Glenwood Springs, 12 Bucket List Things to Do in Glenwood Springs

12 Bucket List Things to Do in Glenwood Springs

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Welcome to the adventurous world of Glenwood Springs! Nestled in the heart of Colorado’s majestic Rocky Mountains, this charming town is a must-visit spot on any travel enthusiast’s bucket list. 

From thrilling outdoor activities to tranquil hot springs, Glenwood Springs promises a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure that will leave you yearning for more. 

Apart from being a Colorado native, I have had the opportunity to visit Glenwood Springs several times in various seasons. With that being said, I am here to help you conquer everything on your Glenwood Springs bucket list!

Let’s embark together on this enthralling journey, exploring 12 unmissable gems that make Glenwood Springs a true bucket-list destination. 

And stay tuned for the FAQ at the end of the post!

Glenwood Springs Vlog

1. Take a dip in the Iron Mountain Hot Springs

You may be thinking to yourself, why is it called Glenwood Springs? It is one of the biggest staples is the plethora of natural hot spring pools scattered throughout the city! 

Although there are a lot to choose from, I have found from personal experience that the one to add to your bucket list is the Iron Mountain Hot Springs.

This location offers an unparalleled opportunity to soak in 100% pure, mineral-rich thermal waters. All while drinking in the stunning panoramic views of the Colorado River and Rocky Mountains. 

It offers 16 natural geothermal springs that are filled with constantly circulating pure and hot minerals and fresh water. For couples or adults who want more tranquility, they just opened up 10 World Experience adult-only pools just down the river.

The temperatures range from 98°F to 108°F. It offers a unique shape or feature such as a pergola or massaging stones on the bottom of the pool. 

They have a smaller, more intimate pools suitable for tranquil solitude. And a larger, family-friendly freshwater pool. The Iron Mountain Hot Springs caters to every visitor’s desires. The naturally heated waters, packed full of beneficial minerals, work wonders on your body, relieving stress and soothing aches. 

Pro Tip: this is a game changer if you visit during the winter and is a perfect après-ski activity. 

No visit to Glenwood Springs would be complete without this revitalizing experience. 

Make sure you add the Iron Mountain Hot Springs to your bucket list! It’s an indulgence you wouldn’t want to miss!

2. Hike to Hanging Lake

Next on our Glenwood Springs bucket list is the breathtaking Hanging Lake

This gem, nestled high in the Glenwood Canyon, offers a moderately challenging hike that is absolutely worth the effort. As you ascend the trail, you’ll traverse a series of steep switchbacks, each revealing more spectacular views than the last. 

When I hiked Hanging Lake, I was in shock about the sheer amount of waterfalls that constantly hugged the trail during this hike! 

Reaching the top, you’ll be rewarded with the awe-inspiring sight of the lake itself, a crystal-clear body of water that beautifully reflects the lush greenery and steep cliffs that surround it. Don’t forget to take a moment to admire the Spouting Rock. This is a unique feature where water gushes out of a hole in the cliff face, cascading into the lake below. 

This must-see spot is a testament to the raw, untouched beauty that Glenwood Springs offers its visitors. Trust me, this is one adventure you’ll want to tick off your bucket list!

Is Hanging Lake on your bucket list already? Check out the full guide!

Pro Tip: If you are looking for a less trafficked and more challenging route, I would check out the Grizzly Creek Trail. 

Glenwood Springs, 12 Bucket List Things to Do in Glenwood Springs
A full view of Hanging Lake at the end of a beautiful hike.

3. Detoxify in the Yampah Vapor Caves in Glenwood Springs

The wonders of Glenwood Springs don’t stop at incredible hiking trails. A must-add to your bucket list is the therapeutic Yampah Vapor Caves

In fact, if I were to suggest one thing to do in Glenwood Springs, this would be it purely due to its unique properties that cannot be found just anywhere! 

It is one of the only known natural vapor caves in North America. And although it looks like you are adventuring into a super sketchy basement when starting out, it is well worth the effort! 

In the Yampah Vapor Caves, you will embark on a journey beneath the surface into these underground steam rooms, a unique natural wonder that harnesses the heat from Yampah Spring’s mineral-rich hot waters. 

