Enjoy Year-Round Activities in Glenwood Springs, Colorado


From hiking and biking trails to hot springs and watersports, it’s easy to see why this charming mountain town has become a popular year-round getaway.


  • Glenwood Springs provides scenic mountain views, numerous hiking and biking trails, exciting whitewater rafting, and relaxing hot springs.
  • The town lies at the confluence of the Colorado and Roaring Fork Rivers in the rugged White River National Forest, surrounded by soaring red rock cliffs and snow-capped peaks.

World-famous attractions like the Iron Mountain Hot Springs, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, and Sunlight Mountain Resort draw visitors from around the world, while the charming historic downtown offers boutique shopping, dining, and cultural sites. The area provides boundless opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, and other warm-weather pursuits, along with prime skiing and snowboarding once winter rolls around.

Throughout the year, Glenwood Springs hosts beloved events like the Strawberry Days Festival and the Glenwood Springs Autumn Festival, as well as a variety of concerts and performances at the Glenwood Vaudeville Revue Theater. Whether you’re seeking thrills, relaxation, inspiration, or rejuvenation, Glenwood Springs truly has something for everyone.

Local Experiences and Culture

Beyond the wealth of outdoor recreation available, Glenwood Springs also offers visitors a taste of authentic local culture through its charming downtown district. Quaint stores, galleries, restaurants, and historic hotels line the streets, many occupying beautifully preserved 19th-century buildings. Cultural attractions like the Frontier Historical Museum and Glenwood Vaudeville Revue stage allow a glimpse into the area’s past and present, while various tours explore topics from history to food and drink.

Annual events also showcase local traditions, particularly the beloved Strawberry Days Festival held each summer. Since 1897, the community has gathered to celebrate the strawberry harvest with parades, rodeos, concerts, craft fairs, and more. The event offers visitors the chance to sample regional flavors and purchase handmade wares while rubbing elbows with locals. Similarly, the Glenwood Springs Autumn Festival in the fall provides opportunities to experience mountain town hospitality through live music, seasonal food and drink specials, and pop-up markets with local artisans.

By fully immersing yourself in the culture of Glenwood Springs, you’ll gain meaningful connections and an appreciation for the storied history that shaped this rugged yet lively mountain community.

Outdoor Adventures

Of course, one of the biggest draws of Glenwood Springs is the abundance of outdoor recreation available right outside its doors. The iconic Hanging Lake Trail rewards hikers with one of the most jaw-dropping natural sights in the state, while mountain bikers flock to the Glenwood Canyon Bike Path and trails spidering Sunlight Mountain. The Colorado and Roaring Fork Rivers provide prime whitewater rafting through Shoshone Rapids and Slaughterhouse Falls, not to mention placid sections perfect for stand-up paddleboarding or kayaking.

For unparalleled vistas, the short hike to Hanging Lake Overlook or drive along Independence Pass allows you to soak in the surrounding peaks and valleys from on high. Grizzly Creek and the rest of the White River National Forest offer endless options for outdoor enthusiasts, with scenic byways like the Flat Tops Trail and West Elk Loop winding through the wilderness. Of course, once winter arrives, downhill and cross-country skiing take center stage at Sunlight Mountain Resort.

With so much natural beauty and adventure right at your fingertips, Glenwood Springs truly encapsulates the magic of the Rocky Mountains.

Seasonal Attractions

One of Glenwood Springs’s biggest appeals is that the recreational opportunities shift with the seasons, making it an ideal year-round getaway. As spring takes hold after the snow melts, whitewater rafting ramps up, and mountain wildflowers start popping up along hiking trails. Summer is prime time for outdoor activities, with long sunny days beckoning bikers, hikers, paddlers, and more into the surrounding peaks and valleys.

As the aspens start turning gold in September, locals and visitors alike flock to beloved lookouts and scenic drives to take in the dazzling fall foliage. Winter transforms the landscape once more, with downhill skiing taking center stage at Sunlight Mountain Resort. No matter when you visit, you’ll be greeted by stunning scenery and plenty of seasonal attractions.

The town’s beloved annual festivals also reflect the unique offerings of each season. Mid-June brings the Strawberry Days Festival, which celebrates the harvest with berry-themed treats and events. As the leaves start changing in September, the Glenwood Springs Autumn Festival ushers in the fall with live music, seasonal food, and drinks, gallery walks highlighting local artists, and more. Year-round, you can catch a show at the Glenwood Vaudeville Revue Theater for some good old-fashioned family fun.

Family-Friendly Offerings

With its stunning setting and wealth of recreational opportunities, Glenwood Springs is ideal for families looking to unplug and enjoy time outdoors. Kids love the hands-on activities available at the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, which takes you deep underground into glittering caves and mines. Families also flock to the area in winter to ski and tube at family-friendly Sunlight Mountain Resort.

When you need a break from the trails, try swimming laps or floating lazily down the giant waterslides at the massive Glenwood Hot Springs Pool. The historic pool’s warm mineral waters have drawn visitors for relaxation and rejuvenation since the late 19th century. For some rainy-day fun, check out the Frontier Historical Museum to let kids experience a recreated frontier town first-hand.

