Top Things to Do in Glenwood Springs That You Can’t Miss

From white water rafting adventures to relaxing hot springs there are plenty of things to do in Glenwood Springs.
Dazzling cliff walls and the roaring Colorado River make up the unique landscapes of Glenwood Canyon. There really isn’t a place quite like Glenwood Springs in Colorado.

Thanks to the easy access from I-70, the town has become quite popular with locals and tourists alike. With so many fun Glenwood Springs activities, there’s plenty to keep you occupied for a weekend.

I’ve lived in Colorado for over 13 years and it’s my mission to get you to travel like a local, not a tourist. When it comes to the top Glenwood Springs attractions, I’ve got you covered with this local list of activities.

About this Guide to Things to Do in Glenwood Springs

Inside this guide to things to do in Glenwood Springs, Colorado you’ll get expert advice about:

  • The best time to visit Glenwood Springs
  • How long to visit
  • Where is Glenwood Springs
  • The best things to do in Glenwood Springs
  • Places to eat
  • Where to stay
  • Nearby attractions

When is the Best Time to Visit Glenwood Springs?

Glenwood Springs is open year-round, but the most pleasant time to visit is summer and fall. Summer has the warmest weather, although afternoon thunderstorms are common. It’s also the most crowded so expect to pay higher prices.

Fall is a great time to visit Glenwood Springs if you’re into fall foliage. With a lot of nearby scenic fall drives in Colorado, it’s a great place to base yourself for a fall adventure.

Winters are another great time to visit if you’re looking for a weekend trip from Denver. You can soak in relaxing hot springs, enjoy some hikes, and take in the snowy scenes. Winter is also the least crowded time to visit.

Spring is another good time to visit Glenwood Springs – especially later after the snow has melted off a bit. Glenwood Springs is one of the most beautiful places in Colorado during the month of May when the vegetation starts to turn bright green and the canyon comes to life.

How Long to Visit Glenwood Springs?

There are a lot of things to do in Glenwood Springs. You may find yourself coming back for different seasons to see all that’s on offer. With limited time, you can still get a full flavor for the area, so don’t stress.

If you’re passing through on a Colorado road trip, you can see plenty of things in one day in Glenwood Springs.
A long weekend is best since you’ll have two days to explore a few of the top places to visit in Colorado that call Glenwood home. Make the most of this iconic Colorado weekend getaway with an adventurous hike or dip in the river, followed by a relaxing hot springs session.

Three full days will let you see pretty much everything and enjoy a few of the attractions near Glenwood Springs too.

best things to do in glenwood springs

Where is Glenwood Springs?

Glenwood Springs is located in the heart of Glenwood Canyon, right along I-70 past Vail and Avon but before Rifle if you’re heading from Denver. It’s a great stop in between many of the top mountain towns in Colorado and nearby Grand Junction – home to the Colorado National Monument.

How Far is Glenwood Springs from Denver?

It’s about a 2 hour and 45-minute drive from downtown Denver to Glenwood Springs (without traffic). It’s a 157-mile journey one way on highways.

Local Tip: On weekends, especially in winter and summer, budget at least an extra hour to accommodate for mountain traffic.

The Best Things to Do in Glenwood Springs

Whether you want to chill out or have an epic adventure, you’ll find a huge variety of fun things to do in Glenwood Springs. Home to some of the most unique things to do in Colorado, you won’t be bored with these Glenwood Springs activities.

Soak in the Hot Springs

Since it’s right in the name, one of the most popular Glenwood Springs attractions is the hot springs. There are two options for some soaking time – Iron Mountain Hot Springs and Glenwood Hot Springs – and they are some of the best hot springs in Colorado.

Iron Mountain Hot Springs is located right along the Colorado River and offers a variety of different pools at different temperatures. While the setting isn’t quite as serene as undeveloped hot springs, the river views are great and the vibe is more adult-oriented with a bar offering cocktails, beer, and wine. On the other hand, Glenwood Springs is more family-friendly, featuring a big pool and water slides.

  • Cost: $26-36
  • Season: Year-Round

Stomp Around on Snowshoes

Enjoy one of the great Glenwood Springs activities and explore the winter wonderland of the area by snowshoeing. You can snowshoe on many of the popular hiking trails, and there are several trails that are designed especially for snowshoeing.

Snowshoeing is one of the most fun things to do in Colorado in the winter besides ski, and Sunlight Mountain Resort offers a network of trails for snowshoeing, including Babbish Gulch. Also, Old Four Mile Road is closed to vehicles in the winter and then gets periodically groomed, making it a good snowshoeing option.

  • Cost: Free ($25-30/day for snowshoe rentals)
  • Season: Winter

Hike to Hanging Lake

As one of the most famous Colorado hikes, you can’t miss the Hanging Lake hike. This place is a literal fairy tale landscape. Imagine tranquil waters with trickling waterfalls nestled into the side of epic canyon walls.