The vapor caves have been a wellness destination for over a century. It allows visitors to sweat out toxins and stress in a tranquil, subterranean environment.

As soon as you descend into the caves, you’ll be enveloped in a cloud of warm, mineral-rich steam. The scent of earth and minerals fills the air, and the dim lighting gives the caves an otherworldly, almost ethereal, feel. 

You can settle onto one of the stone benches, close your eyes, and let the healing steam work its magic on your body and soul. 

This natural steam bath provides an experience that is both deeply relaxing and invigorating, leaving you rejuvenated and refreshed.

So, if you are planning your Glenwood Springs bucket list, the Yampah Vapor Caves are a must. This is an experience that you’ll remember long after your visit to Glenwood Springs is over. Treat yourself to this extraordinary experience; you won’t regret it!

Glenwood Springs, 12 Bucket List Things to Do in Glenwood Springs
One of many waterfalls in the Glenwood Springs area.

4. Treat Yourself with a Spa Treatment in Glenwood Springs

Yet another Glenwood Springs bucket list item is treating yourself to a luxurious spa experience. The city is home to an array of spa resorts that offer a variety of rejuvenating treatments, ensuring that you leave feeling refreshed, relaxed, and revitalized.

A visit to a spa is an indulgence in pure, natural luxury, offering a perfect interlude to your Glenwood Springs adventure. 

Yampah Spa and Vapor Caves

The Yampah Spa doesn’t just house the Vapor Caves. It is also is home to a spa that specializes in traditional and personalized spa experiences. 

This holistic wellness center offers an extensive range of treatments. They have traditional massages and facials to specialty treatments like the Mud Season Rejuvenation. This is a unique treatment that combines a 30-minute private mineral bath with a one-hour massage.

A Sanctuary Spa

Nestled in the heart of the Rockies, A Sanctuary Spa offers a unique blend of nature, relaxation, and top-notch spa services. This is another spa located in Glenwood Springs. It provides day spa services including hair, massage, facial, waxing, and even makeup!

With treatment times ranging from 30 minutes to an hour or more, it can be perfectly tailored to fit any busy travel day.

Looking for something unique? Try crossing raindrop therapy off of your spa bucket list!

Splendor Mountain Spa

Another gem that you should add to your Glenwood Springs bucket list is the Splendor Mountain Spa

Whether you’re seeking a therapeutic massage, a revitalizing facial, or a specialized body treatment, the skilled practitioners here are ready to meet your wellness needs. 

The spa’s serene, mountain-infused ambiance instantly sets the tone for relaxation. Their range of organic, eco-friendly products ensures that your treatments are as gentle on the environment as they are on your skin. 

Don’t miss the chance to experience this blissful retreat. It’s a bucket list experience that epitomizes the best of Glenwood Springs.

Every spa in Glenwood Springs provides a unique experience, allowing you to enjoy a slice of luxury in the midst of the city’s natural beauty. Whether you want to prepare your body for more adventures, recover from a day of activities, or simply pamper yourself on your vacation, adding a spa treatment to your Glenwood Springs bucket list is a choice you definitely won’t regret!

Glenwood Springs, 12 Bucket List Things to Do in Glenwood Springs
Soaking in the Iron Mountain Hot Springs in winter.

5. Wander Around the Historic Hotel Colorado

Steeped in rich history and architectural grandeur, Hotel Colorado is a destination that simply cannot be missed on your Glenwood Springs bucket list. 

Built in 1893, this iconic landmark has long been a symbol of the city’s vibrant past and its enduring charm. As you wander through the halls of this Italianate masterpiece, you’re walking in the footsteps of past presidents, famous gangsters, and Hollywood elite who’ve all sought out its luxurious hospitality. 

The hotel features period-inspired rooms, stunning views of the Rockies, and a delightful courtyard where you can relax and soak in the ambiance. 

From its grand lobby filled with vintage photographs and artifacts to its famous bell towers offering panoramic views of Glenwood Springs, every corner of Hotel Colorado exudes a timeless elegance. 

Funny story: I once went to this hotel with my rabbit. You read that right. My rabbit even enjoyed this hotel. 

