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Get those final summer fundays in before the western Colorado weather turns

Late-August, September weather can be the best all year

Commercial rafters unload at the boat ramp in Two Rivers Park after a late morning float on the Colorado River.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

Late summer and early fall is maybe the best season of the year in western Colorado, and there are still plenty of things to do without all of the big tourist crowds of a month ago. 

Chilly mornings and more tolerable midday temperatures have replaced the midsummer heat, and the afternoon monsoon season has begun to subside.

That means more daytime hours to take advantage of some quick getaway time on the trail or on the river, or perhaps strolling the fairways of an area golf course, or even taking in the views drifting high up above town.



“It’s not too late to enjoy outdoor fun and summer weather in Glenwood Springs,” said Lisa Langer, director of tourism for the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association. “And it’s a great time of year to try something new right in your own backyard.” Visit Glenwood Springs, the chamber’s tourism arm, recently shared a blog post offering up some get-out-and-do ideas for the waning days of summer.

Splash-down

A horde of commercial and private rafters making their way down the Colorado River for a midday float near Two Rivers Park in Glenwood Springs.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

There are the usual attractions, like a whitewater rafting trip with one of the area guides or maybe with a friend who has a private raft. 



“By this point in the season, flows have tapered off, and the Colorado River, while still exciting with an abundance of roiling rapids, is more gentle and welcoming, especially for families with young children,” the Visit Glenwood blog suggests.

The lower water levels also make the many in-river hot springs that line the banks near Glenwood Springs more accessible for late-season rafters.

“Rafting this time of year is still a lot of fun, and with the Colorado River we have guaranteed flows, so the river level doesn’t go down that much,” said Thomas Carter, one of the owners of Whitewater Rafting in Glenwood Springs.

The rapids in the Shoshone section of the river are still at a class 2 level, “so there are lots of fun splashes and technical moves,” he said.

“My favorite part about this time of year is that the town’s a little bit slower, so you have a more personalized experience,” Carter said. “It’s a great time for locals, and it’s fun to be on the river when the leaves start changing. It’s just a pretty time to be out there.”

Hang-out and up

Paragliding over Glenwood Springs.| Adventure Paragliding/Courtesy photo
Adventure Paragliding/Courtesy photo

The more adventurous might give thought to taking a tandem paragliding ride from the top of Red Mountain down into town.

August and September can be extra special due to the thermal updrafts that are generated when the sun begins to heat the cooler ground from the lower nighttime temperatures.

Those conditions allow paragliders to stay airborne a little bit longer, the late-summer blog notes.

“It’s a beautiful time to be out there, with the cooler temperatures and the leaves starting to change,” said Pine Pienaar, owner of Adventure Paragliding in Glenwood Springs. “It’s nice to be up high and see that side of the season.”

Late summer tends to bring out more locals to give paragliding a try, he said, noting they offer tandem rides at 7:30, 8:30 and 9:30 a.m.

“You don’t need to have any experience, so anyone can come out with us, and we do all the work,” Pienaar said.

Paragliding tours are offered through the end of September.

Fore

Late-summer golfing at River Valley Ranch in Carbondale.| John Stroud/Post Independent
John Stroud/Post Independent

Golf is another activity that can get better as the season advances, because the midday temperatures aren’t as hot, and the course itself tends to be in better condition.

“It is a lot cooler this time of year, and less wind,” said Ross Roginski, who works the pro shop and front desk at the Glenwood Springs Golf Club. “The grass is also coming back nicely from being strained in the heat of summer.”

Still time for other summer fun

Pretty much any other outdoor adventure or leisure activity that’s fun earlier in the summer is even more fun in late summer for a lot of the same reasons.

There’s still plenty of action to be had at the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, the Visit Glenwood blog suggests, or maybe a midday soak at one of the hot springs while the kids are in school.

Even a quiet lunch outdoors at one of the local restaurants that offer patio seating is more doable, with tourist crowds subsiding and less of a threat of an afternoon thunderstorm blowing the table umbrella away.

Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or jstroud@postindependent.com.

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