Whether you’re an outdoors lover, adventurer, foodie, or art, history, and culture-enthusiast, there’s something for everyone in Glenwood Springs. With four distinct seasons, this town may be small and seemingly remote, but it offers opportunities to participate in many activities all year round.
The biggest attractions in town are the numerous hot springs, and the next biggest draws are the beautiful scenery and geographical features that make Glenwood Springs an outdoor-lovers paradise.
Situated in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, the city is surrounded by impressive red sandstone cliffs. The natural surroundings provide everything needed for visitors to enjoy an array of outdoor activities, including whitewater rafting, hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking, caving, rock climbing, paragliding, horseback riding, and off-roading.
Glenwood Springs is also known for being a great town to walk around. With a population of only 10,000, you can avoid large crowds while you take in the history and culture. The vibrant downtown area is home to many restaurants and boutique shops.
Below are 15 of the best things to do in and around Glenwood Springs, Colorado
1. Glenwood Springs Caverns Adventure Park
Fun, adventure and learning experiences await the whole family at Glenwood Springs Caverns Adventure Park. Located on top of Iron Mountain, the first thing visitors notice is the stunning scenery. However, it’s the range of attractions and activities that draw people of all ages to the park.
Thrilling rides, a 4D Motion Theatre, and a 32-foot climbing wall are on-site. The Glenwood Caverns are a must-see, and guided tours are available. Visitors can also play a round of Old West-style laser tag, don costumes for souvenir photos, and take in a lively performance.
2. Smoke Modern BBQ
Smoke Modern BBQ is the place to head to if you’re in the mood for a range of barbecued items. But these aren’t just any barbecue items: many of the dishes are traditional ones that you’ll be familiar with, except they have a unique and modern twist.
Some of the other items available include starters, salads, sandwiches, burgers, seafood dishes, and steak. An extensive bourbon and whiskey menu is available.
3. Hike the Numerous Trails Around Glenwood Springs
Glenwood Springs is home to a number of hiking trails that are perfect for a rejuvenating escape into nature. The Grizzly Creek Trail runs 3.4 miles along a river surrounded by beautiful scenery. There are picnic tables along the trail.
Hanging Lake Trail is a popular but challenging trail, but the strenuous hike is worth it when you’re finally able to see what awaits at the top. Situated in Glenwood Springs Canyon, the trail is about a mile long. Along the way, you will see streams that eventually lead to the crystal clear waters of Hanging Lake. This stunning lake and its equally stunning waterfalls are positioned on the edge of the canyon’s cliffs
The Glenwood Canyon Recreation Trail is an easy trail for all ages and crosses the entire length of the Glenwood Canyon. Wildlife viewing, fishing, and picnicking are popular activities in this area.
Storm King Trail was created as a memorial to the 14 firefighters who lost their lives fighting a wildfire. Exhibits about the fire and the crew that worked to fight the fire are located along the trail.
Red Mountain Trail winds up Red Mountain and offers spectacular views of the Roaring Fork Valley, Storm King Mountain, and the Elk Range.
4. Spend a Day on the Colorado River
The beautiful Colorado River, with its high cliffs and stunning scenery, is another one of Glenwood’s major attractions. Some of the exciting activities you can participate in include kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, whitewater rafting, and tubing.
No matter what activity you choose, there are nice little stops along the way, including riverside hot springs where you can rest or take a refreshing dip. There are various conditions catering to different skill levels.
If you are a seasoned rafter, you can venture out on your own. If you are only a beginner, you can book a guided excursion at one of the local outfitters.
5. Iron Mountain Hot Springs
The best way to spend a day relaxing in Glenwood Springs is with a visit to the Iron Mountain Hot Springs.
There are 16 natural geothermal hot spring soaking pools on-site. Each one has a different shape, temperature, and ambiance. Some have pebbles on the bottom for reflexology benefits, others have infinity views, and one even has a waterfall.
As a bonus, these relaxing pools are set to the sound of calming spa music and are surrounded by stunning natural beauty that includes the Colorado River, the Rocky Mountains, and Roaring Fork Valley.