Add to this the hotel’s excellent dining options and close proximity to the city’s hot springs, and you’ve got a bucket list item that gives you the quintessential Glenwood Springs experience. 

6. Go Boutique Shopping in Glenwood Springs

While outdoor adventures and wellness experiences are plentiful in Glenwood Springs, another not-to-be-missed bucket list experience is delving into the city’s unique boutique shopping scene

Glenwood Springs is home to a variety of charming, locally-owned boutiques, each brimming with unique finds that reflect the spirit and culture of the city.

Elizabeth Dean Boutique

It may be due to the fact that I am a boho yogi at heart, but the Elizabeth Bean Boutique is my dream store! 

It is completely decked out with an outdoor bohemian vibe and sells well-made clothing pieces and accessories, but this is a non-negotiable if you want to go boutique shopping in Glenwood Springs!

Bullocks Western Store

For high-quality, stylish wear with a Western flair, look no further than Bullocks Western Store. From trendy jewelry and accessories to unique clothing lines, this boutique is a treasure trove for fashion-conscious visitors. 

Book Grove

Book lovers should make their way to Book Grove, an independent bookstore with a curated selection of used books. With its cozy ambiance and friendly staff, it’s the perfect place to find your next read or a thoughtful gift.

Various Souvenir Shops

As you make your way down the charming main street of Glenwood Springs, you will stumble upon a plethora of Colorado souvenir shops. They might be slightly cheesy, but each one is a must-visit for fans of handmade, artisanal items. Or you can splurge on an obnoxious Colorado sweater. I won’t judge, I promise!

Exploring Glenwood Springs’ boutique shopping scene is more than just a shopping expedition – it’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture, support local businesses, and take a piece of Glenwood Springs home with you. 

So, as you map out your Glenwood Springs bucket list, be sure to save some time (and luggage space!) for the city’s unique boutique shops. 

Glenwood Springs, 12 Bucket List Things to Do in Glenwood Springs
Taking pictures by one of the many “wings” in downtown Glenwood Springs.

7. Raft or Kayak the Colorado River

For the thrill-seekers and nature lovers out there, no Glenwood Springs bucket list would be complete without a white-water rafting or kayaking adventure on the mighty Colorado River. 

This iconic waterway carves a serpentine path through some of the most breathtaking landscapes the Rockies have to offer, making it an exhilarating location for river-based activities.

Companies like Glenwood Adventure Company and Blue Sky Adventures offer a host of guided rafting and kayaking trips suitable for all levels, from adrenaline-inducing whitewater expeditions to serene float trips. 

Each journey promises heart-pounding rapids, dramatic canyon vistas, and the chance to spot local wildlife in its natural habitat. So go ahead, strap on that life vest, paddle in hand, and add this exhilarating experience to your Glenwood Springs bucket list. 

8. Feel the Adrenaline at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

If you are up for a little bit of adventure, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is a must-visit destination for any Glenwood Springs bucket list. 

This unique adventure park combines the thrill of amusement rides with the awe-inspiring beauty of natural caverns. 

Take a scenic gondola ride to the park, where you’ll find a host of adrenaline-pumping rides, including the Giant Canyon Swing that propels you out over Glenwood Canyon, and the Alpine Coaster, where you control your speed as you twist and turn down the mountainside.

And that is just the beginning of the adventurous thrill ride options at this mountain amusement park!

For the more tranquil-minded, guided tours of the magnificent Fairy Caves offer an incredible subterranean experience. Or you can keep up with the adventure by exploring the Wild Tour or other historical cave tours.

The park also boasts panoramic views of the Colorado River and the surrounding Rocky Mountains, ensuring a feast for the eyes as well as a thrill for the senses. 

It’s not just an amusement park, it’s an adventure that showcases the unique blend of natural beauty and exciting entertainment!

Glenwood Springs, 12 Bucket List Things to Do in Glenwood Springs
Hunting waterfalls as a mermaid near Glenwood Springs.

9. Zip Down the Glenwood Canyon Zipline

For those who still crave a rush of adrenaline and a bird’s eye view of the stunning Glenwood Canyon, strapping into the Glenwood Canyon Zipline is an absolute bucket list must. 

