Splash into summer! | PostIndependent.com

Splash into summer!

Colleen O’Neil

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Finally the wet, cold weather of May has broken and it seems like summer’s in full swing. Now that the kids are out of school and the sun is shining, you might be looking for a way to get out of the heat.

Luckily we live in a valley crisscrossed by three waterways — the Colorado, the Roaring Fork and the Crystal Rivers (not to mention our gorgeous reservoirs) each offer a wide array of cool, fun activities to kick your summer off with a splash.


Private and commercial boaters — from rafters to kayakers — who enjoy the challenge of class III-IV rapids can run, and re-run, the Shoshone section of the Colorado River in Glenwood Canyon. Locals and raft guides know the rapids by name: Baptism, Tuttle’s Tumble, Tombstone, The Wall, Taco, and Man Eater. There’s also the famous Glenwood Springs Whitewater Park, where adventurous kayakers can work on their surfing skills on The Wave. For easier floats, paddlers and boaters can take family-friendly adventures though monumental Glenwood Canyon starting at Grizzly Creek, where the Shoshone run ends. Rafts take float from Grizzly to Two Rivers Park, where the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers converge. Boaters and paddlers can continue down river to New Castle and beyond for day trips.

Various levels and ages can also run the class II-III raids in the lower Roaring Fork and Crystal rivers in and around Carbondale, with trips putting in or taking out at various points. Private boaters can experience the fun of the Cemetery Rapid on the lower Fork by using the West Bank put-in and taking out at Veltus or Two Rivers parks in Glenwood Springs.

Check out these Glenwood-based rafting companies for guided trips: Blue Sky Adventures, Glenwood Adventure Company, Glenwood Canyon Rafting, Rock Garden Rafting, Up the Creek Rafting and Whitewater Rafting.

And if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, you can even take a whitewater stand-up paddle boarding lesson at the Glenwood Adventure Company and head out to the Whitewater Park to test your skills.


If flatwater is more your speed, it’s worth a trip to Ruedi Reservoir outside of Basalt or Rifle Gap Reservoir at Rifle Gap State Park.

About 14 miles east of Basalt, in the White River National Forest, Ruedi Marina Campground is situated on Ruedi Reservoir at an elevation of 7,800 feet. You can swim, boat, canoe, kayak or stand-up-paddle (there are two boat ramps), and then go for a hike or mountain bike on the Ruedi Overlook Trail. The 81 sites at the campground open up to views of the reservoir and starry nighttime skies.

At Rifle Gap’s 350-acre reservoir, you can find some excellent, fishing, swimming, water-skiing and windsurfing.​ On the west side of the reservoir is a dedicated swimming beach. Rifle Gap anglers catch rainbow and German brown trout, walleye, pike, smallmouth and largemouth bass and yellow perch. The park also has 89 camping and picnicking sites if you get the urge to hang out for a while.


With Colorado’s longest stretch of designated Gold Medal Water, the Roaring Fork Valley is an excellent place to go fly fishing. And it’s easy to access. There are many riverside pullouts and parking along the 44-mile Rio Grande Trail bordering the Roaring Fork River and the Glenwood Canyon Recreation Trail along the Colorado River where you can wade or fish from the shore.

Our rivers are home to brookies, browns, cutthroats and rainbow trout. If you’re keen on a trek, take a trip to one of the high alpine lakes or small streams in the Flat Tops area of the White River National Forest or travel up Highway 133 to access some of the gorgeous, rushing water of the Crystal River.

Local fly fishing outfitters and guide services can answer questions, provide equipment and gear and even show you their favorite fishing holes. Guiding services based in Glenwood can be found at: Roaring Fork Anglers, Glenwood Adventure Company and Capitol Peak Outfitters.


After a long day on the river or exploring in the mountains, it’s nice to relax and unwind your muscles in one of our many geothermal hot springs pools. The Glenwood Hot Springs Pool has earned numerous accolades lately as one of the best pools in the country. The largest hot springs pool in the world at over two blocks long, it offers lap swimming, diving boards and ample space for soaking and relaxing.

Iron Mountain Hot Springs, which is scheduled to be finished this summer, will include a freshwater family pool and whirlpool spa, as well as 16 smaller mineral hot springs pools located alongside the Colorado River.

Near Redstone, Avalanche Ranch has 18 cabins with 24-hour access to all three beautifully landscaped hot springs pools. The pools are open to the public every day but Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Whatever your speed or water preference, the Glenwood Springs area has something for everyone.

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