This summer I, Mariah Hagan worked as an intern for Visit Glenwood Springs, the tourism department at the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association. I grew up here in Glenwood Springs and I would definitely say that I enjoy hiking, but getting to take full advantage of the hikes that are here was blast. I was able to do six hikes for social media takeovers, and I enjoyed every single one. For the end of my summer work, it only made sense for me to write this blog post, in order to share what I loved about each hike, and maybe some advice for future hikers. Before I dive in, I wanted to mention that I did my research before each hike on visitglenwood.com’s trail guide and it was very helpful! So for more information, that would be a great place to check!
If you want a little history… Doc Holliday Trail
If you’re looking for a short hike that comes with some of the major views of a long hike, go to Doc Holliday’s Grave. The trail head for Pioneer Cemetery is right in town, and totally accessible. The hike is .7 miles long roundtrip, and mild to moderate. It only took me about 20 minutes to get up there, but I still got amazing views of this town that I love, and got some history to go along with it. Doc Holliday is the local gun-slinging celebrity, so getting deep into the history of who he is and what Glenwood was like in his time was so interesting. Tourists can enjoy some fun stories, and locals can revel in the inspiring historical background. Dogs are allowed on a leash, so they can enjoy the hike as well. This hike is always a good short one, so you could even go on your lunch break. I wish it were longer, but my favorite part is that you get great views without too much hard work.
If you want shade and rushing water by your side… Grizzly Creek Trail
Grizzly Creek is most definitely one of my favorite hikes in the area. Don’t get me wrong, Hanging Lake is amazing, but my personal (if unpopular) opinion is that the best hike in the canyon is Grizzly Creek. The creek is your companion all through the hike, and for the first two miles in, it is a totally mild hike. If that’s all you need, the hike only gets harder after two miles, so there’s no shame in letting the trail cater to how difficult you want your hike to be. The other fantastic part about Grizzly is that is shaded very well throughout, which is so important for these summer hikes. I still drank my entire Camelbak, but I wasn’t getting (too) sunburnt. The hike is not a loop, and is just shy of 7 miles out and back. The toughest part about this hike is that it does get harder throughout, but my favorite part is that the trail is accompanied by the creek, which my dog (since leashed dogs are permitted) loved and was able to cool off in.
If you want a relaxing stroll… Atkinson Canal Trail
Want a milder trail to stroll on? Atkinson was so calming and so lovely. It hugs the Roaring Fork River and is totally paved, so anyone is able to access it. I brought my bike for a nice little ride along the river, however, there were plenty of people walking with kids or dogs or alone. I actually loved how calming this trail was, but it is short. The trail is 3.1 miles out and back. One awesome thing about Atkinson is that it is totally accessible, and the only parts that aren’t flat are the ramps that lead down to the trails. This trail is going to have a little bit more traffic than some of the other trails in town due to its location and the milder nature of the paved trail. However, my favorite part was that I could bike it in a small amount of time and still feel like I was getting out and enjoying nature in my hometown.
If you want to really feel like you’re in nature… Mitchell Creek Trail
Mitchell Creek is another great one, as I really love when creeks join me on my hikes. It adds a little bit more excitement, and brings the heat down just a little bit. My biggest mistake on this trail was not wearing pants. I wore shorts and because the trail is so overgrown, my legs were a little scratched and bitten (that’s just part of nature though). The other reason I recommend pants is because that area is known for ticks, so in tick season make sure to prepare for that or just wait a few months. Otherwise, the hike was magnificent, and I surely felt closest to nature here more than the other hikes. The trail is 6 miles long and is the only trail that can take you up to the Flat Tops, another amazing part of this community. Other than pants, I would also recommend waterproof shoes, you may get wet in the creek.
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If you want a challenge… (Boy) Scout Trail
I go to school out of state and love to brag about my hometown, and thank goodness I hiked Boy Scout because the photos I took up there really made my home feel (and look) as special as it is. The views of Glenwood on this hike are breathtaking. This trail is a loop (my favorite kind), but make sure you have a map, as it is also a mountain bike trail, so there are a few different forks. This loop is about 17 miles, and is pretty intense at some of the more uphill elevation gain areas. I personally didn’t encounter any, but online a lot of people said they ran into homeless camps along the trail, so just something to be wary of. I really liked this hike, but would definitely recommend preparing for a full day of hiking and spectacular views.
Trail Details Here!
If you want something meaningful and fulfilling… Storm King Trail
Now this hike, I did get sunburnt. It is not shaded hardly at all, and is definitely a difficult hike. We all know Storm King is one of the most challenging hikes in the area, but for good reason. We lost a lot of lives many years ago due to a devastating and unpredictable fire. The firefighters who went up there to protect this community are heroes. The trail has remained as rugged and difficult as it was at the time of the fire to show hikers the depth of what happened during the Storm King Fire. The length of the trail is about 4 miles, but it takes longer than you’d think because it is a difficult hike. When I was in fifth grade we did this hike to learn a little bit of Glenwood History, and I’m glad I did it again. I was hot and tired, but the views and reminders were so worth it.
Overall, it was an awesome summer that I got to spend climbing mountains and exploring my hometown. I didn’t get to do all the awesome trails that we have to offer, but I hope that you will! Get out there, enjoy this city, and share your adventures with #HikeGlenwoodSprings.
–Mariah Hagan, Native of Glenwood Springs
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