Most travelers overlook this Colorado gem during the winter months, in favor of larger ski resort towns, such as Vail or Breckenridge. However, Glenwood Springs is an ideal destination to escape the winter crowds, while still enjoying all the favorite seasonal pastimes. Glenwood’s most popular attraction, its hot springs, are even cozier in the winter. Skiing in Sunlight is a local’s favorite, and snowmobiling the backcountry powder is sure to please.
1. Ski the Western Slope
67 crowdless ski trails await at Sunlight Mountain. This family favorite features 700 skiable acres and 2,000 feet of vertical, with 75% of the terrain rated beginner or intermediate. On the flip side, you can ride the steepest lift-served run in Colorado, named “The Heathen”. It’s one of several double black runs at Sunlight, and features a 52 degree slope. Experts will also love the tree skiing, some of Colorado’s top glades.
2. Explore Historic Downtown
Grand and Cooper Avenues and 7th and 11th Streets are lined with colorful shops and independently owned boutiques. An eclectic mix of retail includes bookstores, thrift stores, home décor, art galleries, trendy clothing, fine jewelry, a shoe shop, candle shop, quilt shop and candy stores. After perusing stop by Glenwood Springs Brewery, attached to Hotel Denver, for a cold craft beer and tasty American cuisine.
3. Snowmobile Your National Forest
Sunlight Mountain guides one of the best snowmobile tours in the state. The 1 hour/16 mile Family Tour winds from the Sunlight Lodge B&B into the White River National Forest, passing through tall evergreens and aspen groves. You’ll trek to Tri-County Point, where three Colorado counties meet. The 2.5 hour/30 mile Adventure Tour travels deep into the backcountry to Baylor Park, where riders get to rip around in a vast snowy meadow.
4. Heat up at the Springs
With three hot springs resorts in town, finding one will be easy. The most well known is the Glenwood Springs Pool, the largest of its kind in the world. You can spend the night at the Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge, which grants you inclusive access to their healing waters, or just visit for the day. Another fantastic option is Iron Mountain Hot Springs, home to sixteen pools overlooking the Colorado River. Last but not least, the Yampah Vapor Caves features three underground chambers heated by hot mineral waters through the cave floors at 125°F. You can also rent out private hot springs tubs filled with mineral water.
5. Take a Spa Day
Since the 1880s Glenwood Springs has been attracting visitors from across the globe for its restorative services. Each of the three hot springs in town offer spa services, including massages and body treatments. La Provence International Day Spa specializes in facials, massages, ashiatsu massage, waxing, and overall emotional and physical healing.
6. Hike to Hanging Lake
No matter the season, hikers can enjoy the splendor of Hanging Lake. While the winter brings snow-packed trails, it also alleviates the crowds, which is welcome at this normally packed attraction. Since the trail can be icy, preparation is imperative. Good hiking boots with traction, crampons if you got ’em, and hiking poles are recommended. Bring winter essentials including additional layers, flash light, gloves, hat, headlamp, food and water. There are no dogs permitted on the trail.
7. Colorado River Fishing
Year round, fly fishing is incredible around Glenwood Springs. The Colorado, Roaring Fork and Crystal rivers are all great places to catch some trout. Though spring through fall are the most popular times to fish, winter is known to many local anglers as the best time for success. The Roaring Fork River is Colorado’s longest stretch of Gold Medal Water.
8. Climb a Frozen Waterfall
Grab your ice axe and crampons for this icy, one-of-a-kind adventure. Beginners can take a guided ice climbing course with Glenwood Climbing Guides. You’ll learn proper skills and technique, before tackling your own iced-over waterfall.
9. Go Caving
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is home to one of the largest cave systems in the state, in addition to a full year round theme park. Discovered in the 1950s, these magnificent underground caverns were previously inaccessible to anyone except a hardy few cavers. Guided cave tours last about forty minutes and are appropriate for most fitness levels. Temperatures stay around 52° year round.
Visiting Glenwood Springs? Combine lodging with activities and save!