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kayaker on river with dog

6 River Day Activities in Glenwood Springs

Glenwood Springs is home to two remarkable rivers, both ideal for summertime recreation. Make a splash and go all in or keep your cool by staying high and dry. With half a dozen options, why not wade into Glenwood’s river scene this summer?

Safety First

Snow from the high country is melting quickly and filling area waterways to the brim. Locals call it spring runoff season, that time of year when the river is running high, fast and cold. Before you engage in river-based activities in Glenwood Springs, take some smart safety precautions.

  • Listen to the advice of professional guides, experts who know how to read the river. Do what they say whether you’re aboard a raft or fishing dory.
  • Anglers, go slow and steady when wading and don’t venture too deep into the river. It only takes 6 inches of water to knock a person off their feet.
  • If enjoying riverside leisure time with family, keep your pet on a leash and talk to children about staying a safe distance from the river bank.

Glenwood Springs Go With the Flow Activities

white water activity area, fishing and soaking at sunsetRafting. This time of year, the whitewater season is rolling along at breakneck speed. Get in on the thrills and chills with a guided rafting trip on the Roaring Fork or Colorado Rivers. Both travel through scenic valleys complete with wildlife and sandstone or red rock views. Rafting guides will equip you with the gear and skills you need so when it comes time to face fierce-sounding rapids like Maneater or Tombstone, you’ll paddle through them like a pro.

Picnicking. For a summertime activity that’s packed with sweet nostalgia, go for a leisurely alfresco meal by the shores of either of Glenwood’s rivers. The Roaring Fork is girded by the Rio Grande Trail that wends its way from Glenwood Springs to Aspen. All along the route you’ll find picture-perfect places for picnics. For additional easy access to picnic spots, pull over at one of the rest areas along the Colorado River in Glenwood Canyon. Designed for multi-use recreation, they feature picnic tables, restroom facilities and hiking trails if you’re up for a little post-picnic exercise.

Fishing. Angling for a good time in Glenwood Springs? Grab a rod, your spinners or fly box and head to the river. Going with a guide will ensure you snag the catch of the day, but there are also plenty of places for shore fishing along both rivers. To find out where to go and what the fish are biting, check with local angling shops for the most up-to-date information.

Kayaking. Paddle and play at the Whitewater Activity Area in West Glenwood Springs. As the first whitewater feature built on any stretch of the Colorado River, it once hosted the USA Freestyle Kayaking Team Trials. The main feature is a standing wave, also known as a G-wave. Depending on the time of year, flows can range from 4,000 to 22,000 cubic feet per second. Paddlers use the area at their own risk; helmets and personal flotation devices are required.

Biking. Even on the hottest summer days, there always seems to be a breeze near the river. To cool off without getting wet, take a riverside bike ride. The Rio Grande Trail along the Roaring Fork River and the Glenwood Canyon Recreation Path that follows the Colorado River through Glenwood Canyon offer smooth riding on paved trails that go for miles. The Glenwood Canyon Recreation Path closes often during high water and/or severe weather events. Check with local bike shops for up-to-date information on accessibility.

Soaking. Snowmelt supplies the water in Glenwood’s rivers—and it’s cold. Fortunately, you can enjoy the river without the danger of hypothermia. Iron Mountain Hot Springs, with its many geothermal soaking pools, is situated along the northern bank of the Colorado River offering a convenient perch from which to view all the river activity—human and animal. During the summer months, it’s common to see everything from anglers to eagles enjoying a day on the river!

Yes, the mountains are calling, but so are the rivers in Glenwood Springs. Learn more and make plans to visit Glenwood Springs today!

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Reservations to hike Hanging Lake are released on a weekly basis every Tuesday at 8:00 am MDT. 

 Visit the Hanging Lake page HERE for more information and the booking portal.