Glenwood Springs: Colorado’s Sustainably Smart Travel Choice

Long before terms like sustainability, green energy and eco-conscious were buzzwords, Glenwood Springs was ahead of the curve as an environmentally friendly travel destination. The hot springs town continues to lead the way, most recently with a tourism promotion partnership that encourages more responsible travel choices.

Far from jumping on the latest go-green bandwagon, caring for the environment and promoting sustainable travel is nothing new for Glenwood Springs. Since the 1970s, Glenwood Hot Springs Pool has been putting surplus BTUs generated by the geothermal water to good use in preheating domestic water supplies and warming decks, sidewalks and rooflines to keep them snow-free in winter. Iron Mountain Hot Springs utilizes the hot springs water in a similar fashion. More recent efforts to be environmentally proactive have led to Visit Glenwood Springs teaming up with regional tourism organizations to form the Roaring Fork Valley Destination Alliance (RFVDA).

Promoting Responsible Tourism Together

The first of its kind in Colorado, RFVDA includes five tourism promotion entities that represent Glenwood Springs, Carbondale, Basalt, Snowmass and Aspen. Together, they will speak with a unified voice for the local tourism industry, especially on topics of advancing destination stewardship opportunities, developing activities and programs that promote responsible visitation, and integrating valley-wide communication strategies in the event of a crisis such as a fire or weather event that would affect the safety and travel plans of visitors and residents.

A Track Record of Success in Achieving Sustainable Travel Goals

Glenwood Canyon

bike trail in glenwood canyonWhen Interstate-70 was being constructed through Glenwood Canyon in the 1980s, many people, including singer John Denver, were concerned about damaging the fragile ecosystem and were opposed to improving the notorious bottleneck in the coast-to-coast transportation corridor. Fortunately, the design, engineering and construction of the highway was a model of environmental stewardship. Since its completion, the project has won more than 30 awards for innovative design and environmental sensitivity.

Hanging Lake

Hanging LakeLocated in Glenwood Canyon, Hanging Lake is one of Colorado’s most popular hiking destinations. Less than a mile in length one way, the scenic trail ends at a crystalline lake fed by a photogenic triple Multiple stakeholders that included local and federal agencies in two counties created a permit system that distributed visitation more evenly and reduced impact to the trail. The result was greater stewardship the National Natural Landmark with a better hiking experience for visitors. In 2020, the Grizzly Creek Fire swept through Glenwood Canyon. Thanks to wildland firefighters, Hanging Lake was spared but subsequent rainfall through the burn scar caused heavy debris flow damage to the trail. It is currently under restoration and not open for hiking.

100-Percent Renewable Energy

giant canyon swingIn 2019, Glenwood Springs flipped the switch to purchase its electric energy from 100 percent renewable wind and solar sources, effectively making every hotel, attraction, business, restaurant and residence green energy compliant. As a visitor, you can feel good about wherever you stay, play and eat in Glenwood Springs. Did you know Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is the first amusement park in the country powered by 100-percent renewable energy?

Leave No Trace

Care for Colorado VideoAll the tourism entities in RFVDA, from Glenwood Springs to Aspen, are proponents of the Care for Colorado principles which educate and encourage visitors to tread lightly by following guidelines that include sticking to trails for safety and erosion prevention, leaving nature as you found it, packing out trash and domestic animal droppings, and extinguishing campfires completely.

When visitors choose Glenwood Springs, they can truly relax—in the hot springs, at restaurants and when they turn on the lights in their hotel room—knowing they’ve chosen a destination in tune with what’s best for nature and people. Learn more and make plans to visit Glenwood Springs today!

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