If you’re looking for a relaxing spot for your next getaway and want to enjoy nature, there’s no better place than Glenwood Springs, Colorado. In the heart of the Rocky Mountains, you can enjoy the natural healing powers of the hot springs, spend some time on the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers, or take a hike on the Hanging Lake trail.
Glenwood Springs isn’t just a great place for the 50+ crowd; it is a wonderful destination for a multigenerational trip, too, since there is so much to see and do. There is something for everyone in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.
How to Get To Glenwood Springs
When flying into Denver, you have two fantastic sightseeing options for getting to Glenwood Springs.
Drive Through Rocky Mountain National Park
The first option is to rent a car and drive through Rocky Mountain National Park so you can take in all the sights before arriving in Glenwood Springs. It is a very scenic drive, and in summer you will go from warm temperatures to above the treeline and into the alpine zone where there will still be snow in places. Be sure to make a stop at Estes Park, a quaint town with lots of neat shops and restaurants. I would allow a minimum of 3.5 hours for the drive. If you plan to stop for lunch and some pictures, allow 4 to 5 hours.
Take The Amtrak
The other option from Denver is to take Amtrak through the scenic valley to Glenwood Springs. I am told the train ride gives you spectacular views of the countryside. This is the way we plan to arrive in Glenwood on our next trip. Train time is just under 6 hours.
If you are traveling east from Grand Junction, you would drive 90 miles on route 70 for 1.5 hours.
Once you arrive in Glenwood, find your hotel and settle in for the weekend, then start exploring.
What To Do In Glenwood Springs
There are so many delightful things to enjoy in the city, which feels like a small town. It is hard to narrow it down to just a few things, but, if you are like most people, you probably want to enjoy the therapeutic hot springs. If heading to Glenwood Springs for a long weekend, you will have time to soak in the hot springs and enjoy other activities, too.
Here are Glenwood Springs’ don’t-miss activities, including hot springs and beyond.
Therapeutic Options In Glenwood Springs
Glenwood Hot Springs Resort
A historic attraction and home to the world’s largest hot springs pool (think the size of a football field), Glenwood Hot Springs Resort is an amazing place to visit. If you are in town, you have to go at least once to say you have been there. I have visited twice and can’t wait to go back.
You could spend an entire day here or just an hour or two depending on the other things you want to do.
Iron Mountain Hot Springs
Colorado’s newest hot springs, Iron Mountain Hot Springs, opened in 2015. It features 16 soaking pools and a family pool alongside the Colorado River.
The pools’ temperatures range from 98 to 108 degrees, allowing you to customize your wellness experience in 100 percent pure thermal mineral water.
You can easily spend half a day or the entire evening here. I would allow at least 2.5 hours to enjoy the various hot soaking pools.
One of Glenwood Springs’ most unusual attractions is the unique underground vapor-filled caverns at the Yampah Spa and Vapor Caves. They are one of a few places where you can experience a natural geothermal steam bath.
The vapor caves have stairs to navigate and low lighting, so if vision or mobility are problems for you or anyone in your group, you might want to opt for a different Glenwood Springs spa outing. I would allow at least an hour for this activity.
Other Glenwood Springs Spas
Glenwood Springs is known globally as a wellness destination. You have a variety of spas to choose from featuring treatments that incorporate mineral hot springs amenities and touch therapy modalities. Time for this is dependent on what treatment you purchase. You will need to schedule in advance.
Outdoor Adventures In Glenwood Springs
See Glenwood Canyon
Enjoy a ride through the canyon overlooking the Colorado River. Bike rentals are available and the bike trails are paved and mostly flat. The trail has plenty of overlooks where you can stop, rest, take photos, and enjoy a picnic. There are bathrooms along the trail, too. This is a great morning or early evening activity. You will need a few hours to enjoy it.
Hike Or Picnic Near Hanging Lake Trail
This strenuous hike delivers you to the edge of Glenwood Canyon’s cliffs, where the waterfalls spill into a crystal blue lake. Allow a half day or all evening for this hike.
If you are not up to something so strenuous, there is a nice flat hike leading to the foot of the mountain. There are two picnic tables where you can enjoy a packed lunch or just sit and relax.
There are a variety of companies that facilitate river activities in the Glenwood Springs area. Kayaking, whitewater rafting, fly fishing, tubing, and relaxing river tours are all available. The time needed to enjoy such activities depends on the exact tour you book with your company of choice, so plan accordingly.
Other Fun Things To Do In Glenwood Springs
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
This is a small mountaintop amusement park that provides beautiful views. Tickets to the Adventure Park include a gondola ride up to the park and your return fare, plus educational cave tours as well as all rides.
Depending on what in-park activities you want to enjoy, you can spend between a few hours and a full day in the Adventure Park.
Note that the caves have steps and are sometimes damp.
You can ride up, get off and take pictures from the top, shop, enjoy a nice meal, and then ride back down the mountain on the gondola whenever you are ready. You can purchase this ticket -- without Adventure Park admission -- for under $20.
I would allow an hour or two for this since you might have a wait in line and you might decide to spend more time at the top.
Note: The gondola’s operation is weather dependent. Should a storm with lightning pop up, the gondola closes down for approximately 60 to 90 minutes.
Enjoy Some Music In Glenwood Springs
During the summer months, Glenwood Springs is host to Music on the Mountain and a Summer Music Series. Locals and visitors are invited to enjoy music under the stars.
Eating In Glenwood Springs
There are a few don’t-miss places to visit if you’re a foodie and want to experience some fine cuisine. And if you have an insatiable sweet tooth, don’t worry, there’s something for you, too!
This top pick among TripAdvisor reviewers has it all: divine atmosphere, exceptional service, and great food.
Riviera boasts outdoor seating, a romantic environment, and a variety of cuisine options including vegetarian and gluten-free dishes.
It’s rumored that you’ll find the owner playing piano for his guests when he’s not busy making sure they’re taken care of. Riviera is only open for dinner, so it is an evening must!
Slope And Hatch
If you’re interested in something a little more casual and want a family-friendly atmosphere, Slope and Hatch is your spot.
With a variety of hot dog and taco options, the best margaritas in town, and delicious hand-cut fries, you can’t go wrong. This is definitely a budget-friendly option for great food.
There are lots of great places to eat, but Sweet Coloradough stands out. It is my favorite. It might be the name or the fantastic food, but either way, I promise you won’t be disappointed if you visit.
Here, you can find any kind of donut you can imagine. They also have delicious fritters, cakes, deli sandwiches, and breakfast cocktails.
The Sweet Coloradough is busy, but they have great service and a good-humored staff. Stop by for a sweet treat and a cup of coffee or something stronger any time of day.
Where To Stay In Glenwood Springs
There are lots of places to stay, but I will highlight three of my favorites.
The Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs is known for legendary service, modern amenities, and well-appointed rooms, all in the middle of the majestic Rocky Mountains. Located just a few steps from Glenwood Hot Springs, the Hotel Colorado is close to other attractions as well.
Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge
Located on the grounds of Glenwood Hot Springs, the lodge is just steps from the pool. This 107-room lodge provides overnight guests with unlimited pool access and a full breakfast.
Hotel Glenwood Springs
Hotel Glenwood Springs is the hotel closest to the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park and is close to Iron Mountain Hot Springs as well. The hotel is family and pet friendly.
Whether you come for an adventure or for relaxation, you’ll be sure to find what you’re looking for when you spend a weekend in Glenwood Springs. Have more time? Make sure you don’t miss any of the best things to see and do in Glenwood Springs.