For Colorado natives, Glenwood Springs holds a lot of nostalgia. It’s a quirky little mountain town with a style that is unique to our state. Places like Glenwood, Idaho springs and Georgetown were products of the gold rush of the 1800s and will forever remain a place for the pioneers. For this reason, these places never seem to age but perpetually appear to be old. And although the gold rush might have left -now we deal in snow rather than precious metals-the pioneering attitude will always define these sleepy mountain towns. So for all you natives, let’s take a trip down memory lane and see what remains the same from our childhood vacations and what’s new for us to try. And if you have never even heard of Glenwood Springs, good, keep it that way… (I’m kidding of course). Checking out Glenwood is a great way to get to know all that Colorado has to offer and is perfect for a fun inexpensive weekend getaway.
EAT AT: The Pullman Food & Drink
Pullman’s is a thing of beauty. A restaurant that is more than easy to love. It’s laid back attitude, along with its delicious and relatively inexpensive food, makes this place a major go-to. The only thing I don’t like about it is that it isn’t closer to me. But it’s probably for the best. I’d likely spend way too much time and money getting fat at the place. Luckily there’s a canyon and miles of I-70 between me and ultimate obesity. With that said, if you are ever in Glenwood, or even near Glenwood, take the time and have dinner at Pullman’s. Its fresh and creative menu features wonderful dishes like roast bone marrow with red onion jam and duck meatloaf, all for under $15. The bone marrow was actually only $6 and is the best variation of the dish I’d ever had. This place is a major gem not only for Glenwood but for the Colorado restaurant scene in general. Fortunately a variation of Pullman’s is opening in Cherry Creek this summer. I will comment more on that at a later time but if it’s anything like Pullman’s you and I will be forced into wearing only stretchy pants come this Fall.
Try: Roast Bone marrow with red onion jam ($6)
SEE: Hanging lake
Hiking Hanging Lake is kind of a right of passage for all Coloradans. It’s one of the most beautiful and popular hiking trails in Colorado and is a must-do for all mountains trips. Plus this hike ain’t that easy. Completing the hike means you are somewhat in-shape and own a decent pair of athletic shoes (two characteristics of all true Coloradans). The relatively arduous and rocky trail is all worth it though. After the 1.2 mile steep ascent you find yourself at the base of a beautiful turquoise lake overlooking the gorgeous Glenwood canyon. This is absolutely not to be missed because its guaranteed that, no matter how much you struggle on the way up, you won’t regret your effort.
Tip: pack plenty of water and wear hiking boots or any shoes with traction. Also don’t forget your camera, it’s worth lugging the thing to the top.
DO: Glenwood Hot Springs and Vapor Caves
Glenwood is best known for two things. Being the home to the world’s largest hot springs pool and its all natural vapor caves. Both are very unique and essential to any Glenwood trip. The hot springs is one of Colorado’s oldest historical landmarks as it has been around for 125 years. It was even originally used by the Ute indians. Today, it hosts thousands of visitors from all over the world and features not only a pool but water slides and mini golf as well. Granted the hot springs might seem a little warm for the summer. With the temperatures ranging from 90 to 93 degrees Fahrenheit, you’d think the pool would not be as popular during this season. However many people do still enjoy it, but I’d recommended going at night when it’s cooler. Luckily it is open until 10 PM. At this time, the pool is lit to a beautiful aqua glow and one can enjoy and nice relaxing swim underneath the starry night sky.
If you are looking to do something during the day and out of the hot sun, check out Yampah Vapor Caves. These caves are just as old, if not older, than the hot springs and just as interesting. Located on the edge of town (which is not far), Yampah Vapor Caves look just like a regular spa. But beneath the unassuming building lies caves that were also used by Glenwood’s original inhabitants, the Ute Indians. These caves definitely feel out of this world as you descend steep steps deep into the earth. Here you find a rocky grotto that radiates not so typical temperatures. These rooms range from 98 to 115 degrees of moist, sweltering heat that ultimately feels relaxing and detoxifying (once you get used to it). Spending even 15 minutes in these caves will make you sweat out all that beer and pork you had a Pullman’s in no time. And by the time you surface to face the summer sun’s heat , you’ll feel a bit chilly in comparison. Both the vapor caves and the hot springs are a one of a kind experience that everyone should try once in their life. You’ll be better for it.
Tip: Check out the hot springs at night and stay hydrated at the Vapor caves.
Overall Glenwood Springs is a fantastic Colorado getaway that 303 highly recommends. It’s a perfect way to experience Colorado without all the hassle and cost of the more well known mountain towns. Make sure to either check it out this summer or save it for a fun and relaxing winter trip. Either way you will definitely be coming back soon.