This easy to moderate climb goes up 1,187 feet in elevation (don’t worry, there are plenty of places to rest) and is 3.1 miles round-trip. The entire experience takes around 1.5 – 2 hours depending on how much time you spend at the lake.

You’ll need an advanced reservation to hike and even park in the lot. Reservations are strictly enforced and you can’t access the park outside of reservation times. The best way to beat the crowds is to snag the first-morning spot on a weekday.

Local Tip: Hanging Lake was seriously damaged by mudslides and flooding in the summer of 2021 and is currently closed indefinitely for restoration. Fingers crossed it opens again soon.

  • Cost: $12 permit fee
  • Season: Spring-Fall
glenwood springs colorado activities

Take a Stunning Scenic Drive

One of the best things to do in Colorado is hit the road on a scenic drive. There are a few notable scenic drives near Glenwood Springs that are well worth a visit.

A lot of people from out of town find I-70 through Glenwood Canyon to be a scenic drive. Recent landslide activity has made this drive a powerful experience, as the mud is still piled up along the roadways, showing you just how unforgiving nature can be.

However, for more secluded scenery check out some of these top scenic drives in Colorado found right near Glenwood:

  • Flat Tops Trail Scenic Byway
  • West Elk Loop
  • McClure Pass
  • Yampa Bench Road (rugged dirt road or gravel)
  • Cost: Free
  • Season: Year-Round (but some roads close in winter)

Have an Adventure in Glenwood Caverns

You shouldn’t miss Glenwood Cavern, one of the top attractions in Glenwood Springs, which also happens to be the only mountain-top theme park in the country! The adventure park includes a gondola, an alpine rollercoaster, and cave tours. In warmer weather, you’ll find even more rides, including a canyon swing, a mining wheel, and a zip line.

This unique theme park is a really fun way for the whole family to spend a day in Glenwood Springs.

  • Cost: $21-49
  • Season: Year-Round

Solve an Escape Room

Test your brainpower and teamwork with a visit to the Glenwood Escape Room. You can choose from three different themed rooms to escape in under an hour. The completion rate is under 50% so it’s definitely a challenge!

  • Cost: $29/person (reservations are required)
  • Season: Year-Round

Navigate the Rapids on a Raft

If walking along the Colorado River isn’t enough fun for you, get on a raft and go through the rapids! Several guiding companies offer rafting trips from chill floats to heart-racing whitewater.

You can join a guided group on a raft or paddle an inflatable kayak called a duckie for one of the best things to do in Glenwood Springs for adrenaline junkies.

Check out Whitewater Rafting, Glenwood Adventure, or Raft Defiance to book an adventure on the water.

  • Cost: $50-104
  • Season: Summer
glenwood sprins activities

Ski the Slopes at Sunlight Mountain

Sunlight Mountain is smaller than the big ski resorts, but that means you can avoid the massive crowds and crazy prices – it’s definitely one of the cheapest ski resorts in Colorado!

The mountain has 72 runs and averages about 250 inches of snow per year. It’s an excellent place to learn to ski, with affordable ski lessons and mostly beginner to intermediate terrain.

  • Cost: $59-70
  • Season: Winter

Pose with Public Art

Scattered throughout downtown Glenwood Springs, you’ll find Glenwood Wings! These murals of butterfly and angel wings were painted by local artists and are designed to be photographed. Most of the wings are located along 7th & 8th Streets, and you can find a map of all the wings here.

  • Cost: Free
  • Season: Year-Round

Stroll Through Downtown

The Colorado River runs through the cute downtown area of Glenwood Springs. You can take a leisure walk along the river then detour through the streets to shop the local boutiques, then take a break at one of the many delicious restaurants along Seventh Street. Head to Slope & Hatch for tasty tacos and Coney or Chicago-style hot dogs, or go a little more western upscale at Colorado Ranch House.

  • Cost: Varies
  • Season: Year-Round
Things to do in Glenwood Springs Colorado

Saddle Up for Horseback Riding

Explore Glenwood Canyon in a unique way on horseback! Even if you’ve never ridden a horse before, several companies offer horseback rides with no experience necessary.

As you ride along, you’ll see beautiful flora and fauna, including wildflowers in the summer and golden aspens in the fall.

  • Cost: $110
  • Season: Summer & Fall

Soar Through the Sky by Tandem Paragliding

Fly like a bird and take in the views as you soar through the sky on a tandem paragliding adventure. Adventure Paragliding offers flights several times a day in the summer (weather permitting) offering an incredible airborne adventure.

You will fly with a certified US Hang Gliding instructor, so you don’t need any prior experience to take flight.

  • Cost: $199
  • Season: Summer

Go for a Hole-in-One on the Golf Course

If you like to hit the links, golfing is one of the best things to do in Glenwood Springs. There are a couple of golf courses near Glenwood Springs, so you can choose between Glenwood Springs Golf Club and Ironbridge Golf Club or tee up at both.

