Take the world’s largest outdoor mineral hot springs pool (Glenwood Hot Springs), add an adventure park built on top of a mountain (Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park), sprinkle in the Roaring Fork Valley’s crimson rocks and emerald forests and you have a memorable family vacation just a few hours from Denver. The new Historic Fairy Caves Tour at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park has sections never opened to the public before, takes 50 minutes and has only 12 stairs (perfect for families with small children than the tour of King’s Row, which has 127 steps each way). Also, don’t miss the adventure park’s thrill rides including the Cliff Hanger Roller Coaster, bungee jumping station, zipling, giant canyon swing, alpine coaster, laser tag and much more. Glenwood Hot Springs is celebrating its 125th birthday this year, so guests get in free on their birthdays. Glenwood Canyon Resort has white water rafting on the Colorado River and for an extra thrill, soar on the zipline across the river or test your mettle on a ropes course. Grab your bikes and take the paved Rio Grande Trail, which winds along the Roaring Fork River from Glenwood to Aspen. If you visit mid-week, pack a picnic and enjoy free concerts at Two Rivers Park on Wednesday. For a night out on the town, your family will love the Glenwood Vaudeville Revue dinner variety show.
Surrounded by over 100,000 acres of the Pike National Forest, the Ranch at Emerald Valley is an unmatched, all-inclusive retreat that combines the rustic charm of a wilderness enclave with The Broadmoor’s incomparable luxury and service. Honeymooners can indulge in one of 10 beautifully appointed cabins, featuring gas fireplaces, rich furnishings, and modern amenities. Couples can spend their days fly fishing in pristine mountain lakes, hiking and biking along scenic trails or exploring the mountains on horseback. Afterward, unwind by soaking in an outdoor hot tub and sipping fine wine on a panoramic terrace while enjoying the beauty of a Rocky Mountain sunset. All meals and ranch activities are included as part of the stay, making it an ideal setting for intimate getaways where every detail is thoughtfully handled.
The Pool is a large turbulent water pocket formed below where Spruce and Fern Creeks join the Big Thompson River. The winter route is along a gravel road, which leads to a trail at the Fern Lake trailhead. Along the route are beaver-cut aspen, frozen waterfalls on the cliffs, and the Arch Rocks. The trail to Alberta Falls runs by Glacier Creek and Glacier Gorge.
Daily bus service into Rocky Mountain National Park is available weekends beginning in Memorial Weekend and then daily from June 27, 2016 to September 7, 2016 and weekends until the end of September, 2016. There are two more routes to help you once you are in the Park for Moraine Park and Glacier Basin (Bear Lake). Sorry, there are no bus routes for Trail Ridge Road or Horseshoe Park.
Zach Zehr, an avid backcountry adventurer, spends a lot of time in Rocky Mountain National Park, which is open but operating with a limited staff since Dec. 22, 2018, due to the federal government shutdown. Because of the shutdown, the roads aren’t being plowed so much of the park is not open to vehicle traffic. Fat bikes, however, work just fine. Zehr, who is also the manager at the Estes Park Mountain Shop, and some friends rode their fat bikes to the Bear Lake Trailhead and did a backcountry ski trip in the park on Jan. 6, 2019. (Provided by Zach Zehr)
While January isn’t typically busy, Murdock said that in December 2017, the park had 112,000 visitors. Visitors have shown up every day since the shutdown began, even though recent snowstorms and unplowed roads have made the park essentially off limits to vehicles. Anyone can still walk in, though, and Murdock has seen proof that that’s happening.
There are more activities, events, vacation opportunities, and fun things to do in Colorado than you can imagine. Vacations in Colorado can mean hot air balloon rides, jeep, ATV, motorcycle or bicycle rental or tours, snowmobile, sleigh rides, dog sledding, fly fishing for rainbow, brown and brook trout, sailing, jet-skiing, water skiing, boating, kayaking or canoeing (rentals, equipment, instruction, guided tours and floats), or get wet and wild whitewater rafting, tubing, skiing, snow shoeing, and cross country skiing (check out our ski areas, rentals and tours), horseback riding, hiking, bicycling, rock climbing, upland bird hunting, big game hunting for deer, elk, moose, antelope, bear, mountain lion, mountain goat, big horn and dall sheep. Come experience the beauty of our mountains and our western hospitality on your Colorado vacations.
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During the winter most of Trail Ridge Road is closed due to heavy snow, limiting motorized access to the edges of the park. Winter activities include snowshoeing and cross-country skiing which are possible from either the Estes Park or Grand Lake entrances. On the east side near Estes Park, skiing and snowshoeing trails are available off Bear Lake Road, such as the Bear Lake, Bierstadt Lake, and Sprague Lake trails and at Hidden Valley. Slopes for sledding are also available at Hidden Valley. The west side of the park near Grand Lake also has viable snowshoeing trails. Backcountry skiing and snowboarding can be enjoyed after climbing up one of the higher slopes, especially late in the snow season after avalanche danger has subsided, and technical climbing remains also a possibility, although typically differing in style from the summer months.