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3 Perfect Days: Summer Getaway to Glenwood Springs

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 Leave a Comment

Our niece from New York is visiting for the summer. She had a list of things she wanted to do in Colorado, and white water rafting was one of them. So we packed up the family - 2 boys, age 3 and 6, and our niece, 20 - and headed to Glenwood Springs to raft the Colorado River - and had a great long weekend!

Glenwood Springs has always been a drive-by on the way to Aspen or some other destination: everyone must stop at Doc Hollidays Saloon, take a seat at the bar and have an ice cold Bud.

Hiking to Hanging Lake - then soaking in Glenwood Hot Springs

We left the 100+ degree heat of Denver behind and arrived in Glenwood Springs to check into the new, modern Marriott Residence Inn: perfect for kids. Every room has a kitchenette, the pool is open late, and they have free breakfast. You can't ask for more than that.

First thing in the morning, we headed into Glenwood Canyon for a hike to magnificent Hanging Lake - you can read all about that here.

After a nice lunch at a pub, we headed to Glenwood Hot Springs.

I'm a Colorado native, and this was my very first time in the hot springs - and all I could think was: "Why have I never done this before?"

Since we were tired, and my husband's fair skin needed some shade, we got one of the cabana's, stashed our gear and headed for the water.

Hello, pool!

The pool is 2 blocks long - even if there are a lot of people, it never feels crowded. The water is warm (92 degrees) and soft. A little salty, from the minerals; a lot relaxing.  Soon we were all back-floating in the buoyant water - even the boys.

Doc Holliday came here to recuperate from tuberculosis. Nowadays, the pool is full of Germans and Dutch and Scandinavians who take mineral springs vacations.

For the kids, there are diving boards and the huge water slides. We hung out until nearly closing time (8 pm) - it was such a lovely time. You can also stay at the hotel there and visit the spa - check out their package deals!

Rafting the Colorado River

Next morning: White water rafting. Just the thought of putting my 6 year old in a raft was giving me anxiety. He can swim, but what if he fell overboard?

Never fear, the guides at family-owned Colorado River Whitewater Rafting assured us.

The half day trips are perfect for beginners: just enough thrills through the rapids of Baptism, Tombstone, The Wall and Maneater but safe enough for 6 year olds (who meet the 50 pound weight requirement).

My boy went in the water right away - shortly after launching, the guide had him balance on the boat, then in a controlled situation, he fell in the water and practiced getting back in.

He came back with stories of the miners who lived in the canyon; Doc Holliday's hideout, and a house built deep inside a cave.

Plust, they picked us up and dropped us at our hotel - free! Check out their package deals. (Wish I'd seen them before we went!) Call 970-945-8477 to reserve your spot!

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is for the brave of heart, thrill seeking, adrenaline junkies!

As for my 3 year old and me, the steep gondola ride and the Miner's Wheel ferris wheel were just our speed.

It's a full day outing, with lots to do. Check out the huge scary bungee swing over the canyon:

There's also Cave tours, Zip line rides, Roller coasters and an alpine slide! I left feeling dizzy - in a good way!

We finished our trip with a visit to old Doc Holliday's Saloon - and it looks exactly like it did 10 years ago. Maybe more rips in the booth seats. I still recommend sitting at the bar.


  • shanleedavis said:  

    Glad you had a great time at Glenwood! We also just got back from a family vacation and second your enthusiasm. We also hiked to Hanging Lake and Spouting Rock (great hike!) and stayed at the Hot Springs (and spent a whole lot of time swimming, jumping off the diving board, and sliding down the water slide. We also went rafting with CO Whitewater Rafting, LLC and they are the BEST! This was our second time with them. I just wanted to clarify though there is not a 50 lbs weight requirement for the 1/2 day trip. I took both my 5 year old (who is <40 lbs) and my 2 year old (who is ~30 lbs) on the half day trip down the Colorado. A few years ago I had taken my oldest on the short trip (1.5 hrs) and wanted a some more rapids this time. My 2 year old initially was scared because you start in the rapids and get wet right away - but by the end of the trip she was crying because it was the end! After she warmed up she was sitting with the guide and "rowing" the whole raft and then begging for "more splashing please!" Everyone had a great and safe adventure! (oh, and they are they only company that I could find in CO that will take a 2 year old.)

  • Unknown said:  

    Hi - you are right - Colorado Whitewater Rafting LLC doesn't really have a weight requirement. They will take kids as young as 2 because many of their guides have been with them 10+ years - they have an impeccable safety record! Now I wish I had taken my 3 year old!