Fall colors in the Roaring Fork and Colorado River valleys attract tourists from across the globe to the Glenwood Springs area during the shoulder season.
“Fall is such a lovely time to visit Glenwood Springs and see all of the beautiful fall colors,” said Lisa Langer, director of tourism promotion with the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association.
Although no shortage of scenery exists when it comes to viewing the changing of the seasons, a few places remain favorites among residents and visitors alike.
The Natural National Landmark located in the heart of Glenwood Canyon remains a premiere destination year round. However, during the fall the 1,000-foot climb up 1.2 miles of trail — accessed via shuttle under a new permit system until Nov. 1 — has less crowds, the same picturesque waterfalls and plenty of autumn leaves.
“The colors change through the canyon a little earlier than they do here in town, and a hike to Hanging Lake this time of year is absolutely gorgeous,” said Langer.
Parking: Use Hanging Lake Welcome Center, located 110 Wulfsohn Road, during peak season. During off season (Nov. 1 through April 30), visitors may self-park at the trailhead.
This 6.8-mile, out-and-back trail features numerous picnic spots, river views and an abundance of fall colors. A tributary that flows into the Colorado river, Grizzly Creek’s clear and cold water forms from snowmelt off the Flat Tops.
Rated as a “moderate” ability hike, the Grizzly Creek Trail during the fall offers peaceful sounds and pictorial sights along the creek.
Parking: Take Exit 121 off of Interstate 70 for Grizzly Creek Rest Area. Visitors may park in the upper lot where the trail begins.
BOY SCOUT TRAIL
Known to mountain bikers as one of the city’s best spots for a ride, the combined Boy Scout and Forest Hollow trail’s 17-mile loop includes beautiful views high up along the south rim of Glenwood Canyon.
Because portions of the trail venture along Forest Hollow trail, riders and hikers alike can take in the lush forest’s illustrious fall colors.
Parking: Lookout Mountain Road from the south, or Ninth and Cooper parking garage for the Eighth Street trailhead.
“The Linwood Cemetery — the Doc Holliday Trail — that’s a great one because you get a different perspective,” Langer said. “You can see a different part of town. You can see south toward Carbondale and the whole valley.”
It’s less than a mile hike up to Linwood Cemetery, which includes a spectacle of fall colors across the city where Holliday died of tuberculosis in 1887.
To this day, no one knows exactly where the famous gambler and gunslinger rests in Linwood Cemetery. However, during the fall, locals know Holliday’s resting place as a great spot to take in autumn.
Parking: Park on the street near 12th Street and Bennett Avenue.
With views of Storm King Mountain, Mt. Sopris, the Elk Range and the Roaring Fork and Colorado Rivers, the Red Mountain and Wulfsohn trail system treats hikers, mountain bikers and runners to panoramic views of beautiful fall scenery across Glenwood Springs.
Parking: Park at West Ninth Street at the base of Red Mountain, or at the Glenwood Springs Community Center, 100 Wulfsohn Road.