Glendale, Colorado: Your Access Point to Rocky Mountain Wonders


Known as the “Gateway to the Rockies,” this historic city provides easy access to some of Colorado’s most iconic attractions.


  • Glendale is located minutes from Denver and serves as the gateway to iconic Rocky Mountain destinations.
  • Nearby scenic drives like Independence Pass and Peak to Peak Highway offer stunning high-altitude vistas.
  • Outdoor activities abound for all ages and skill levels, from hiking the Collegiate Peaks to skiing.
  • Seasonal events like fall festivals and summer camps complement natural attractions.
  • Accommodations range from luxury resorts to cozy cabins to suit different budgets.
  • The dining scene spotlights local ingredients in classic Colorado dishes.

Blanketed in mountain grandeur, graced with four delightful seasons, and overflowing with recreational opportunities, Glendale encapsulates the best of the Colorado lifestyle. Its scenic setting places some of the state’s most spectacular natural attractions right at visitors’ doorsteps.

Scenic Routes and Drives

One of Glendale’s biggest draws is its proximity to some of the most iconic drives in the American West. Within an hour’s drive are legendary scenic byways like Independence Pass and the Peak to Peak Highway.

Independence Pass, accessible from Highway 82, offers travelers vistas of towering 14,000-foot peaks and bucolic high-altitude valleys. Designated as a National Scenic Byway, this high-mountain roadway reaches altitudes over 12,000 feet, making it one of the highest paved roads in the country. The best time to experience Independence Pass is during the peak fall foliage season, which runs from mid-September to early October. Aspen groves bursting with golden hues complement the soaring summits along the drive.

Meanwhile, the Peak to Peak Highway offers epic views of the Continental Divide and connects travelers to notable mountain towns like Nederland. Driving this byway in winter showcases snow-dusted pine forests and frozen alpine lakes. The highway also hosts the annual Peak to Peak Pedal bike ride every July, when cyclists can test their endurance across its scenic 55 miles.

These roads epitomize the diversity of landscapes found in the Colorado high country. The drives surrounding Glendale encapsulate the state’s natural splendor, from evergreen forests to rolling meadows to rocky peaks.

Outdoor Adventures

In addition to sightseeing along scenic byways, Glendale’s outdoor recreation options entice visitors to lace up their hiking boots, prep their skis, or saddle up their mountain bikes. The city provides easy access to world-class outdoor adventures across skill levels in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness. Families can also partake in beginner-friendly activities like scenic chairlift rides and wildlife viewing.

For hikers, a vast network of trails threads through the Collegiate Peaks, many starting just west of Glendale. Classics like the Decalibron Loop offer ambitious peak baggers the chance to summit four 14,000-foot mountains in one strenuous day. More leisurely routes like the Missouri Lakes Trail bring less experienced hikers through pine forests and wildflower meadows to an alpine lake basin.

Once winter arrives, downhill and cross-country skiing become the activities of choice. Downhill skiers can hit the slopes at nearby Eldora Mountain Resort, while cross-country tracks crisscross the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Backcountry skiing in the surrounding backcountry also draws powder hounds.

Warm-weather pursuits like mountain biking, fly fishing, and horseback riding all find prime terrain around Glendale. From family-friendly bike paths to experts-only singletrack, planning an outdoor adventure for all ages and abilities is easy.

Seasonal Attractions and Events

Beyond its wealth of outdoor recreation, Glendale also captivates visitors with its charming Main Street district filled with locally owned boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. Seasonal events and attractions also make Glendale a destination in its own right, no matter the time of year.

Come fall, city-hosted festivals like the Glendale Oktoberfest bring the community together to celebrate the autumn bounty. This family-friendly event in mid-October features German food and drinks, live music, and seasonal activities like pumpkin decorating. Late September’s Glendale Harvest Festival also spotlights local food, arts, and crafts.

For winter visitors, the annual Glendale WinterFest transforms the downtown area into a winter wonderland. Scheduled activities include ice skating, sledding, snowshoe tours, and horse-drawn sleigh rides. The festival culminates in a downtown New Year’s Eve bash to ring in the next year.

Summertime brings weekly farmers markets, free concerts in the park, and Independence Day festivities to Glendale. Active families can also enroll kids in summer day camps focused on outdoor adventures like hiking and kayaking. Specialty camps cover topics ranging from space exploration to coding and robotics.

Accommodations and Lodging

Glendale’s accommodations range from luxury mountain resorts to budget-friendly motels to furnish vacation rentals, ensuring visitors have ample places to rest their heads after days filled with scenic drives and outdoor adventures.

