Glenwood Springs, Colorado is as close to our home as Vail, Colorado is. We frequent this historic town often on day trips. There are really so many fun things to do in Glenwood Springs with kids!
Our daughter has celebrated many birthdays at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. And, the hot springs are always a great way to relax. While tourists think of visiting Vail and Aspen, Glenwood Springs is something of a hidden gem. It offers a deep history and surprisingly is a fun place to visit with kids. Here are all of our favorite things to do in Glenwood Springs!
Glenwood Springs Location
Located approximately midway between Aspen and Vail or 160 miles west of Denver, Glenwood Springs is set in the canyons of the majestic Rocky Mountains at an altitude of 7,000 feet. As so many other Colorado Mountain towns, Glenwood Springs is known for its plethora of outdoor activities. In fact, many of these activities are free things to do.
Hike Hanging Lake
One of the most famous waterfall hikes in Colorado is located in the Glenwood Canyon. This hike became so popular that now you must actually make reservations and take a shuttle to the trailhead during the popular summer months. If you go during the winter you just need a permit. Hanging Lake is a hidden oasis. A not-to-long, but fairly vigorous hike leads to spectacular waterfalls that pour into an emerald green lake.
I did make my daughter hike Hanging Lake Trail with me once. But now it is annual tradition for me to hike it solo for my birthday. It is a way for me to get ready for summer and to kick my body into hiking shape. The reward is in the views when you reach the top.
Note that dogs are not allowed on the Hanging Lake Trail. If you want to take your dog along, you might try Grizzly Creek Trail instead. While not as spectacular as Hanging Lake it ides offer views of the river and other waterfalls.
Insider Tip: There are several great Glenwood Springs hiking trails.
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
As the park boasts, your biggest challenge will be how to pack it all in. The Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park features cave tours, a gondola ride, the longest alpine coaster in Colorado, a giant swing, laser tag, 4D motion theater, mountain-top dining and much more. The peaceful gondola ride up to the park and many of the thrilling rides showcase stunning views of Glenwood Springs.
Visit the Hot Springs
There are a few hot springs options located in Glenwood Springs. The Ute Indians were the first known people to use the hot springs here. The Utes named the spring Yampah, which translates to “Big Medicine.” They used the hot springs to fortify themselves before battle, for healing and spiritual enlightenment.
Glenwood Hot Springs Pool is the largest hot springs pool in the United States. and was first opened to the public on July 4, 1888. It is known for its large pool filled with mineral waters. But they recently added the Sopris Splash Zone which adds so much fun for families. From a splash pad and water slides to the ultimate Colorado-themed water ride it is so much fun for families.
Iron Mountain Hot Springs offers 16 thermal mineral pools for soaking (98 to 103 degrees) plus a large family pool that is kept between 90-95 degrees (cooler than the other tubs). So, while not offering as many kid-friendly options as Glenwood Hot Springs Pool it is still fun for the entire family. Mom and dad will certainly enjoy getting away to the soaking tubs with views of the river.
Glenwood Canyon Bike Ride
The Colorado River cuts through the spectacular Glenwood Canyon, And, some smart person planned and built a bike bath along the river. The Glenwood Canyon bike trail is beautiful, and it is a smooth ride for family members of all ages. This is a fun way to spend an afternoon. Bike along the river while watching the rafters and listening to the sounds of the water.
Hike to Doc Holliday’s Grave
Glenwood Springs boasts an interesting history intertwined with railroads, gangsters and the gold rush. Doc Holliday was a dentist turned gambler and gunslinger who came to Glenwood Springs with the hope that the hot springs would offer him a cure. It didn’t. He died from tuberculosis in Glenwood Springs in November of 1887.
While I never need an excuse to hike, the story behind this hike may make it more fun for the kids. You will be able to take in some beautiful views along the way.
Located just south of Glenwood Springs, Sunlight Mountain Resort is family-friendly, affordable ski mountain. Sunlight Mountain offers Sunlight excellent snow, terrain perfect for intermediate skiers and almost zero crowds on weekdays. It makes our list of the most affordable resorts to learn to ski in Colorado.
Other Favorite Things to Do Around Glenwood Springs
Daytrip over to Redstone, Colorado about a half hour away. Not only is this a beautiful area, but the whole town is on the National Register of Historic Places, and there’s a castle to check out.