A gift shop selling souvenirs and swimwear is on-site, and the Sopris Cafe serves a variety of snacks and light meals.
6. Take an Excursion with Glenwood Adventure Company
Glenwood Adventure Company offers a wide variety of excursions both on land and in water. There’s something for all ages and abilities, including whitewater rafting, paddleboarding, horseback riding, off-roading, paragliding, ziplining, and hiking.
Bair Ranch is where these excursions start. Some adventures last a few hours while others are for a full day, depending on the activity.
Overnight excursions are also available, and if you prefer to set out on your own adventures, the company rents out equipment.
7. Glenwood Canyon Brewpub
After a long day of exploring, head to Glenwood Canyon Brewpub, where you can relax with a cold glass of hand-crafted, locally-made craft beer. There are a variety of prize-winning choices, including seasonal and specialty options, on the bar menu.
A selection of food is also available, including appetizers, pub grub, soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, and sweet treats. Happy hour occurs daily.
8. Wind down at the Underground Spa
The Underground Spa in Glenwood Springs is a combination of the Vapor Caves and Yampah Spa. The Vapor Caves are among only a few in the country, so they’re a must-see while in the area.
First used by the Ute Tribe in rituals, today they are used by visitors from all over, who wish to relax in the natural healing steam. The Yampah Spa offers a variety of rejuvenating therapies, including massages, facials, and body treatments.
9. Doc Holliday Grave Site
The notorious outlaw Doc Holliday died in Glenwood Springs and is buried in Linwood Cemetery. Making the hike to his grave is a popular activity among visitors, and it’s not hard to find; it’s the gravesite surrounded by various mementos – including playing cards and whiskey bottles.
10. Browse the Glenwood Springs Shopping District
For a day away from the great outdoors, visitors head to the Glenwood Shopping District to search for unique souvenirs and gifts. In the locally-owned shops and quaint boutiques, you can find everything, from housewares and clothing to outdoor gear and books.
The Glenwood Meadows Mall is located in this district, as are several outdoor restaurants, galleries, and cafes serving up homemade goodies.
11. Co. Ranch House
The Co. Ranch House in Glenwood Springs is well-known among locals as the place to get quality food in a cozy, welcoming environment. The western-inspired selection includes options made with locally-sourced beef, salmon dishes, and Rocky Mountain trout.
A variety of local craft beers are on offer, and you can enjoy your meal on the patio, which is said to be the nicest in the area.
12. Hit the Biking Trails
The Glenwood Springs area is a cyclist’s paradise. There are numerous trails for every level of experience, and each has something different to offer.
The Rio Grande Trail, which snakes along the Roaring Fork River, is a perfect trail for all ages and levels. Impressive wildlife species, including bald eagles and elk, are often spotted.
Boy Scout Trail is a difficult three-mile trail said to be the best in the area. Spectacular views are rewarded to anyone who makes it to the top.
Transfer Trail is a more remote trail that passes through scenic areas with views of mountains, canyons, and meadows.
13. Play in the Snow
Glenwood Springs is just as much of an outdoor lover’s paradise in winter as it is in any other season. If you happen to be in the town during the winter months, you will be able to participate in a wide range of outdoor activities, such as snowboarding, downhill skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, and even a type of winter biking called Fat Biking.
The Sunlight Mountain Ski Resort is nearby, and a 40-minute drive will take you to one of the country’s most iconic ski resorts, Aspen.
14. Glenwood Hot Springs Pool
The Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge is home to the largest hot springs pool in the world. At 405 feet long and 100 feet wide, the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool is open year-round and features water coming directly from nearby hot springs.
The water has 15 different minerals well-known for skin-renewing properties and for supporting overall health. In the warmer months, cabana rentals, a children’s pool, and waterslides are available.
15. Silver Queen Gondola
At less than an hour away from Glenwood Springs, Aspen is a must-visit. There are many things to do in Aspen besides skiing, and one of the popular attractions is the Silver Queen Gondola. Take a 20-minute trip to the top of Aspen Mountain and admire the stunning views all around.