Glenwood Springs Area Guide
Are you and your group planning a trip to Glenwood Springs, Colorado? From our own travels, we know quite a bit goes into trip planning, and there are definitely different approaches to preparation. Do you plan every moment in advance or leave some room for spontaneity? It’s quite the dilemma! Whether you have visited Glenwood Springs once or are planning your annual family vacation to the mountains, we hope this post can be a guide you can reference as you plan your trip!
Best Activities in Glenwood Springs
As we mentioned in our earlier post detailing all of the Best Things to do in Glenwood Springs, there is no shortage of things to do during a long weekend (or more!) in our Rocky Mountain home. It is not uncommon for visitors to come to the area for a Glenwood Springs vacation and realize there is so much to see and do in the area. We hope that we can highlight some things to do in Glenwood Springs that will guarantee an unforgettable time!
Here are a few of our favorite things to do for outdoor fun:
- Take a Guided Rafting Trip with Defiance Rafting Company
- Find Freedom with a Watercraft Rental from Defiance River Outfitters
- Hike to Hanging Lake
- Fly Fish World-Class Rivers
- Bike through Glenwood Canyon
- Soar Through the Air on a Paragliding Flight
Photo courtesy of Defiance Rafting Company
One of the best things to do in Glenwood Springs is cool down on the river with a commercial rafting tour. We invite you to visit us at Defiance Rafting Company to spend some time with us on the Colorado River! Our trips vary from family-friendly floats to splashy adrenaline-rushed class III-IV rapids. At Defiance, we work to make it easy-peasy lemon squeezy for you to book the perfect experience for your crew and include all river gear at no extra cost. Kick back and relax on the river or get ready for big splashy whitewater fun during your Glenwood Springs vacation!
Inflatable kayaks on the Colorado River.
Find Freedom with a Defiance River Outfitters Rental
For the free birds among us, rent an inflatable kayak (i.e., duckie), Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP), or raft from Defiance River Outfitters. Mid to late summer is the perfect time to get out on the river and be the captain of your own vessel. Enjoy the dog days of summer on your own schedule and allow Defiance River Outfitters to shuttle you to your adventure launch destination. We’ll take care of the outfitting, all you have to do is show up!
A favorite activity that attracts tourists from across the country is hiking to Hanging Lake. This pristine blue lake with waters flowing from Bridal Veil Falls is a fragile ecosystem caused by a geological fault. Because of its unique ecosystem, the area was designated a National Natural Landmark in 2011 and is considered one of the most spectacular places to visit in Colorado. Although the trail to the lake is only over a mile, it is a steep and rocky climb, so make sure to pack good shoes and plenty of water. To preserve the beauty of its landscape, Hanging Lake reservations are required, and spots fill up quickly.
Glenwood Springs is home to world-class fly fishing on the Colorado, Roaring Fork, Crystal, and Frying Pan rivers. The Roaring Fork Valley offers nearly year-round fly fishing opportunities, and anglers have a chance to catch Brown and Rainbow Trout in the area. To get up-to-date fishing reports and fish with local guides who spend every day casting flies, consider booking a guided fishing trip with Hookers. You can also check out a fly fishing clinic to get started on creating your own fishing adventures!
Biking through the Glenwood Canyon or on trails throughout the Roaring Fork Valley is an excellent way to visit the area when traveling to Glenwood Springs on your next vacation. If you are traveling light or feeling spontaneous and want to feel the wind blowing through your hair, try a bike rental to take in breathtaking views of the area. Defiance Rafting, in partnership with Sunlight ski and bike, offers bike rentals by the hour, day, or longer. This is a great family-friendly activity. And to cover some ground, check out one of their E-bikes.
Have you ever dreamed of flying? See the Roaring Fork Valley from a new perspective, and check out Adventure Paragliding for some soaring fun! You can fly like an eagle, but with the security of having a US Hang Gliding Association (USHGA) certified instructor on a tandem paragliding flight. See breathtaking views of Mount Sopris and the Valley that are only available from up in the air!
Best Places to Eat in Glenwood Springs
Our list of things to do while visiting Glenwood Springs would not be complete without recommendations for dining in the area. The Glenwood Springs downtown is walkable and charming and offers a wide selection of restaurants to satisfy a wide range of culinary appetites. With so many great options, here are a few favorites when visiting the area on your next vacation.
- Slope and Hatch
- Casey’s Brewing (drinks only)
- Glenwood Canyon Brewpub (good for families)
- Colorado Ranch House
- Riviera Supper Club
- The Pullman
- Masala & Curry
If you’ve never considered the marriage between hot dogs and tacos, then I highly recommend you consider the match and visit the quaint eatery, Slope and Hatch. The menu offers unique tacos with a twist and gourmet hotdogs and hearty toppings. Located downtown, facing the Colorado River, this restaurant is a perfect grab-and-go option while you’re between adventures and need to satiate your hunger quickly. You can also grab your order and walk around the corner and dine at Casey Brewing’s taproom and enjoy some locally crafted, award-winning beer.