This exhilarating ride sends you soaring over the scenic Colorado River, offering unparalleled views of the surrounding rugged cliffs and lush greenery. As the wind whips through your hair and the river rushes beneath you, you’ll experience the raw beauty of Glenwood Springs from a perspective few have the chance to enjoy. 

Operated by Glenwood Canyon Resort, the zipline experience is designed for everyone, beginners and experienced thrill-seekers alike. Their attentive and professional staff ensures your safety while encouraging you to step outside your comfort zone. 

So, strap in, hold on tight, and get ready to zip down the Glenwood Canyon Zipline. It truly is a remarkable way to appreciate the grandeur and beauty that defines Glenwood Springs, making it an absolute must-add to your Glenwood Springs bucket list.

10. Indulge Your Taste Buds with Local Specialties

Indulging in the local cuisine is a crucial part of any travel experience, and Glenwood Springs is no exception. As you compile your Glenwood Springs bucket list, make sure to reserve ample space for the city’s culinary delights. 

The Italian Underground

Begin your gastronomic journey at The Italian Underground, where they serve homemade Italian food that locals and visitors rave about. In fact, I had so many family members and friends recommend this restaurant that it was my first culinary stop! 

Keep in mind that they don’t take reservations–so get there early! My mind still can not get over the spicy lasagne! 

Smoke Modern BBQ

If you’re looking for a more casual setting, Smoke Modern BBQ offers a mouthwatering array of smoked meats and classic BBQ sides that you wouldn’t want to miss. Their smoked brisket sandwich, in particular, has earned a loyal following. 

I ordered the buffalo chicken mac and cheese and wanted to lick the plate clean. Plus, it was a fun experience to taste all of the BBQ sauces!

Riviera Supper Club

Another mouth-watering option is the Riviera Supper Club. They are one of the more upscale restaurants in Glenwood and make all of their dishes in-house.

Tequila’s Mexican Restaurant

If you are craving some Mexican cuisine, I would head over to Tequila’s Mexican Restaurant. it is a bit of a walk from the main street of the city, but it is well worth it for their giant oversized margaritas!

Glenwood Canyon Brewpub

If you are looking for a chilled beer or pub experience, the Glenwood Canyon Brewpub is an unmissable spot. They provide the best hand-crafted beer in Glenwood Springs and classic pub bites to curb your appetite. 

Sweet Coloradough

Lastly, don’t forget to sweeten up your visit with a stop at Sweet Coloradough, a bakery renowned for its delectable doughnuts and pastries. 

Glenwood Springs, 12 Bucket List Things to Do in Glenwood Springs
Picture of the massive beverage at Tequila’s Mexican Restaurant. ENJOY RESPONSIBLY!

11. Go Horseback Riding in the Mountains

Immerse yourself in the serene beauty of Glenwood Springs from the back of a horse. Horseback riding in the mountains is a bucket list activity that allows you to explore the trails and breathtaking vistas at a leisurely pace. 

Companies like Glenwood Adventure Company, High Canyon Adventures, and Sunlight Mountain Resort offer guided rides through the serene mountain landscapes, allowing you to feel the thrill of horseback riding while soaking in the majestic views. 

Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a total beginner, these companies cater to all levels of experience, ensuring a safe and enjoyable journey. So saddle up, and prepare for a remarkable riding experience that offers a unique perspective of Glenwood Springs. 

Trust me, there is nothing quite like feeling the fresh mountain air on your face while trotting along a rugged mountain trail. Horseback riding truly is an essential addition to your Glenwood Springs bucket list.

Glenwood Springs, 12 Bucket List Things to Do in Glenwood Springs
Hiking through Glenwood Canyon.

12. Drive Glenwood Canyon

Odds are that if you are coming from Denver through I-70 (or heading to Hanging Lake), you will be forced into this bucket list check-off. But don’t fear–you might have to pick up your jaw from the floor after this drive. 

I have taken my fair share of drives through Colorado. Driving Glenwood Canyon deserves a spot on one of my favorites! 

