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Glenwood Springs

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Glenwood Springs [5] is located in the western half of Colorado, United States of America, right where the south central, Front Range, and northwestern regions meet. It is in Garfield County roughly halfway between Vail and Aspen. Resting at about the same elevation as Denver, Glenwood Springs is famous for its hot springs pool.


Glenwood Springs is a beautiful town located at the confluence of the Colorado River and the Roaring Fork River, in the Roaring Fork Valley. The two rivers shape the town. They provide world-class fly-fishing, whitewater rafting, and now kayaking.

Originally named Defiance, in the late 1800s, the name was changed by white men arrived from an Iowa town called Glenwood. Many of the nearby towns (Aspen and Leadville) had their booms while Glenwood Springs was yet in its infancy. Glenwood Springs was difficult to reach due to the canyons to the east and west; it was also located on Ute land. The town grew in part thanks to its location on the railroad and the Colorado River.

The local area is surrounded by public lands, especially the White River National Forest, which attracts hunters and campers from great distance. The Grand Mesa is to the west and the Flattops Wilderness area dominate to the North. The Flattops is a very large area offering unlimited high-country exploring. The Four Mile recreation area (to the South-west)offers easier day mountain access favored by locals. Glenwood Springs is a truly great place to access all the Rocky Mountains have to offer.

In terms of culture (and ski-appeal) it is hard to overestimate the role of Aspen. Glenwood Springians may not want to actually live in Aspen, but they do appreciate being able to commute to a cultural mecca.

Up the valley is Carbondale, Basalt, Snowmass and Aspen. To the west is New Castle, Silt and Rifle.

Get in[edit]

By train[edit]

Amtrak [6] serves Glenwood Springs with the California Zephyr [7], which runs daily between Emeryville (in the San Francisco Bay Area) and Chicago. The comfortable five and a half hour ride from Denver to Glenwood Springs through the Moffat Tunnel is full of spectacular scenery. The ride from Emeryville takes about a day and also traverses some incredible vistas. You'll want a sleeper for the longer itineraries.

By bus[edit]

Greyhound Lines serves Glenwood Springs with a stop downtown and a stop in West Glenwood. Denver and Las Vegas are the major transit hubs connected to Glenwood by Greyhound, but there are many smaller towns on these routes too. The rides are cozy and timely... by Greyhound standards, yes, but they are.

By plane[edit]

  • There is a city airport airport in Glenwood Springs, but it only accommodates small private planes.
  • The Garfield County Airport, between Silt and Rifle is about 40 minutes away. It accommodates larger planes, but does not offer commercial flights.

The closest cities with airports that accommodate commercial flights are:

  • Eagle-Vail (35 minutes... recommended) - this airport is located between Gypsum and Eagle. It offers free parking and is easy to get to from the highway (I-70). In the winter, there are direct flights to some hubs, such as Minneapolis and Dallas.
  • Aspen (45 minutes, tough in traffic and common weather issues), paid parking and not much of it.
  • Grand Junction (80 minutes by car). This is convenient for travelers heading south and west.

Multi-modal: it's possible to fly into Denver and get from Denver to Glenwood Springs by way of Amtrak, Greyhound, or the private service Colorado Mountain Express (CME).

By car[edit]

Driving from:

  • Grand Junction. An hour and a half drive east on I-70.
  • Vail. Just over an hour drive west on I-70.
  • Aspen. An hour drive north on Colorado State Highway 82.
  • ""Denver"". Three hours drive west straight shot on I-70.

Be aware that as of 2017, a major road construction project is causing major delays in Glenwood Springs. The Grand Avenue bridge over I-70 and the Colorado River is closed due to reconstruction. Therefore, Exit 116 off of I-70 is closed.

Get around[edit]

By foot[edit]

Glenwood Springs has deservedly won awards for being among America's most walkable communities. The trail network gets you anywhere you need to be, and the town itself is compact.

By bus[edit]

Glenwood Springs is served by RFTA. There are two routes that operate in town: the Valley routes, which run from Glenwood Springs to Aspen and Snowmass Village, and a local circulator route, Ride Glenwood. Fare for Ride Glenwood is always $1, while RFTA fares within Glenwood are also $1. These two routes cover most of Glenwood. South Glenwood is not covered, and West Glenwood on the far side of the Colorado River is covered only by Ride Glenwood. Ride Glenwood terminates early in the evening, but the Valley routes run at all hours, so you can go to Aspen, party all you want to, and still have a ride home.

