A quick getaway awaits in Glenwood Springs

No tourist’s visit to Glenwood Springs is complete without a trip to the hot springs.

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No tourist’s visit to Glenwood Springs is complete without a trip to the hot springs.

For anyone seeking a shot of adrenaline, the Glenwood Springs area is increasingly offering a fix.

Long a rafting mecca, the city a few years ago enhanced the opportunities for thrills and spills on the Colorado River with the installation of a whitewater park with a wave feature that now regularly draws enthusiasts from outside Colorado.

Last summer, Glenwood Canyon Resort began offering rides on three, 350-foot-long zip lines across the river.

This year, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is adding a 625-foot-long mountain zip line ride to its stable of thrill rides, which include an alpine coaster, a giant swing that launches over Glenwood Canyon and, new this year, a bungee jump. All that goes along with other family fun such as laser tag, a climbing wall and a maze, not to mention tours of the largest show cave open to the public in Colorado.

Indeed, Glenwood Caverns has come far as a Glenwood Springs tourism destination since opening to the public in 1999.

“The (Glenwood Hot Springs) pool is obviously our number one attraction. The caverns are right there at number two. It’s really grown over time,” said Lindsey Lewis, vice president of tourism marketing for the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association.

No tourist’s visit to Glenwood Springs is complete without a trip to the hot springs. In fact, most visits center on it. The historic attraction includes a 405-foot-long, 90-degree-Fahrenheit main pool for playing and a smaller, hotter pool for soaking.

Other opportunities for relaxation in Glenwood Springs include the hot springs-heated Yampah Spa Vapor Caves. And this year, the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts is offering Summer of Music, a free weekly Wednesday night concert that picks up where the long-successful Glenwood Springs Summer of Jazz left off when it ended last year after 25 years.

The popular Glenwood Vaudeville Revue will open its summer program May 27, with skits, music and lots of laughs.

Another draw for locals and tourists alike is Strawberry Days, which at 114 years one of the longest-running festivals west of the Mississippi River. Strawberry Days is set for June 17–19. But increasingly, the city seeks to appeal to the adventurous among its visitors.

On May 21, the Merrell Oyster Racing Series returned to Glenwood Springs, mixing traditional endurance sports with offbeat activities that include making use of local tourist attractions.

While it’s too late to participate in that event this year, the Adventure Xstream Race (http://www.gravityplay.com) returns Sept. 10.

And on June 11-12, the 2011 Rocky Mountain Surf Festival, centered on the Whitewater Stand Up Paddling Championship, will be held on the Colorado River. It will feature the whitewater park, thus appealing to thrill-seekers and spectators alike.

“I think with some of these new events that we’ve strategically brought here to town, I think they’re sort of gaining momentum. It’s great to give us just a (few) more things to promote Glenwood,” Lewis said.

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Where to bike: The Glenwood Canyon bike path shows off the vertical grandeur of the canyon as cyclists pedal along the raging Colorado River.

The Rio Grande paved trail heading south to Carbondale and Aspen is a newer attraction that’s a big hit with locals.

Where to fly-fish: The Roaring Fork River is state-designated Gold Medal fly-fishing waters. The Colorado River likewise lures many an angler.

Where to boat: Several companies offer guided rafting trips on the Colorado River in Glenwood Canyon and on the Roaring Fork River. Flat-water boating and fishing can be found on Harvey Gap and Rifle Gap reservoirs in western Garfield County.

Don’t miss this: It’s crowded in the summer, particularly on weekends, but for good reason.

Hanging Lake Trail, one of the most popular trails in the Glenwood Springs area, treats hikers to the splendor of an emerald lake perched high up Glenwood Canyon.


Where to bike: Ridgway offers single and double track trails connecting the town with Ridgway State Park. Info: http://www.ridgwaytrails.com.

Where to camp: The Uncompahgre National Forrest has 14 developed campgrounds including Matterhorn, near Telluride and the amphitheater overlooking Ouray.

Camping at Ridgway State Park also is available. Info: http://www.forestcamping.com/dow/rockymtn/unc.htm.

Where to hike: For those seeking unprecedented views, Yankee Boy Basin, west of Ouray offers high altitude hiking within the San Juan Wilderness. Mount Sneffels, one of Colorado’s 14ers also is accessible from Yankee Boy basin.

For an extreme challenge, hike the trail connecting Ouray to Telluride.

For a less strenuous hike, try the Box Canyon Falls Park, located at the end of Third Avenue in Ouray. Info: http://www.ouraycolorado.com.

Where to boat: Boaters can find floating bliss on the Ridgway Reservoir in the Ridgway State Park or through a day trip on the San Miguel River near Telluride. Information about Ridgway Reservoir can be found at http://www.parks.state.co.us/parks/ridgway. Information about the San Miguel River can be found at http://www.visittelluride.com.

Where to golf: Enjoy 18 holes at Telluride Ski and Golf Resort, 565 Mountain Village Blvd., in Mountain Village or at Divide Ranch and Club, 105 Badger Trail North, northwest of Ridgway. Call 970-728-6900 for tee times at Telluride and 970-626-5284 for tee times at Divide.

Where to fish: Catch rainbow and brown trout from the San Miguel or Ridgway Reservoir. Info: http://www.parks.state.co.us/parks/ridgway, http://www.telluridefishing.com.

Where to climb: The Pool Wall area, located on the northeast border of Ouray and Sandias is a great place to climb.

Ophir, located just minutes southwest of Telluride also features rock-climbing opportunities on its famed Ophir Wall. Info: http://www.visittelluride.com.

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