Many area restaurants also cater to families, with kids’ menus and casual settings. Try the smoked meats and picnic tables at Smoke Modern Barbeque or Colorado-style pizza at Rocky Mountain Pizza Company. With so many dining, lodging, and entertainment options tailored for groups with kids, Glenwood Springs makes vacationing with the whole family a breeze.

Accommodations and Dining

In Glenwood Springs, you’ll find many lodging options to suit different tastes and budgets. Historic hotels like the Hotel Denver offer classic charm and prime downtown locations. For luxury, check into an area resort like the Glenwood Hot Springs Resort or Hotel Colorado to enjoy lavish accommodations and amenities. Rental cabins and vacation homes also abound for those seeking a quiet alpine retreat, with companies like Glenwood Canyon Resort providing cozy spaces tucked into the wilderness.

Dining in Glenwood Springs highlights fresh regional ingredients with options spanning casual cafes to upscale eateries. Start your day right for breakfast with fluffy pancakes and eggs Benedict at longtime favorite The Bluebird Cafe. Locals flock to Grind for artisan sandwiches and caffeine fixes, while Smoke Modern Barbeque serves up melt-in-your-mouth brisket and ribs.

High-end establishments like The Pullman craft elaborate seasonal dishes, or you can keep things casual with brick-oven pizzas and pasta at Rocky Mountain Pizza Company. You’ll also find Mexican fare, burgers, Asian cuisine, and more dotted around town, not to mention sweet shops and ice cream stores aplenty.

Historical Sites and Education

Though the gorgeous mountain scenery steals the show these days, Glenwood Springs has a rich history dating back to the mid-1800s. Get better acquainted with the area’s past at the Frontier Historical Museum, which recreates a frontier town to walk through. Within the downtown district, the Hotel Colorado and other century-old buildings hearken back to the early days of tourism and development.

To delve further into the history and culture of Glenwood Springs, join a tour with a local guide. Companies lead educational jaunts through downtown focused on architecture, folklore, and even haunted happenings! Food tours offer samples at restaurants and shops while sharing local lore.

By exploring historic sites and learning about Glenwood Springs’ past, you’ll better understand the people, events, and traditions that shaped this beloved mountain community.

Planning Your Visit

Glenwood Springs offers mild weather and plenty to do all year, but late spring through early fall provides the most pleasant conditions for outdoor activities. Summers are mild, with highs around 80°F, but the busiest tourist seasons run from June through August and September through October.

If you’re hoping to ski, aim for a winter trip anytime from November through April. Sunlight Mountain typically opens in early November and closes in early April, with peak snowfall in January and February. For smaller crowds and lower prices, visit in the spring or fall shoulder seasons.

Transportation to Glenwood Springs is easy. The small regional airport is just 15 minutes away, and Amtrak train service and shuttle vans connect to Denver International Airport. Once in town, the convenient Ride Glenwood Springs bus system can get you around during your stay.

When building your Glenwood Springs itinerary, include major attractions like Iron Mountain Hot Springs and Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. But also be sure to leave room for serendipitous wandering through downtown and discovering hidden local favorites – that’s part of what gives this charming mountain getaway its magical appeal!


What are the top things to do in Glenwood Springs?

Some of the most popular attractions and activities in Glenwood Springs include visiting the Iron Mountain Hot Springs, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, and Sunlight Mountain Resort. The town also offers incredible hiking trails, river sports, downtown shopping and dining, and cultural attractions.

When are peak tourist seasons in Glenwood Springs?

Summers bring the finest weather and biggest crowds, especially from June through August. Fall foliage season from September to October is also hugely popular. Glenwood Springs stays active year-round but quieter in the spring and winter.

What is there to do with kids?

Top family-friendly activities include the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park with cave tours and amusement rides, Sunlight Mountain Resort for skiing and tubing, and the massive Glenwood Hot Springs Pool with waterslides. Museums, parks, hiking trails, and rafting offer fun for all ages.

Where should I stay when visiting Glenwood Springs?

Lodging options include hotels and resorts like Hotel Denver, Glenwood Hot Springs Resort, and Hotel Colorado in the downtown area. Rental cabins and vacation rentals outside town offer quieter accommodations. Choose based on your budget and preferences.

What types of food and dining will I find?

Glenwood Springs restaurants range from casual breakfast spots like The Bluebird Cafe to upscale eateries like The Pullman or barbecue at Smoke Modern Barbeque. Italian, Mexican, burgers, Asian, and other cuisines are plentiful around town.


About the author

Ransom Patterson

My expertise in Colorado life extends beyond just residing here; it’s also about living actively within the community. I spend my time cycling through Denver’s trails, experimenting with local cuisines, and immersing myself in the local music scene. These activities give me a unique perspective on the cultural and outdoor offerings of Colorado. This hands-on approach allows me to provide insider tips and personal recommendations that resonate with both locals and visitors alike.