Spring is a good time for us to take an outdoor weekend getaway, before the hectic summer months start. Weekends are great to destress. We took a short weekend to Glenwood Springs for a little balneotherapy, but also did some snowshoeing and glacier walking.
Balneotherapy is a word that refers to soaking in natural mineral springs or thermal waters for health. It is said to be particularly good for relieving the pain of arthritis, but I was looking just for a little relaxation. Glenwood is just a few hours drive on Interstate 70 going west of Denver. It’s a beautiful drive, especially just before Glenwood as the road goes through Glenwood Canyon.
We’d been to town several times and usually go to the main Glenwood Hotsprings, but this time decided to go to the new Iron Springs Hot Springs. It is fed by the same underground spring known as Yampah meaning ‘big medicine’ in the Ute language. Water comes out of the spring at 122F and is rich in 15 or more minerals and smells very much of sulfur.
Iron hot springs was interesting in that there were several different pools/hot tubs we could choose from, each of which was at a different temperature ranging from a rather cool 98F to 108 F. 18 different pools including a larger one for swimming.
The tubs were fun to bounce between to try various temperatures. One had nice rounded river rock on the bottom which felt nice on the feet. There was also a bar that served a good selection of Colorado craft beers in cans. Although it was very nice to be right on the Colorado river, I found it a little distracting that directly across the river were tanker cars on the railroad, fuel tanks on the opposite bank and neon shopping signs. https://www.ironmountainhotsprings.com/
The trip also included a delicious dinner at an Indian Restaurant in Glenwood Springs and breakfast at a local coffee shop. We didn’t’ find any convenient hiking trail right there, but found a paved trail that runs along the Roaring Fork River; the Glenwood Springs River Trail. I enjoyed walking south and seeing the area get less industrial as we passed some nice parks. This trail also connects to the Rio Grande Trail that goes all the way to Aspen, 42 miles. A bit far to hike, but that would be a nice bike ride I’d like to do sometime.
St. Mary's Glacier
We tried to pack some fun into the drive each direction as well. We ran into a little traffic heading west out of Denver so pulled off the freeway at Idaho Springs and drove to St. Mary’s Glacier. It's just a short drive off the freeway. We hiked the road up to the glacier and then hiked up the glacier a ways. There was fresh snow on the glacier but it felt quite warm with the sun reflecting off the snow. The views of the surrounding mountains from on the glacier were stunning. A glacier is an area of snow/ice that is thick enough that it doesn’t melt in summer. It apparently has a slow movement downhill as well (I didn’t feel it moving).
There has been so little snow in Colorado this winter and I haven’t quite felt like I’ve gotten enough of it. We stopped at Vail Pass and put on our snow shoes and just spent a half an hour hiking there so we could get some ‘snow time’ in.
Overall, it was quite a nice weekend escape! For me, short trips can be more relaxing than long trips and there are so many great places in Colorado for a weekend escape. Where do you go for a weekend escape?