As you drive the subtle curves of the mountain roadway along the Colorado River, you will be treated to tall rocks, incredible forests, and deep canyons along this stretch of road. It is truly a sight to behold, even for a Colorado native! 

Glenwood Springs, 12 Bucket List Things to Do in Glenwood Springs

Glenwood Springs FAQ

Glenwood Hot Springs is the main and most well-known hot springs in Glenwood. If you are strolling into town, you will probably notice it for its sheer size and central location. In fact, it is actually the world’s largest hot spring pool, pumping in 3.5 million gallons a day at 122°F. 

Of course, if it interests you, it can be worth it to go. Personally, I like a tranquil soak experience with minimal children and a lush mountain view. Therefore, I would spend the money and go to Iron Mountain Hot Springs instead.

Looking for a free and more natural experience, you could also check out the South Canyon Hot Springs as well. This is less regulated, only one pool, out in the middle of nowhere, clothing optional, and feels like a more authentic hot springs experience.

Glenwood Springs is renowned for its hot springs, which have drawn visitors from around the world for more than a century. 

The city is home to the world’s largest hot springs pool at Glenwood Hot Springs Resort, a landmark destination that features a stunning, football field-sized pool filled with naturally warm mineral water. 

It’s the perfect place to relax and unwind after a day of mountainous adventures. Additionally, Glenwood Springs offers other various options for hot springs and spa treatments. 

For true thermal water enthusiasts, Yampah Spa and Vapor Caves is another must-visit, featuring natural underground steam baths where the Ute Indians used to come for purification rituals. 

Each of these hot springs establishments offers a blend of relaxation, rejuvenation, and healing, making them absolute must-adds to your Glenwood Springs bucket list.

The official Glenwood Hot Springs brings in water that is 122°F which is then mixed with fresh water to cool. The biggest pool is kept at 90°F and their therapy pool is at 104°F.

For the Iron Mountain Hot Springs, the 16 unique pools are each at a differing temperature ranging from 98°F to 108°F.

Other natural hot springs that lie around Glenwood vary, but are normally all around 100°F to 112°F.

Since some of the activities around and in Glenwood Springs are outside, the time to visit varies. Personally, coming from a Colorado native, I think that Glenwood Springs can be enjoyed at all parts of the year. You may just need to do different things. 

Summer – This is going to be the best for hiking and water activities such as kayaking and rafting. 

Fall – Temperatures will start to fall and regulated hiking trails will start to close. For example, Hanging Lake will close in September. 

Winter – winter will bring in cold temperatures and snow. This means that the majority of outdoor activities will be closed. However, this is a magical time to be at any hot spring around Glenwood Springs. I once went to Iron Mountain Hot Springs when it snowed; it was very cold but an ethereal and relaxing experience to say the least! 

Spring – Colorado still might get some spring snow showers and temperatures may be crisp. Might be an ideal time to hike or go horseback riding in the late spring before the crowds and heat begin to roll in!

Depending on where you are coming from in Denver, the drive takes roughly about 2 hours and 30 minutes. 

This might seem like a heavy trek for those who aren’t used to road-tripping, but I can assure you that it is anything from boring! 

Granted, the drive from Denver to I-70 is dull. However, once you start heading up I-70, the views turn to mountains and you will be rewarded with a lovely mountain drive…well as lovely as you can get from driving I-70. 

(Colorado local joke: I-70 is the way to get to most mountain ski resorts from Denver and every local constantly complains about it. It is pretty, but it can be a massive pain from traffic on ski weekends)

As I mentioned before, you will also get the privilege of driving Glenwood Canyon, which is absolutely breathtaking.

With the rise of tourism in Glenwood Springs, safety has become more of an issue in this tiny mountain town. 

I have gone multiple times (and sometimes will all women) and have felt safe! 

I would take caution when going out hiking or to the natural hot springs (like South Canyon). You can run into wildlife and other people without the crowd of the city. 

As with all travel, just use some common sense and don’t get yourself into any bad situations and you should be just fine.

Glenwood Springs is an amazing destination! However, there are some bucket list activities to do outside of Glenwood. 

If you want to take a day trip, I would recommend going and hiking the famous Maroon Bells or exploring/fishing at Rifle National Park.

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