Getaway: Glenwood Springs

August 2012

When the weather turns cold, I head to Glenwood Springs. There's something deliciously decadent about soaking in those steamy, geothermal waters while there's snow on the ground. Plus, it's close to Aspen, one of my favorite hangouts. After banging myself up on the slopes (this North Carolinian hasn't quite perfected her snowboarding skills), I head to the hot springs to rejuvenate.

Recently though, at the suggestion of friends, I decided to check out Glenwood's summer scene. What a pleasant surprise. The town is every bit as beautiful in the summer, and it's positively bustling with activities ranging from rafting to paragliding and everything in between. Here's how to do Glenwood Springs—summer style.

1. Take the train: Amtrak offers daily service from Denver to Glenwood Springs on the California Zephyr route. It's one of the most scenic train rides in the country (the full run goes from Chicago to San Francisco). Sit back, relax and take in the dramatic Colorado landscape. This is so much better than driving.

2. Hike it up: I'd heard about Hanging Lake, and it's even more gorgeous than I thought it would be. The 45-minute hike is 1,000 feet up, but the reward when you reach the clear-blue lake is more than worth it. 

3. Fly high: It's not for everyone, but I couldn't get enough of the Giant Canyon Swing at the Adventure Park on top of Iron Mountain. You and three of your closest friends can soar 1,300 feet in the air above the Colorado River, at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. Other adrenaline-junkie options include an alpine coaster, ziplining, and bungee jumping

Tip: Spend the night at one of the hotels near the train station, like the Hotel Colorado. The six-hour ride makes this too long of a trek for a one-day trip. 

—Image courtesy of Shutterstock