Premier mountain resorts like The Sebastian—Vail offer five-star indulgences like a world-class spa, signature dining, and ski-in/ski-out access during winter. For more budget-conscious travelers, locally owned spots like the Glendale Inn provide comfortable rooms and friendly service just steps from downtown.

Visitors who want a taste of mountain living can also rent private homes and cabins on sites like Vrbo and Airbnb. These furnished rentals come with full kitchens and multiple bedrooms, making them ideal for families or groups. Staying in a secluded forest cabin or slope-side condo gives travelers a uniquely Colorado experience.

With lodging options to accommodate every taste and budget, Glendale makes an ideal home base for experiencing iconic Colorado attractions within minutes.

Dining and Local Flavors

The dining scene in Glendale both reflects and influences Colorado’s reputation as an emerging culinary destination. Chefs expertly utilize the state’s plentiful local ingredients, from just-picked produce to artisanal meats and cheeses to craft beers and spirits. Classic regional specialties get modern twists at both casual cafes and upscale eateries.

One standout is Root Down, which offers seasonally inspired small plates and entrees focused on farm-to-table cuisine. Their menu spotlights local purveyors and constantly changes to highlight Colorado’s best ingredients. Popular dishes like the Rocky Mountain trout and bison short ribs capture the essence of contemporary Colorado cooking.

More traditional eateries like The Fort Restaurant in nearby Morrison allow diners to step back into the past with their authentic frontier cuisine. Specialties like buffalo and game meats recall Colorado’s rugged history, while vegetarian chili and squash dishes cater to modern tastes. Their dessert menu even includes regional delicacies like caramel apple granny.

With over 160 shops and restaurants, Cherry Creek Shopping Center is your go-to destination for luxury retail, fine dining, and welcoming coffee shops.

From upscale dining rooms to laidback diners and food trucks, Glendale’s food scene both draws from and shapes Colorado’s culinary identity. The city provides visitors ample opportunities to sample the state’s flavors in settings as diverse as its landscapes.

Travel Planning and Resources

Glendale’s proximity to Denver International Airport makes getting there a breeze. Visitors can easily navigate the city’s walkable downtown core as well as access nearby attractions via shuttle buses, rideshares, and scenic drives. Peak travel seasons vary, with fall bringing leaf peepers and winter luring skiers.

The Colorado Tourism Office provides an invaluable trip-planning resource with suggested itineraries, event listings, and transportation information. Their website and app allow visitors to explore attractions and accommodations easily. Regional visitor centers located in Denver and Glendale also assist with building vacation itineraries tailored to specific interests.

Since weather conditions can fluctuate, it’s key to check forecasts regularly and pack clothing that layers. Winter driving requires tires with good traction and emergency supplies in case of snowstorms. Altitude sickness medication can ease some visitors’ adjustment to Glendale’s higher elevations.

Whether traveling solo, as a couple, or with a large family, Glendale offers memorable experiences for all interests and seasons. This authentic mountain town serves as the gateway to some of Colorado’s most spectacular scenery and adventures. Visitors who use the suggested planning resources will be well-equipped to discover the abundant natural beauty, seasonal festivities, and outdoor recreation that Glendale proudly showcases.


What is there to do in Glendale, Colorado?

Glendale provides easy access to scenic drives like Independence Pass and the Peak to Peak Highway. It also serves as a basecamp for outdoor adventures in the nearby Rocky Mountains, spanning hiking, biking, skiing, and more. Quaint downtown Glendale also hosts seasonal events and festivals.

What is the best time of year to visit Glendale?

Glendale offers seasonal attractions all year, from fall foliage to winter skiing and snowshoeing to summer hiking and biking. Peak visitation occurs in summer and winter, while spring and fall have milder weather and fewer crowds.

What type of transportation is best for getting around Glendale and surrounding areas?

Glendale’s small downtown area is very walkable. Visitors can access other attractions via the shuttle system, scenic drives in a rental car, bike rentals and paths, or rideshares.

What lodging options does Glendale offer visitors?

Accommodations range from luxury resorts like The Sebastian to budget-friendly motels and furnished vacation home rentals. Proximity to both Denver and iconic Colorado mountain towns gives easy access to varied lodging.

Is dining limited to fast food and casual fare?

Glendale has family-friendly cafes and upscale, locally sourced eateries like Root Down, reflecting Colorado’s reputation for quality cuisine and ingredients. Classic regional specialties abound.

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About the author

Simone Weisman

My deep appreciation for nature and active living strongly aligns with the vibrant outdoor culture of Colorado. My enjoyment of yoga, hiking, and exploring scenic trails provides me with a unique perspective that I bring to This personal passion enriches my ability to connect with and inspire our audience, whether they’re local residents or visitors seeking to explore all that Colorado has to offer.