Glenwood Springs: a spa in the mountains
GLENWOOD SPRINGS The Roaring Fork Valley is a diverse place. At one end lies Aspen all glitz and glam. At the other end is Glenwood Springs a steady-as-she-goes kind of place where locals and tourists blend together seamlessly. Less glitzy but equally glamorous, this old town was host to presidents and glitterati before Aspen created a name of its own. The town’s prestigious guest list (celebs who often stayed at the historic Hotel Colorado) included President Theodore Roosevelt, Baby Doe Tabor, President William Taft, the Unsinkable Molly Brown, the Mayo Brothers, gangster Al Capone and gunfighter Doc Holliday. The latter’s gravesite in Linwood Cemetery remains a popular attraction today.Glenwood’s historic appeal and its present-day claims to fame are in large part centered around its natural spa features the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool and the Yampah Spa Vapor Caves.Rivaling the pool as a tourist attraction, though is the equally unique Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.The pool, on the north side of the Colorado River and Grand Avenue Bridge, is easily Glenwood’s most famed draw and definitely worth a visit. The main pool remains at a comfortable 90 to 93 degrees, while the smaller, therapy pool averages about 104 degrees, meaning pool users are enveloped in fog on cold days. The water slides are closed during the winter, as is the kiddie pool, but the main pool and therapy pool are open daily, year-round. There are lap lanes and a diving well in the main pool. Winter hours are 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wintertime rates are $13.25 per day for teens and adults, and $9.25 for children, ages 3 to 12. Children ages 2 and younger are admitted free. For more, go to http://www.hotspringspool.com.A short distance to the east of the pool are the Yampah Spa Vapor Caves natural, underground, hot, mineral steam baths where the temperature averages 110 to 112 degrees. It’s hot. The Ute Indians who originally inhabited the region visited the caves for centuries and regarded them as a sacred place of healing and rejuvenation. These days, visitors can arrange a massage and other spa treatments at the Yampah Spa & Salon or simply head for the caves (the facility has locker rooms for both men and women; nude visits to the cave aren’t permitted). The cost of a cave visit is $12. Go to http://www.yampahspa.com for more information.The Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is also unique. The thrill rides at the park aren’t open during the winter months, but cavern tours are offered year-round (the caves remain a constant 52 degrees or so). Several different tour options are offered, and the formations in the caverns are nothing short of spectacular. A tramway carries visitors to the park. For directions to the tramway station and other details about the park, go to http://www.glenwoodcaverns.com.Downtown Glenwood offers myriad restaurants and shopping opportunites. The town also has the valley’s only miniature golf courses one immediately to the north of the Grand Avenue Bridge, which spans the Colorado River, and one in West Glenwood, which is also home to the Glenwood Meadows mall and the town’s recreation center and outdoor, covered ice rink.For outdoor adventures, hit the slopes at Sunlight Mountain Resort, located southeast of Glenwood on Four Mile Road, for an unexpected mix of great cruisers and steep terrain, or spend an afternoon on any of the snow-packed hikes or snowmobiling opportunities that surround the area.For pure beauty, a drive on Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon to the east of town is well worth it. The canyon, formed by the Colorado River, offers several rest areas with room to park and check out the scenery, as well as hikes that are popular in the warmer months and far less crowded, but likely more treacherous, footing-wise, during the winter. A separate bike trail travels the length of the canyon, but it is closed during the winter.Glenwood’s new whitewater park a standing wave feature on the Colorado River in West Glenwood has proven a tourist attraction during the warmer months, luring kayakers from near and far, not to mention a few surfers. As the town sprawl out at the confluence of the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers, it’s also an angler’s paradise.Visitors may also choose to mix together a bit of present-day Glenwood Springs with the town’s rich history by visiting the Frontier Historical Society or taking a historic walking tour of the downtown area.The choice is yours because Glenwood does, indeed, offer options.
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