Make sure to take advantage of the discount RFTA fare cards you can purchase from many merchants in the Roaring Fork Valley, including in Glenwood Springs. The cards offer $20 or $40 worth of fares with a discount; the $40 farecard costs $29.50. While these fare cards are not usable on Ride Glenwood, which just accepts cash payment, they are accepted on the Valley bus to Aspen and Snowmass. The nominal $7.00 fee from Glenwood to Aspen becomes effectively $5.16. Finally, keep an eye on VelociRFTA, a bus rapid transit program that has grand ambitions and is now running. [8]

See[edit][add listing]

There are several main attractions:

  • Glenwood Canyon, accessible by car or by bike path. Fishing, rafting, hiking, biking, rollerblading... all within a gorgeous canyon
  • Glenwood Caverns, spend the day... see the caves, take the rides, eat... a nice alternative to a conventional theme park.
  • Glenwood Hot Springs Pool Gotta go for a soak.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Colorado Backcountry Biker, *[9]. All inclusive self-guided mountain biking tours and adventures in Western Colorado and Eastern Utah.
  • Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, [10]. A family adventure park with a focus on caving. A fun tram ride, restaurant, rides and cave tours makes this a MUST for family travelers. Plan on at least 1/2 a day here if you are visiting... maybe more!
  • Glenwood Hots Springs Pool, [11]. A huge hot spring pool that is the signature attraction of the town. The colder and more inclement the weather, the better.
  • Glenwood Adventure Company,[12]. Rafting, Hummer tours, Bike rentals, Horseback rides, ATV tours and Segway adventures.
  • Rock Gardens Rafting, *[13]. Offers a variety of local trips on the Colorado and Roaring Fork Rivers - choose from whitewater thrills to scenic family trips. They also offer Jeep tours and fly-fishing trips. Glenwood Springs is a popular rafting destination due to its location at the confluence of two major Western rivers. The Colorado River is notable for its 12 month flows, which bring in rafting outfitters from all over the state during low-water months.
  • Sunlight Mountain Resort, [14]. A really local nice ski area for family skiers. Not as professional and huge as other nearby resorts but much more affordable with a lot of mountain to ski.
  • Yampah Spa and Salon. Has vapor caves and a spa. It is recommended you try the caves themselves for an hour. This involves sitting in a a natural cave (on benches spread throughout a series of chambers) that is hot and steamy hot. Cold water and buckets are available to splash yourself with cold water.
  • Snowmobiling Glenwood Springs Area, [1]. Colorado is home to some of the best snowmobiling in the country. Glenwood Springs is surrounded by two areas, White River National Forest and the Grand Mesa. Trail riding on groomed trails, hill climbing, deep powder carving, scenic views, with a mixture of trees and meadows. These areas get an average of 35 feet of snow a year.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

Glenwood has a nice shopping area downtown with lots of cute little boutique shops. Glenwood Meadows is a new mall in West Glenwood with a Target, Lowes, Vitamin Cottage, Petco, Pier 1. Make sure you stroll down Cooper Avenue too, which has some nice consignment shops and natural foods store.

