When it comes to things to do in Colorado, look no further than Glenwood Springs, home to some of the best hot springs, rafting, fishing and skiing in the state.
Whether you’re seeking geothermal relaxation, a whitewater adventure, fishing on Gold-Medal waters or exploring one of the friendliest ski mountains in the state, Glenwood Springs is your best bet for a top-notch Colorado vacation.
Hot Springs, Rafting, Fishing & Skiing
Glenwood Springs is a natural wonderland, a place abundantly blessed by Mother Nature. Not only does the town boast hallmark geothermal springs and the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers for recreation, it is also surrounded by a mountainous landscape that comes alive with activity when the snow flies.
Best Colorado Hot Springs
Therapeutic healing via hydrotherapy has a long history in Glenwood Springs. The geothermal waters are in fact the town’s original calling card. At the turn of the 20th Century, newspapers and publications often referred to Glenwood Springs as “Colorado’s Spa in the Mountains.”
The plentiful, mineral-rich warm spring water is what put Glenwood Springs on the vacation destination map back in the 1880s, and the resort town’s geothermal amenities continue to draw the attention of wellness seekers to this day.
A trio of geothermal amenities offer three distinct experiences. Glenwood Hot Springs Pool features two enormous and historic hot springs pools. The Therapy Pool is ideal for a soothing soak, while the “Big” pool is an aquatic playground for kids of all ages. At the west end of the pool, the Sopris Splash Zone adds another element of water-based entertainment. It features a freshwater family-friendly play area that includes Shoshone Chutes, a fast-paced river ride; Hanging Lake with waterfalls and interactive toys; as well as the Grand Fountain, a splashpad for the littlest pool-goers.
Situated along the Colorado River, Iron Mountain Hot Springs boasts an array of smaller soaking pools with varying temperatures. It’s fun to try them all and find the one that’s just right for you. To cool off on a hot day, take a dip in the freshwater family pool or a turn under the outdoor rain showers. For the over-21 crowd, there’s WorldSprings at Iron Mountain Hot Springs, a separate adults-only area offering unique geothermal soaking experiences from around the world, two confluence pools and a cold plunge, all with exquisite views of the river and surrounding mountains.
For something entirely different, Yampah Spa & Vapor Caves invites visitors to take a geothermal mineral bath in naturally formed underground caverns. Vapor from the source spring that runs through channels along the cave walls seeps into the caves and fills them with mineral-rich steam which is naturally relaxing and touted to detoxify the body. Upstairs in the spa area, guests can enjoy massage, body treatments, facials and more.
Best Colorado Rafting
Whitewater rafting easily careens to the top of the list of warm-weather things to do in Glenwood Springs. The area is home to Glenwood Canyon, one of state’s most remarkable landmarks. The Colorado River slices through the 16-mile-long gorge, creating a landscape of towering cliffs and rare geological wonders like Hanging Lake. This stretch of the Colorado River never dries up, so Glenwood Springs’ rafting season is normally much longer than other areas of the state.
One of the best ways to experience this stretch of natural beauty is astride a raft. You’ll feel the unbridled power of nature as you cascade through churning whitewater. If you’re lucky you may even spot some resident wildlife including bald eagles and Colorado bighorn sheep who make their home in the riverside cliffs.
Glenwood Springs rafting is also a family-friendly activity. Experienced guides are committed to ensuring that everyone in your group has a smile-inducing great time on the river. Youngsters are welcome to ride the rapids as long as they meet the weight requirement. Check with individual Glenwood Springs rafting companies for specific details.
Once on the river, let the thrills begin! Count on a spectrum of rapids to keep your excursion lively from start to finish, everything from bumpy Class I ripples to turbulent Class III and IV whitewater. As a bonus, unique to Glenwood Springs, natural hot springs become accessible at certain times of the season along the Colorado River. Guides often make a stop to allow visitors to take a dip. The geothermal water is ideal for a quick warm-up before continuing down-river.
Best Colorado Fishing
There aren’t too many places located at the intersection of two waterways—Glenwood Springs is one of the few making it a natural destination for Colorado fly fishing. With water tumbling fresh from the high country, the Colorado River and the Roaring Fork River are the perfect habitats for a thriving population of trout—brookies, browns, cutthroats and rainbows.
Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a newbie looking to get started in the sport, Glenwood Springs is home to some of the best fly fishing in Colorado. The region is known for its Gold Medal waters; a designation awarded by the Colorado Wildlife Commission. These areas are top spots to catch mammoth-sized trout, typically 14-inches or larger. Of Colorado’s 9,000 miles of trout streams, only 322 miles qualify for the signature designation, many of them in the vicinity of Glenwood Springs.
As for the best locations to cast a line, Glenwood Springs is fishing-friendly with access along both the Colorado and Roaring Fork Rivers. You’ll find plenty of places for shore fishing and wading via the Rio Grande Trail, a riverside paved path that connects Glenwood Springs to Aspen. For more fishing holes to plumb, the Glenwood Canyon Recreation Path which extends through Glenwood Canyon is another go-to source for anglers. However, for a catch that is practically guaranteed, connect with local fishing guides who also have access to private lakes and streams. For a one-on-one experience, book a personal or small group full or half-day float or wade trip.
When fishing in Glenwood Springs, remember to purchase and carry your Colorado fishing license with you and take care to ensure you’re fishing on public land and not private property.
Best Colorado Skiing
For a Colorado ski vacation that will give parents and kids something to cheer about, Sunlight Mountain Resort in Glenwood Springs is affordable for families, mountain-town friendly and offers a wide range of terrain for beginners to expert skiers and riders. Sunlight truly is one of the best family ski resorts in Colorado!
Right out of the gate, what sets Sunlight Mountain apart from other Colorado ski areas are its lift ticket prices which remain affordable versus conglomerate-owned resorts where prices can skyrocket into triple digits! Sunlight Ski Swim Stay packages have become a skiing lifeline for active families. Not only does the package include lift tickets to Sunlight Mountain with kids 12 and younger skiing free with paying adults, but it also includes local lodging and swimming at the world-famous Glenwood Hot Springs Pool. Another bottom-line perk: there are no hidden fees or expenses. Parking at Sunlight Mountain is always free, the food at the lodge is reasonably priced and when you sign your kids up for ski school it won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
As a local resort, frequented by people who actually live in Glenwood Springs, Sunlight is the ultimate friendly ski resort. Unpretentious and welcoming, your crew will feel like they belong from the moment they arrive until the last run of your family ski vacation.
As for the slopes, Sunlight Mountain Resort provides an ideal mix of terrain that keeps everyone from snow bunnies to experts entertained all day long. With 730 acres of skiable terrain and 72 trails, there’s plenty of room to find your personal sweet skiing spot whether you like groomers, bumps or steeps. The mountain is broken up into trails that are approximately 20 percent beginner slopes, 55 percent intermediate and 25 percent experts-only. If, like many families, everyone in your brood is at a different ability level, you can send them off on their own without worrying about them getting lost. All the trails at Sunlight converge at the base lodge for easy, hassle-free meetups.
For those in your group who don’t downhill, there’s no need to feel lodge-bound. Sunlight offers other outdoor options. Spend a few hours snowshoeing on the resort’s free and extensive trail system in Babbish Gulch or sign up for a guided snowmobiling excursion into the backcountry.
The Best of Colorado is Waiting for You in Glenwood Springs
Delve into the Best of Colorado on your next Glenwood Springs vacation. Learn more and make plans to visit today!