Christmas lights 101: Where to spot the best displays in Garfield County

A large lights display at New Creations Church east of New Castle glows in the night Thursday.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

Whether it’s dazzling displays on main streets, magical winter wonderlands glowing in the distance on country ranches or friendly neighborhood competitions illuminating its mountain town burghs, one thing is for certain: Garfield County takes its holiday lights seriously.

This Christmas Eve, the Roaring Fork and Colorado River valleys offer a plethora of holiday-lights-spotting options for residents and visitors alike.

Take a stroll. Enjoy the ride. Soak in the joy that is the holiday season in some of the most picturesque areas of the Rocky Mountains.


With Glenwood Springs hosting its first Winter Wonderland this holiday season, going for the traditional holiday lights tour could be brighter than ever, said Lisa Langer, the Visit Glenwood Springs director of tourism.

“There’s lots of extra lights in the downtown area this year, including the surrounding neighborhoods,” Langer said.

To avoid Grand Avenue traffic, people can visit the Park East and West neighborhoods in southern Glenwood Springs, and she said the Victorian-era homes on Colorado, Bennet and Blake avenues often have exciting light displays.

“If you head out to West Bank(next to Iron Bridge), there’s a home that always does a great display with the minions from ‘Despicable Me,'” Langer said. “In all honesty, it’s hard not to find wonderful light displays no matter which direction you head.”

Whether driving around with the family or walking through the neighborhoods, the Glenwood Springs community is a shining example of holiday cheer, but it’s the traditions that truly make the spirit bright.

“The Hotel Colorado is the highlight of any light-touring trip,” Langer said. “I like to grab hot chocolate from the hotel’s cafe and go out and sit by the fire pits and just take in the displays.”


One of the 16 people who entered Rifle’s second annual Christmas House Decorating Contest actually had holiday music harmonizing to its labyrinth lights display, Rifle Parks and Recreation Manager Austin Rickstrew said.

The house, out in the country just north of U.S. Highway 6, ultimately won the contest, taking home $300. Second place received $250 in gift cards to local businesses, while third place received a $150 gift basket from Rifle decor store She Haus.

A holiday lights display near Rifle illuminates the night Thursday.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

“All of the houses that entered spent a lot of time on their displays,” Rickstrew said. “It was really enjoyable for us to go around and judge.”

Anyone interested in touring through some of these opulent displays can simply refer to the Rifle Parks and Recreation Facebook Page, where they can view winners and addresses of all contest participants. Most entrants reside within Rifle proper, excluding the spectacular country house toward the east.

Contest participants were judged on a wide variety of categories, including creativity, craftsmanship, theme and overall design, among others.

“Even the houses that didn’t enter when we were driving through did a very good job,” Rickstrew said. “Rifle is very festive.”


Just before motorists descend on New Castle, chances are they notice the twinkling spectacle of lights shining from New Creation Church.

Longtime Pastor Mark Bintliff said church members and maintenance workers begin putting up this gargantuan display starting in October with the aim of having it fully ready by Thanksgiving weekend.

Angels glow in the night at the New Creations Church just outside of New Castle.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

“Lighting up the property and seeing it brings out the joy of Christmas that He is the light of light, as it says in John Chapter One,” Bintiff said. “We’ve come up with miles and miles of lights.”

This year marks the 15th annual lights display for New Creation Church, located at 4471 U.S. Highway 6 in Glenwood Springs.

“I really love the holiday season. I think it draws people together,” Bintliff said. “We focus on love, we focus on unity and the joy of life Christ brings us.”

Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or