Glenwood Springs Golf Club is a no-frills, affordable 9-hole golf course, while Ironbridge offers a full 18-hole course and more amenities (along with significantly higher greens fees).

  • Cost: $20-149
  • Season: Spring-Fall

Pedal Along the Bike Paths

You’ll find a plethora of bike paths in Glenwood Springs, which is the only town in Colorado to be named a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists.

You can pedal the paved Rio Grande Trail along the Roaring Fork River all the way to Aspen or ride the Glenwood Canyon Recreation Trail through the Canyon along the Colorado River.

Mountain bikers can shred the Grandstaff Trail on Red Mountain or head through the meadows on the Babbish Trail which offers views of Sunlight Mountain.

Boy Scout is a single-track trail that ends near the downtown dining district if you work up an appetite on your ride.

  • Cost: Free
  • Season: Spring-Fall
things to do in Glenwood Springs

Relax in the Yampah Vapor Caves

Take your relaxation to another level underground in Vapor Caves at the Yampa Spa. The caves feature natural mineral water steam baths where you can relax on marble benches and deeply inhale the steam vapor. You can also soak in mineral baths to relieve muscle tension and melt away stress.

To truly indulge, you can add spa treatments to your visit to the Yampah Vapor Caves. Choose from massages, nail treatments, facials, and more to leave the caves feeling truly rejuvenated.

  • Cost: $17-47 (additional fees for spa services)
  • Season: Year-Round

Cast a Line & Go Fly-Fishing

Glenwood Springs features prime fly-fishing in the Gold Medal Waters of the Roaring Fork Valley. Whether you’re an experienced angler or brand new to fishing, lots of local outfitters can provide gear, guides, and everything you need to catch a variety of fish.

The Colorado and Roaring Fork Rivers are full of rainbow trout as well as brookies, browns, and cutthroats. Explore some alpine lakes in Colorado in the Flat Tops of the White River National Forest where you’ll find lake trout, bass, bluegill, northern pike, walleye, and more.

  • Cost: Varies
  • Season: Year-Round

Take a Snowmobile Tour

Along with skiing, Sunlight Mountain Resort offers snowmobile tours to check out the high country and awesome views of Mt. Sopris and the Elk Range.

You can take a short and sweet one-hour ride through the White River National Forest, or go on a more adventurous 2.5-hour ride with mountain views and time to play in the Baylor Park backcountry.

For the ultimate snowmobile experience, you can even go on an overnight tour to Electric Mountain Lodge, 50 miles away in Paonia. You can also book custom tours if you have a different itinerary in mind.

  • Cost: $149-299 ($750 for lodge tour)
  • Season: Winter

Hike to History at Doc Holliday’s Grave

For an Old West hiking experience, hit the trail to Doc Holliday’s Grave. Buried in Linwood Cemetery, Doc Holliday was an 1880’s gunslinger who succumbed to tuberculosis in Glenwood Springs. You’ll often find little mementos left on his grave marker.

Along the trail, you can also pay a visit to Annie’s Wishing Tree and make your own wish. Clocking in at less than a mile out & back with about 200 feet of elevation gain, the Doc Holliday Grave Trail makes for a quick jaunt to experience the history of Glenwood Springs along with sweeping views of the whole town.

  • Cost: Free
  • Season: Year-Round

Things to Do Near Glenwood Springs

Glenwood Springs is a great home base for exploring other areas in Colorado. A few notable side trips include:

  • The Flat Tops Wilderness
  • Exploring Grand Junction, Fruita, and the Colorado National Monument
  • Hitting up one of the best hikes in Vail
  • Spending the day in nearby Carbondale

Where to Stay

Glenwood Springs has a host of hotel options catering to a variety of budgets. The La Quinta Inn is a popular budget-friendly spot.

For those that want a bit more of a splurge, the Hotel Glenwood Springs and the Hot Springs Lodge are great options in stellar locations.

AirBnBs are a popular choice as well.

For camping, you’ll have to go a little further outside of town. If you’re savvy with finding free camping, there are a few places worth checking out near Glenwood Springs. Nearby campgrounds include the Elk Creek Campground and Lakeview Campground.

Where to Eat

All of these things to do in Glenwood Springs will have you building up quite the appetite. Satisfy your hunger with these delicious eateries.

  • Sweet Coloradough: coffee, donuts, deli. $
  • Slope and Hatch: Tacos. $$
  • The Daily Bread: Breakfast and brunch. $$
  • Rocky Mountain Pizza. $$

Additional Colorado Travel Resources

Traveling to Colorado? Be in the know with these local resources:

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Meg aka Fox is a 30-something who's born to explore. Her mission is to get you out on your greatest adventure. She'd rather be dirty than done up.