Trail Exploration: Atkinson Canal Trail |

Trail Exploration: Atkinson Canal Trail

As a new transplant to the area, each week I will feature a trail within the Garfield County limits. For this inaugural week, I’m highlighting Glenwood Springs’ own Atkinson Canal Trail.

The Atkinson Canal Trail is located on the South side of Glenwood and follows the bank of the Roaring Fork River and an old irrigation canal that used to provide water to parts of the town. The parking lot is located off Midland Avenue, adjacent to Mountain Market gas station. The parking lot is small, but when I got to the trail in the early evening I was the only car in the lot. There is overflow parking nearby off of Mount Sopris Drive to accommodate when the trail gets busier in the early morning and late evening.

The trail spans 3.1 miles out and back, so although it is not a very long trail it does serve as a good option for a quick stroll or ride. The surface is concrete, which makes it accessible for a wide range of activities including biking, running, walking and rollerblading. The Atkinson Canal Trail is also nearly flat, which makes it perfect for those who want a light stroll or other leisurely outdoor activity to do within Glenwood city limits. The trail is unique as it permits dogs on a leash and is wheelchair accessible.

As I walked the trail for an hour, one thing I found myself enjoying was my proximity to the Roaring Fork River. I found myself slowly being transfixed by the soothing gurgle of the river water. It was also a welcome sight to see recreational tubers and rafters leisurely floating down the river as I took in the other sights and sounds.

Rafters floating down the Roaring Fork River.

Close to a mile and a half in, the trail ends at the 27th Street bridge, where there is an option to connect to the Rio Grande Trail. At this junction you can choose to go south toward Carbondale or north toward downtown Glenwood Springs. Make sure to take a look at the river from the bridge as it offers a beautiful look at the river surrounded by the red painted foothills.

View of the Roaring Fork River from the Cardiff Bridge

The Atkinson Canal Trail is a trail worth checking out by yourself, with a spouse or with the family. There are many opportunities along the trail to dip your feet in the water or let the kids play for a while, so if you are a citizen or a visitor to Glenwood, take an opportunity to check out the Atkinson Canal Trail.

Trail stats

How to get there: Start south on Grand Avenue, take a right onto Eighth Street and then be prepared to merge onto West Eighth Street. Then turn left onto Midland Avenue until you see the parking lot just north of Mountain Market. Length: 3.1 milesHighlights: Roaring Fork River, View from 27th Avenue Bridge

Help us highlight our trails

This is the first in a weekly series on hikes and bike rides throughout Garfield County that are easily accessible and can be done in roughly an hour or less. Have a trail you think we should highlight? Email reporting intern Cody Jones at


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