Living the (mountain) high life on a low budget |

Living the (mountain) high life on a low budget

April E. ClarkGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. With high cost of living and rising gas prices, mountain living can make a miser into about anyone.Luckily for those who live and visit here, Mother Nature provides a breathtaking backdrop for any penny-pinching weekend plans.Try these activities for cheap summer thrills: Located in Glenwood Canyon, Hanging Lake Trail offers a little more than three miles (round trip) of Colorado mountainscape, complete with a clear-blue lake, misting waterfalls and a water-spouting rock. The trail can be rugged, but worth it. Dogs are not allowed at Hanging Lake to best preserve one of Glenwood’s most precious outdoor spaces.

For a quick 20-minute hike, trek up to Linwood Cemetery where Doc Holliday’s grave marker sits off Bennett Avenue in downtown Glenwood Springs. The view on the way up, and down, as well as the quiet history that awaits at the end of the trail, is free for the taking.Hikers can also spend the day not spending money on the challenging Boy Scout Trail and Storm King Memorial Trail at no cost. Rifle Falls State Park, off Highway 325 in East Rifle Creek, features 200 acres of Rocky Mountain landscape perfect for hiking, fishing, biking, camping, picnicking and sight-seeing. The waterfalls and caves provide a cool break from the summer heat. Cost is $5 daily for a parking pass. Glenwood Springs is home to five parks, free for the public, which offer activities such as baseball and softball, sand volleyball, horseshoes and river splashing, as well as Wi-Fi Internet connectivity. Two Rivers Park is a meeting point for rafters and kayakers as they take out of the Colorado River. Through July 25, the park hosts free Summer of Jazz concerts at 7 p.m. Wednesdays. Two Rivers also features the Glenwood Skate Park, a popular hang-out for skateboarders and spectators.Veltus Park, which sits along the Roaring Fork River, offers tennis, basketball, sand volleyball, barbecue pits and horseshoe tossing. The eight-acre park is perfect for summer picnics in the shade or cooling off by dipping your toes in the river.

Sayre Park, off Grand Avenue, is Strawberry Days headquarters in June. The rest of the summer months, the park is hopping with basketball, tennis and volleyball players, picnickers, and children frolicking on the playground. For hot springs soakers lacking extra cash for admission into the Hot Springs Pool (although children 2 and younger are free and nightly specials after 9 p.m. drop the rates), the area houses free hot pots off the Colorado and Crystal rivers. The Penny Hot Springs on the Crystal River can be accessed from Highway 133, past Carbondale but before Redstone. Glenwood’s “Hippy Hot Pots,” as they’re called, are randomly located on the Colorado River near Two Rivers Park and the Grand Avenue Bridge. Beaches along the river are also nice for sunbathing and reading. The Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers provide fun rides on the water via tubes, which can be purchased for fairly cheap from local sporting goods stores or tire shops. A float from Grizzly Creek or No Name allows tubers to stop by the hot pots along the Colorado River before taking out at Two Rivers Park. Fly fishing, with a state fishing permit, is also a relaxing way to spend a morning or afternoon on the river banks. Biking through Glenwood Canyon is a free activity (unless bike rental is needed) combining exercise and sight-seeing on a paved path. The Glenwood Canyon recreation path is nice for walking, running and in-line skating, too.

Contact April Clark: 945-8515, ext. 16601aclark@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

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