Glenwood Springs is a 45 minute drive from Snowmass Village west
on Highway 82. It is at Exit 114 on I70. The town is most famous
for its hot springs and vapor caves. But we usually only drive there
for the shopping! There's a Wal-Mart and a newly opened Lowes, Target
and Bed, Bath and Beyond. Yeah!
Last summer Barbara's sister and brother-in-law, Colleen and Mark
Sticht, were visiting from Buffalo. So
we decided to take a rafting trip down the Colorado River thru Glenwood
Canyon which parallels I70 heading towards Denver out of Glenwood
Springs. We did this in August when the river was not as high so
it was more of a float trip, with only a short section classified
as a level 3 rapid. Earlier in the summer it is a level 4 river.
Our ride was with Rock Gardens Rafting and lasted about 2 hours.
It was a wonderful trip, thru magnificent scenery - only wish we
had brought a camera on the raft. Our guide pointed out many interesting
things along the way including several "secret" hot spring
rafting ticket included a visit to the Glenwood Caverns Adventure
Park which was also a pleasant surprise. We took the 4300 ft long
Iron Mountain Tramway to the top where there is a restaurant, trails,
cavern and a few amusement rides. The views from the tram and at
the top were worth the price of admission alone. We
took the 1 hour Cave Tour thru a fairly pristine cavern with some
interesting lighting. The cave is a constant 52 degrees which was
a welcome relief from the heat that day. There is also a 3 hour
wild tour offered for the adventurous where you crawl thru other
parts of the cave like the early explorers.
is a bobsled ride on rails that winds partway down the mountain,
providing thrills and great views. An even more exciting ride was
the Swing Shot which shoots you out over the cliff for a view of
Glenwood Canyon below.
is a great bike path that runs thru Glenwood Canyon from Glenwood
Springs east for 13 miles. It parallels I-70 and sometimes even
runs beneath it all along the river. Although
basically a flat, paved trail, going east you do travel up river
so you are on a gradual uphill grade. But the views are terrific
and coming back you can coast.
Part way up the canyon is probably one of the most beautiful and
popular hiking trails - the Hanging Lake Trail. It's
a strenuous hike - you climb about 1200 ft in a little over a mile.
Our friends Dwight and Mollie Mathias joined us for the trip - it
took us about 2 hours to reach the lake, with many stops for breath
and pictures. The trail follows one of the side canyons along a
flowing river with dozens of waterfalls. The
boy scouts have done a great job on the trail, carving steps into
the rocks and building bridges over the water.
steepest section near the top even has handrails to help you - most
necessary when coming back down. But all that work is definitely
worth it as Hanging Lake is like a Garden of Eden.The
water is so clear you can easily see the trout swimming in it -
too bad there's no fishing allowed. But its a great spot for a picnic.
above the lake is Spouting Rock where a huge waterfall comes out
of an opening in the cliff.
The hike back down is easier but still tricky - hiking poles are
definitely in order as well as sturdy shoes.
To view more photos from this area click here: Glenwood
Descriptions Photos Map