Our list of things to do in Glenwood Springs wouldn’t be complete without adding a local brewpub to the list. A downtown staple and kid-friendly establishment is the Glenwood Canyon Brewpub which was established in 1996. The menu offers an array of locally brewed beers as well as guest taps and offers classic pub fare for all different tastes. A beer and nachos are a great way to cap an afternoon on the river!
Located in Historic Downtown is the Riviera Supper Club. This classic was originally established in 1947, and in 2016 it was purchased by Phantom of the Opera Musical Director Jonathan Gorst and Chef Travis Owen. Enjoy outdoor seating in the heart of downtown while sipping on a glass of wine from their extensive wine and cocktail list. And make sure to sample the small plate options from their rotating menu. I recommend checking out Rivera’s Happy Hour specials too!
Just a block off the main drag in the Historic Downtown is Masala & Curry, offering Nepali and Indian cuisine. Food is made from scratch and uses spices from Nepal and India to create flavorful and aromatic dishes. The menu offers several vegetarian options and a spiciness range to match any palate. Dining options for eating in or carry-out are available and make a perfect way to close out a day of exploring!
Best Places to Stay in Glenwood Springs
- Glenwood Canyon Resort
- Hotel Denver
- Caravan Inn
When traveling to Glenwood Springs, there are many lodging options based on individual and family preferences. If you’re looking for a camping experience, there are options for couples, families, and large groups. You can never leave Glenwood Canyon and find cabins, tent camping, and RV sites along the Colorado River at Glenwood Canyon Resort. An added bonus is Defiance Rafting Company is located onsite as well as ziplining, aerial adventure, and the No Name Bar & Grill.
For a truly unique and historical perspective of the Glenwood Springs community, book a stay at the Hotel Denver in Glenwood’s historic downtown. From the moment you walk into the hotel built in 1915, you will feel the rich history of the community. Each room has a distinctive historical feel with a touch of modern flair. The location of the Hotel Denver is hard to beat and is within walking distance of many great shops, boutiques, and restaurants.
Hotel Colorado has been hosting guests since 1893. The historic hotel is located across the river from downtown Glenwood Springs, which is easily accessed via a pedestrian bridge over the Colorado River. It’s also close to Iron Mountain Hot Springs, Yampah Spa, and Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.
Things to Do with Kids in Glenwood Springs
Taking a trip with family in tow? Glenwood Springs offers planned or on-a-whim activities that you can do with the entire family. Here are our top recommendations on things to do with kids in the Glenwood Springs area!
- Doc Holliday’s Grave Site
- Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
- Glenwood Hot Springs Resort
- Glenwood Vaudeville Revue
If you’re hiking with little people and not sure if making the trek up Hanging Lake will happen, consider hiking to Doc Holliday’s Grave site in the Linwood Cemetery. The trailhead for this short hike is located near downtown Glenwood Springs and is a great excursion for the entire family. While the exact location of Doc Holliday’s grave is unknown, you can visit his grave marker and leave a memento. Doc Holliday came to Glenwood Springs hoping the natural hot springs would cure his tuberculosis; however, the dentist turned gambler and gunslinger died in 1887.
When traveling with kids, having lots of options for entertainment is key! A must-do while visiting Glenwood Springs with the family is visiting the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. This unique, mountain-topped theme park has enough entertainment for everyone to feel like a kid. Explore the two vastly different caves (Kings Row and Fairy Caves) on a guided tour and learn about the history of these natural wonders that date back to the 1890s. You can also find thrill-seeking rides that spin, drop, and fly you over the mountain edge and back!
If you’re looking for some natural hot springs time with the kiddos. Add Glenwood Hot Springs Resort to your list of activities while visiting the area. While there are other hot springs to choose from, the Glenwood Hot Springs Resort provides lots of splashy playing for kids. Built in 1888 as the world’s largest hot springs pool, the Glenwood Hot Springs pool has a rich history in Glenwood. Today, guests can use the diving board, tube down the Shoshone Chutes adventure river ride, throw footballs across the massive pool, or play in the splash zone area.
Be sure to check out the nightlife when vacationing in the area. If you like to laugh, add the Glenwood Vaudeville Revue to your list of things to do while in Glenwood Springs with kids. This family-friendly dinner theater offers entertaining skits, plays, musicals, dance numbers, and more. Check out productions for quality comedy relief when visiting the area.
We Hope You Enjoyed Our Comprehensive Glenwood Springs Area Guide!
Hoping to see a variety of scenery on your trip? Maybe you’re still considering other potential road trip destinations in Colorado. Traveling around the Centennial State is definitely the way to do that. We created a blog with itineraries for the Top 5 Road Trips From Denver. Check it out!