  • The Designer's Vault Tasting Room featuring Cottonwood Cellars Winery, 214 8th Street #17 Glenwood Springs, CO (8th & Grand), 970-230-0479, [2]. wine tasting room for Cottonwood Cellars-The Olathe Winery Decor Gallery, wine accessories,  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Fast-food. McDonald's, Wendy's, Taco Bell, etc. For a change, try the Charcoal Burger on the road between West Glenwood and downtown.
  • Glenwood Canyon Brewpub, [15]. Offering first-rate fresh brewed beer and a local's favorite dining experience. It is a non-smoking environment, it doesn't stay open late like local bars, and it has the best pool tables in town. A good place to catch a game too.
  • Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, [16]. Their new mountain-top Lookout Grille (accessed via tram ride) offers a nice dining experience with the best views in the area. The food is simple (burgers, etc.) but excellent.
  • The Grind, [17]. A very popular locally run burger joint with a pretty decent beer selection and amazing tasting burgers. Located almost in the heart of downtown
  • Italian Underground Downtown. Dinner only. The locals favorite Italian. Great atmosphere. Reasonable prices. Good wine list. Very popular and rather small. Your best best is to be there when they open at 5pm.
  • Los Jilbertos. 51241 Highway 6. Just east of the I-70 west-Glenwood exit. Indoor, inexpensive, Mexican taco/burrito stand.
  • May Palace Chinese restaurant downtown. Great lunch specials.
  • Sacred Grounds, [18]. Coffeehouse with good sandwiches, friendly staff, foosball, and internet access.
  • Sunlight Inn, [19]. Offers apres-ski and a full dinner menu several times a week.
  • Tapei Tokyo. A Chinese restaurant near City Market.
  • Tequila's. A Mexican restaurant near the I70 exit.
  • 19th Street Diner, 1908 Grand Ave (2 blocks south of Sayre Park), 970-945-9133. 7-9 m-s7-3 sun. American cusine with daily specials and soups. House smoked Ribs and Pork. Full bar. Great family atmosphere. $10 +/-.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Glenwood Canyon Brewpub,[20]. This is a great place to drink if you like fresh brewed beer, real pool tables, games on TV, no-smoking. If you want Budweiser, cheap pool tables, and a smoky environment, go over to Doc's or The Springs.
  • Lookout Grille at Glenwood Caverns,[21]. This mountain-top location is a great place to drink in the views while you drink. They offer beer, wine, pina coladas, daiquiris, and margaritas, and amazing views of two mountain valleys and majestic Mount Sopris.
  • 19th Street Diner, 1908 Grand Ave (2 blocks south of Sayre Park), 970-945-9133. Full bar with 6 draught handles. Always playing Colorado;s Sports games. NFL Sunday ticket on 4 HDTV"s  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Affordable Inns of Glenwood, [22]. Specializing in King and Double Queen rooms with refrigerators and microwaves, the hotel also offers wireless internet, guest laundry, HBO and movie channels, hot tub, free local calls, and continental breakfast.
  • The Hotel Denver, [23]. The Hotel Denver offers the best of the old and new. The rooms are decorated with quilts and antiques, and have modern conveniences such as wireless internet access and movies. It is centrally located in downtown Glenwood Springs, near the Hot Springs Pool, and the Amtrak station. The Glenwood Canyon Brewpub is located in this historic hotel.
  • Sunlight Mountain Inn, 10252 County Road 117, Glenwood Springs, Colorado 81601, 888-350-5454, [3]. checkin: 3 p.m.; checkout: 11 a.m.. A 20 Room Glenwood Springs, Colorado B & B at the base of Sunlight Mountain Ski Resort. $69 - $179. (39.402313,-107.34096) edit
  • First Choice Inns, [24]. Typically offers some of the best deals in town. Worth checking out.
  • Four Mile Creek, [25]. Upscale Bed & Breakfast and cabins about 15 minutes away from town, towards the ski area. About 5 minutes from Sunlight Mountain Resort. Romantic and adult.
  • B&B on Mitchell Creek, [26]. Offers several nice suites that feel an hour from town but are only 10 minutes. If you want to be up in the mountains for a romantic stay, check them out.
  • The Hotel Colorado. The signature hotel of the area and is rich in history. It is worth a visit just to stroll through the lobby area or have a bite to eat. They serve a decent Sunday brunch and the bar is a good place to watch a game or just pass the time with comfortable seating and cable TV.
  • Glenwood Canyon Resort, [27]. Offers very nice little cabins and some camping. Located right on the Colorado River in "No Name" which is one highway exit up from Glenwood proper. The Glenwood Canyon Trail is very close (for hiking and biking). They also offer rafting trips via their Rock Gardens Rafting trips
  • Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge and Pool [28] Great lodging right next to the best hot springs pool in the world
  • Holiday Inn Express Standard, if reliable, chain lodging. Very close to the entry to the Glenwood Caverns park.
  • Hotel Glenwood Springs, 52000 Two Rivers Plaza Rd, [4]. Glenwood Springs only Hotel with an Indoor Waterpark. Just a few feet from The Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park Tramway and just a few blocks from the Hot Springs Pool. Nice Family Hotel. Hot Springs Pool and Adventure Park packages available.  edit


Get out[edit]

  • Colorado's Wine Country - Colorado is home to over 70 wineries and its own indigenous vineyards. Wine lovers can enjoy several scenic day trips from Glenwood Springs to many of the small towns that grow their own grapes. These lovely little communities include Montrose, Palisade, Paonia and Hotchkiss, as well as the city of Grand Junction. Palisade is about 90 minutes away by car.
Routes through Glenwood Springs
Grand JunctionRifle  W noframenoframe E  EagleDenver
END  W noframe E  CarbondaleAspen

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