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Scenic view of Glenwood Springs in Spring

Still Going Strong: A Trio of Milestones Converge in Glenwood Springs

2024 is a big year for small-town Glenwood Springs. Three entities, all headliner contributors to the town’s status as a favorite vacation destination, are marking major milestones of 75, 50, and 25 years!

Some things only get better with age and nowhere is that truer than in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Three iconic community attractions are celebrating significant anniversaries. Amtrak’s California Zephyr which makes regular stops at the historic depot downtown is turning 75. Whitewater Rafting, LLC, one of Glenwood’s original rafting companies, hits the half-century mark at 50. Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, America’s only mountaintop theme park is partying like it’s 1999, celebrating its 25th birthday.

“Where else can you zip into town aboard the California Zephyr, then have a blast on vacation exploring Glenwood Springs from top to bottom—that is from the summit of Iron Mountain where Glenwood Caverns is located to rafting the rapids on the Colorado River at the bottom of Glenwood Canyon,” Director of Tourism for Glenwood Springs, Lisa Langer said. “Of course, there’s a lot to do in between!”

Amtrak’s California Zephyr

train in train station in front of hotel denverIt was General Motors executive Cyrus Osborn who in 1949 launched an innovative new passenger railcar fitted with a glass dome for riders to admire the all-around views as they chugged across the Western U.S. from Los Angeles to Chicago. Osborn’s inspiration for the design came during a visit to Glenwood Springs when he was awed by the stunning beauty of Glenwood Canyon’s cliffs chiseled by the Colorado River running alongside the tracks. The California Zephyr has gone through several iterations since then, but it’s still a popular transportation choice for those whose destination is Glenwood Springs.

Whitewater Rafting, LLC

family and guide in raft on the Colorado riverA Glenwood Springs rafting pioneer, Whitewater Rafting has been making a splash on the rafting scene since 1974. What started as a small endeavor run by the Larsson family became an all-hands-on-deck operation with patriarch Ken Larsson, his wife, and four kids all pitching in to keep up with the demand for high-energy river adventures. The company expanded from a small space in West Glenwood Springs to a warehouse and acreage big enough to accommodate seven school buses, a fleet of 50 rafts, and all the accompanying gear. Another Larson family with no relation to the prior, bought the company in 2012. Then, in 2022, the Larson’s sold to Thomas and Jenny Carter who continue to run thrilling whitewater rafting trips on the Colorado River. Book your trip today, rafting season in Glenwood Springs runs from April through September.

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

In 1999, Steve and Jeanne Beckley opened the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Little did they know then that their efforts to bring the beauty of the caves to the public would grow into an iconic Colorado visitor destination, drawing thousands annually to explore the spectacular caves and experience the park’s thrill rides. In 2005, the Park installed the Alpine Coaster, the first toboggan-style ride in the nation and it was an overwhelming hit with visitors. Since then, more thrill rides have come to play including the Giant Canyon Swing, Crystal Tower drop ride, and the Defiance Roller Coaster. To commemorate turning 25, the Adventure Park plans to “Party Like It’s 1999,” with festivities and events planned throughout the summer season.

As it celebrates these significant milestones, it’s evident that Glenwood Springs, named “Most Fun Town in America” by Rand McNally and USA Today in 2011, has only gotten more fun over the years. Get in on the action and make your summer vacation plans to visit today!

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Visit Glenwood Springs

We are pleased to announce the US Forest Service rebuild of the Hanging Lake Trail that is set to begin this spring will allow for hiking on a limited basis through the construction period. Reservations will be available weekly, with available hiking dates and times released every Tuesday at 8:00 am MDT. This system aims to streamline access to the trail during construction, while ensuring a smooth and enjoyable experience for all visitors.

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