Glenwood Springs: A Colorado Vacation Hot Spot

When you budget part of your Colorado vacation for a whitewater rafting trip on the Colorado River through Glenwood Canyon…

Glenwood Springs

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…be prepared to fork over a little more time to the neighboring hot spot of Glenwood Springs. But be warned, no matter what time of year you visit, there’s so much to do around Glenwood Springs that you could easily spend a big chunk of your vacation allowance there. 

Trying to sort through all the offerings can be a bit daunting, so we’ve organized a few of our favorite Glenwood Springs and Glenwood Canyon activities into three categories for you: Water Activities including River Sports and Hot Springs; Dryland Adventures; and Historic Sites.

River Sports: Glenwood Springs sits at an elevation of 5761 feet at the confluence of the Colorado and Roaring Fork Rivers, so from May through September, water sports like rafting, stand up paddleboarding and kayaking reign. If our Colorado River Shoshone Rafting Trip with its gorgeous views of Glenwood Canyon and fun, splashy Class III rapids ignites your excitement for more river sports,

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check out the Glenwood Whitewater Park and Activity Area  where kayakers and stand up paddle boarders practice their techniques while spectators watch on terraced seating.

If you want to take a kayak or stand up paddle board lesson, check out Alpine Kayak.

Hot Springs: After playing on the river, if you want to chill out in some warm water, there are three hot springs resorts that draws visitors to their healing waters and spa services year round. 

Glenwood Hot Springs Resort and Spa has two large pools. You can relax in the healing waters of the Therapy Pool ( 104°F) or splash around and swim laps in the bathwater temperatures (90° – 93°F) of what is considered the world’s largest hot springs pool .Both pools are fed by the Yampah hot spring which has been luring visitors to the area since 1888. 

Iron Mountain Hot Springs has sixteen geothermal soaking pools, a cooler freshwater pool, and is located right beside the Colorado River with fabulous views of the mountains.

At Yampah Spa: The Hot Springs Vapor Caves You can experience caverns, hot springs and history all at the same time here. Steam from hot springs fills three underground caverns where guests can relax and absorb healing mineral vapors.  

Dryland Adventures: If you’d prefer to keep your feet dry, here’s some fun ways to get your boots dirty:

Jeep Tours: Get way back in the mountains and experience majestic mountain views, wildlife, wildflowers, ghost towns and Colorado history with a Jeep Tour. Jeep Tours are a solid vacation investment because they can get people of all ages and abilities to stunning backcountry locations that would be difficult to reach otherwise. 

Hiking at Hanging Lake: If your boots are made for hiking, this stunning National Natural Landmark site in Glenwood Canyon is a short but steep 1.2 mile trail, but the views along the trail and on top make every step worthwhile.

Permits are required and during peak season (May 1-October 31) personal vehicles aren’t allowed at the trailhead so shuttles are available. Click here for more information on permits and shuttles.

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park: Originally billed as the Fairy Caves when it opened in 1895, the subterranean landscape of Colorado’s largest show cave will dazzle you with it’s stalactites and stalagmites.

Claustrophobic? No problem! Skip the cavern tours and enjoy seasonal rides including a roller coaster and canyon swing. This is a great destination for kids and adults who are young at heart. 

Glenwood Canyon Recreation Trail is 16.3 miles of paved trail that runs from Glenwood Springs through Glenwood Canyon to Dotsero. It’s ideal for walking, cycling, in-line skating as well as strollers and wheelchairs. Check out Canyon Bikes for bike rental.  They also have a shuttle service so you can ride one-way, downhill, the full length of the trail.

Glenwood Springs History For those enamored with Colorado History, check out these historic sites:

Doc Holliday: An outlaw. A dentist. A gunslinger. You can learn more about Glenwood Spring’s most colorful historic character at the Doc Holliday Museum You can also hike to his grave sight.

Hotel Colorado: Built in 1893 when the west was booming from gold and silver mining, this hotel has hosted Presidents William Howard Taft and Teddy Roosevelt. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The Unsinkable Molly Brown stayed here too. There’s even a suite named after her.

We know vacation time is a precious currency. We trust you’ll discover that rafting the Colorado River and exploring Glenwood Springs and Glenwood Canyon is vacation time well spent.



Timberline Tours is the Vail-area’s premier whitewater rafting and backcountry jeep tours outfitter, also offering stand up paddle board (SUP) and duckie river trips on Colorado’s Eagle, Colorado, and Arkansas Rivers. All of our guided trips are open to Vail, Colorado visitors, locals, families, and corporate groups.

To book your Vail, Colorado, adventure, call Timberline Tours at (970) 476-1414, or email us at