinger-dentist by making the short hike to his grave marker in Linwood Cemetery.
For more information on all the activities and adventure offered in Glenwood Springs, please visit: visitglenwood.com.