Hit the trails in Glenwood Springs! The hot springs town has an abundance of hikes that range from short walks to longer excursions. Try them all, but if limited by time, choose from these favorites for some of the best hiking in Glenwood Springs.
- Atkinson Canal Trail. Quiet and off-the-beaten-path, this easy trail is short (just 3.1 miles roundtrip) and flat with the only inclines at either end. It follows the Roaring Fork River from the Sunlight Bridge to the Glenwood Park subdivision. Lovely any time of day, but especially for a morning or evening stroll. Sandy beaches along the trail provide river access for fishermen and kids who want to cool off. For a turn-around point and a pretty backdrop for a photo, the Old Cardiff Bridge comes up at just under the one-mile mark.
- Local Tip: Remember to practice Leave No Trace principles when hiking or visiting any outdoor destination in Glenwood Springs or elsewhere.
- Cross Trail. A local’s favorite that is close to town, this trail offers a cardio-pumping workout with jaw-dropping views as a perk. Steep and steady, follow the signs for Cross Trail; the terrain alternates between singletrack and a dirt road. As you climb, take a breather at several rest points that overlook Glenwood Springs and the Roaring Fork Valley. By the time you reach the summit, you will be rewarded with panoramic vistas that extend to the Elk Range near Aspen. Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park can also easily be seen. Look for the gondola and over-the-edge thrill rides like the Giant Canyon Swing. On the way down, either follow the Cross Trail or opt for the less steep road, also called the Jeanne Golay Trail.
- Doc Holliday Trail. For history buffs, this short hike is a must. The dentist turned gambler and gunslinger, John “Doc” Holliday became famous for his part in the shootout at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. Afterward, parting ways with his friend, the lawman Wyatt Earp, he came to Glenwood Springs in hopes that the climate and hot water would relieve his tuberculosis. Unfortunately, it did not. Holliday died in Glenwood Springs on Nov. 8, 1887, and is buried in Linwood Cemetery where Glenwood’s earliest pioneers were also laid to rest. Visit his memorial marker which overlooks Glenwood Springs. For more history fun, seek out the gravesite of outlaw and train robber Kid Curry, also buried in Linwood Cemetery.
- Grizzly Creek Trail. From the rest area of the same name in Glenwood Canyon, the trail follows Grizzly Creek, an ice-cold tributary of the Colorado River. The water which is teeming with fish comes from melting snow on the Flat Tops. While the trail goes for miles, the best portion for hiking is the section from the start of the trailhead until it climbs steeply out of the canyon. If keeping track, a good turn-around point is at the 3-mile mark. Hike this beauty for wildflowers in the spring or to cool off from the summer heat.
- Hanging Lake. Considered the gem of Glenwood Canyon, this hike became so popular after it was named a National Natural Landmark that it was necessary to implement a permit system to preserve it from overuse damage. The permit system has worked brilliantly to conserve the geological wonder and has also enhanced the outdoor experience for hikers. Only a little over a mile in length, the trail is steep and has handrails in places to help visitors safely navigate the final approach to the lake. Surrounding Hanging Lake is a boardwalk, an ideal viewpoint for snapping frame-worthy photos of the waterfalls. For those who want to venture a little farther, follow the signs behind Hanging Lake to Spouting Rock. Forest rangers check for permits at the trailhead; to ensure you can hike Hanging Lake, purchase permits online as soon as possible.
Visit Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park today and learn more about more fun things to do in Glenwood Springs!