Glenwood Springs has as much small-town charm and outdoor recreation as its neighbor, Aspen, but at a fraction of the cost. The city is known for its rust-colored facade, brushed with an abundance of greenery, and well-maintained historical buildings, and its location near the Colorado River lends itself to water sports, hiking, and more.
Plus, its small size makes it easy to navigate the city center and eat your way through its many restaurants and bars. Whether you’re taking a dip in the healing hot springs, sipping 1920s-inspired cocktails, or going on a good old-fashioned outdoor adventure, Glenwood Springs is the perfect place for a proper mountain-town escape.
What to Do
With an abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities at your fingertips, getting outside and exploring is a must. The Glenwood Adventure Company is a one-stop-shop for everything from white water rafting on the Colorado River to horseback riding, hiking, and fly fishing. After working up a sweat, cool off with a house-brewed award-winning craft beer from the Glenwood Canyon Brewpub. For dinner, head to The Pullman for locally inspired dishes like lamb sirloin, grass-fed burgers, and roasted natural chicken; or get your pasta fill at family-run Italian Underground Ristorante, which is known for its linguine in clam sauce and fettuccine alfredo.
For brunch, post up on the patio of newcomer Smoke Modern Barbeque for comfort foods like fried okra, pulled pork, and ribs. After fueling up, take a stroll through Glenwood Springs’ charming downtown and stop in one of the many galleries in the area. Hop on the 10-minute tram ride to see sweeping views of the Roaring Fork Valley and get to the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Located high above the city, the unique adventure park is home to popular attractions like a cliff-hanging roller coaster, a giant canyon swing, a 4D Motion Theater, laser tag, and more. And be sure to save time for a cave tour. Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park offers three guided underground walking tours that highlight the area’s history and unique landscape.
Where to Stay
A trip to Glenwood Springs wouldn’t be complete without taking a moment to savor a refreshing cocktail or other adult beverage on the picturesque outdoor veranda of the Hotel Colorado. A popular destination among celebrities in the early 1900s, the iconic hotel is still one of the top places to stay in town. Located a stone’s throw from Glenwood’s historic downtown area, the “Grand Dame of the Rockies” still offers a selection of rooms that start around $190 per night during the busy season. Across the street, you’ll find the famed Glenwood Hot Springs Pool which is known for its healing mineral waters and spa. If you want a hotel that has a historic feel with a more modern touch, The Hotel Denver is the place for you. Opened in 1915, the hotel retains its old-world charm, but modern updates give it the best of both worlds. Nightly rates begin at $139, and although it’s a quiet place to stay, the hotel is only a short walk from the best dining, shopping, and nightlife attractions in the city.
Glenwood Springs is about a three hours by car from Denver International Airport. There is also shuttle service via the Colorado Mountain Express, which operates round-trip between the airport to the Roaring Fork Valley. For a real adventure, take the Amtrak — which links the historic train station in Glenwood Springs to and from just about every major city in the U.S., and offers a wonderful, scenic view along the way.