Glenwood Springs is I-70’s most Civilized stop to play—and Escape.
Just across the Colorado River from the famed Glenwood Hot Springs Pool, the Co. Ranch House (970-945-9059) specializes in Western-inspired dishes with gems like elk burgers and honey Sriracha duck wings, just waiting to fill your belly up after a day adventuring. Some of the better beers in Colorado are very quietly being turned out at tiny Casey Brewing and Blending (caseybrewing.com). The unique sours and saisons are made with over 99-percent Colorado ingredients, and then aged in vintage oak barrels. You have to reserve tickets in advance to visit, but you will walk away smiling after sipping these suds. In the morning, fuel up on fresh coffee and killer breakfast burritos at Deja Brew Coffee and Tea (970-945-9336).
If you want to step back in time, then the Hotel Colorado (hotelcolorado.com) is the place for you. Built in 1893, the hotel is a stunning testament to the past: Large courtyards, expansive decks, and several restaurants ensure you will relax in style. A little farther down the road is the Best Kept Secret B & B (bestkeptsecretbandb.com). Housed in a 1914 Victorian home, it offers complimentary bikes, an outdoor hot tub and impeccably manicured grounds where you can unwind.
Located seven miles east of town Hanging Lake is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful spots in the country. The one-mile hike in is moderately strenuous, and the ecosystem here is very delicate so bring your camera, but not your swimsuit. If cycling is your thing hop on the Rio Grande Trail (rfta.com/trail-information/) into the Roaring Fork Valley. Built on an old railroad grade, it’s completely car-free all 41 miles to Aspen. Running right through town, the Colorado River draws rafters and kayakers. Whitewater Rafting LLC (coloradowhitewaterrafting.com) offers everything from a laid back float to shooting class 4 rapids. No visit to Glenwood would be complete without soaking in the springs that surround town. Skip the main pool—it’s a zoo—and head to Yampah Spa (yampahspa.com). Get a full body massage followed by a session in the vapor caves where the waters are loaded with over 35 different minerals and have been revered for their healing properties since pre-Columbian times.