The ease and beauty of train travel has never been easier with two routes now available to Glenwood Springs, Colorado for soothing natural hot springs, amazing outdoor adventures and all sorts of great attractions, shops and restaurants. Glenwood Hot Springs Resort, the world’s largest mineral hot springs pool, is one of the highlights on Amtrak’s iconic California Zephyr route and Rocky Mountaineer’s brand new Rockies to the Red Rocks excursion from Denver, Colorado to Moab, Utah and vice versa.
New “Rockies to Red Rocks” on Rocky Mountaineer luxury train
Two-day journey overnights in Glenwood Springs
Rocky Mountaineer, recipient of the World’s Leading Luxury Train title from the 2020 World Travel Awards, is launching its first-ever excursion in America’s Southwest. “Rockies to Red Rocks” is a two-day route that winds alongside rivers and through canyons and mountains between the vibrant city of Denver and red rock formations of Moab. From either direction, the overnight stay is in historic Glenwood Springs, well known for hot springs, outdoor fun, festivals and a vibrant downtown district.
Due to strong interest from travelers, the company has already extended the inaugural Rockies to Red Rocks season by four weeks, adding rail cars and additional departure dates to increase availability. There are now 56 departure options from Aug. 15 – Nov. 19, 2021, with the choice of beginning from Denver or Moab.
Rocky Mountaineer operates multi-day, daytime train journeys that feature incredible scenery, regional cuisine, and attentive service in spacious, glass-domed train coaches. This new excursion is in addition to the three rail routes that Rocky Mountaineer runs in western Canada. Glenwood Hot Springs Resort is one of the places travelers on Rockies to Red Rocks will lodge and visit. All lodge guests are treated to breakfast and unlimited soaking at Glenwood Hot Springs Pool during hours of operation. Day passes for blissful soaks also are available for purchase.
Becoming a wellness destination
The Utes first recognized hot springs’ benefits, and trains transformed travel to Glenwood Springs
Nestled in the heart of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, Glenwood Springs sits at the confluence of the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers. The nomadic Ute Native Americans were the first known visitors to the mineral-rich hot springs that flow along the banks of the Colorado River in Glenwood Canyon. They called the springs Yampah, meaning Big Medicine.
The community experienced a huge tourism boost after the railroads arrived in 1887. Two railway companies were competing to be the first to arrive, and Denver & Rio Grande won by a mere week after constructing a route that blasted through the south side of Glenwood Canyon. This is the railroad that is making the Rockies to Red Rocks route possible.
Entrepreneur Isaac Cooper and silver baron Walter Devereux envisioned creating a hot springs resort for tourists in tandem with the arrival of railroads and hired renowned Austrian architect Theodore Von Rosenberg to add European flair to the bathhouse design for Glenwood Hot Springs Pool, which opened to much fanfare on July 4, 1888. Devereux, who brought electricity to town a bit earlier in 1886, went great lengths to create a “spa in the Rockies” by rerouting the Colorado River to create the world’s largest mineral hot springs pool.
For many years, tourists chose to arrive in Glenwood Springs via rail instead of other more difficult options, including the bumpy single-lane dirt road that opened in 1899 through Glenwood Canyon.
Amtrak’s California Zephyr from Chicago to San Francisco
Connects Colorado’s Denver, Granby, Fraser, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction & Beyond
Rocky Mountaineer isn’t the only way to arrive in Glenwood Springs by train and visit Glenwood Hot Springs Resort and everything the community offers. Amtrak’s California Zephyr route from Chicago to San Francisco stops in Colorado destinations like Denver, Fraser, Granby, Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction on the three-day journey.
Check with Amtrak to see prices and book trips for specific dates and routes along the California Zephyr. As an example, Amtrak departs Denver Union Station daily at 10:05 a.m. and arrives in Glenwood Springs at 3:53 p.m. The reverse trip leaves Glenwood Springs at 2:10 p.m. and arrives in Denver at 9:10 p.m.
Amtrak’s viewing car, with its floor-to ceiling windows, offers breathtaking vistas from start to stop. Trip highlights between Denver and Glenwood Springs include the 6.2-mile-long Moffat Tunnel, Winter Park Resort, Fraser Canyon, Granby near Rocky Mountain National Park, Gore Canyon, and the 12.5-mile spectacular Glenwood Canyon.
A stay at the lodge includes unlimited access to the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool (including the family-friendly Sopris Splash Zone aquatic park that is open seasonally), free breakfast each morning at the poolside Grill, and upgrade options to the Athletic Club, a premier fitness facility.
No car, no problem
It’s easy to walk or bike in Glenwood Springs
A vehicle-less vacation in Glenwood Springs is no problem for visitors to Glenwood Hot Springs Resort. A pedestrian bridge, located just steps away from the lodge and pool, spans the Colorado River and connects the resort with downtown Glenwood Springs. While traversing the bridge, visitors and locals alike can admire impressive vistas such as a long view of Glenwood Hot Springs Pool with the Grand Fountain (a splash pad by day and lighted show fountain at night) in the foreground as well as a bird’s-eye view of Seventh Street known as “restaurant row.” Here food-lovers will find a wide variety of choices to satisfy their appetite, from steak houses and taco joints to BBQ and craft beer.
Those seeking evening entertainment can check out the happenings at Glenwood Vaudeville Revue, events at Bethel Plaza under the bridge and live music at nearby restaurants and bars. Since Glenwood Hot Springs Pool is open until 9 p.m., guests can return after enjoying downtown or a day of outdoor adventure to soak and stargaze until it’s time to turn in for the night.