Hot springs town for outdoorsy types
Colorado’s lovely Glenwood Springs is a recreational paradise offering visitors relaxation and adventure. Located along the Colorado Hot Springs Loop between Aspen and Vail, the region is dotted with incredible scenery and a touch of Old West history. For this weary traveller, a long, leisurely soak in the magical waters of the iconic Glenwood Hot Springs Resort is the highlight of a visit to an area that is packed with outstanding experiences.
The enormous hot spring pool is the size of a football field and the steamy waters, packed with 15 naturally occurring minerals, have been bubbling up from the earth’s core for millions of years. For those looking for a little action instead of relaxation, the historic resort also has water slides and a kids’ pool. Me? I’ll be kicking back right here in the therapy pool, which has been reviving and renewing tired muscles since the Ute Native Americans first discovered its therapeutic benefits.
To make the most of our visit we stayed at the atmospheric Hotel Colorado, the Grand Dame of the Rockies, just a two-minute walk to the hot springs. Once frequented by the likes of the ‘Unsinkable’ Molly Brown and Theodore Roosevelt, guests can stay in suites inspired by its famous guests. Book early to nab the suite where President Roosevelt once addressed an audience of attentive listeners from the balcony. There’s also a multi-room tower suite filled with rare photographs and Titanic-related items in honour of Brown.
But there’s more to Glenwood Springs than its mineral-infused waters and grand hotels. Of course, you can access some of Colorado’s most iconic ski slopes in winter. But there’s plenty to keep the adrenalin pumping all-year round with hiking, biking, horseriding, skydiving and zip lining.
Climbing is also incredibly popular and visitors can scale the heights of Rifle Mountain Park or Glenwood Canyon’s mighty walls for the ultimate peak experience. Another popular summer pursuit is a white-water rafting adventure down along the Colorado River as it tumbles its way through the dramatic canyon setting to Glenwood Springs.
The vividly hued Hanging Lake is suspended on the edge of a cliff in Glenwood Canyon and another must-visit for adventure seekers. Reaching the stunning lake and falls requires some rigorous hiking, but your first sight of the geologic wonder makes it worth the effort.
If you’d prefer to get your thrills without the spills, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is just the ticket. This wild adventure park is America’s only mountain top theme park and, sitting at an altitude of more than 2000 metres, will leave you breathless for more than one reason.
The Adventure Park offers some of America’s most heart-stopping thrill rides: there’s the screamingly chilling Haunted Mine Drop; and a Giant Canyon Swing that launches those brave enough to ride it out over Glenwood Canyon, 400m above the Colorado River at 80km per hour. But when the thrills are done, there’s more to explore with a 70-minute guided cave tour through jaw-droppingly beautiful stalagmite- and stalactite-filled caverns and formations of Colorado’s biggest show cave. Afterwards, you can slip straight back into those restorative, muscle-melting waters, so you’re relaxed, recharged and ready for another day of mountain adventure.
For more information, visit colorado.com visitglenwood.com