The Roaring Fork Valley has enchanted settlers, adventurers, and visitors for quite some time now, and it’s not difficult to see why. With the world class resort town of Aspen on one end of the valley, and the acclaimed ski resort of Vail in the neighboring valley, this little spot on the globe possesses a diverse mix of people, activities, lifestyles, and recreation. And at the very heart of it, you’ll find Glenwood Springs.
Glenwood Springs enjoys a comfortable population of just over 7,700 along with one of the country’s largest hot springs and cave systems. The public schools are highly rated with students performing above state and national standards. There are numerous parks, a highly acclaimed hospital, and every convenience and amenity you would hope for from any major metropolitan area. Welcome to a town that is small by American standards, but big on heart.
All the activities considered to be part of the Colorado lifestyle are available in the Roaring Fork Valley. Surrounded by the White River National Forest, outdoor activities abound!
- Relax at one of two natural hot springs pools in Glenwood Springs – Glenwood Hot Springs, the world’s largest hot springs pool and Iron Mountain Hot Springs, featuring 16 separate soaking pools for the ultimate relaxation.
- Enjoy the champagne powder and world-class alpine skiing in Aspen, 34 miles from Ironbridge, or Vail, 64 miles away. There’s even a small ski area right here in Glenwood Springs—Sunlight Mountain.
- Explore the pristine backcountry on over 19 km of cross country ski trails in Spring Gulch just outside nearby Carbondale.
- Discover some of the hundreds of hiking and mountain biking trails throughout the Roaring Fork Valley.
- Catch trout in the Gold Medal fly-fishing waters of the Roaring Fork and Frying Pan Rivers.
- Take an exhilarating white water rafting ride on the Roaring Fork or Colorado Rivers.
- Explore the numerous scenic horseback riding trails throughout the valley.
- There’s more—backpacking, camping, climbing, kayaking, hunting, snowmobiling, and paragliding. The outdoor recreational opportunities are virtually endless.
- For indoor recreation, discover the fabulous Glenwood Springs Community Center with its pool, ice rink, climbing wall, tennis courts, gym, and fitness center.
Arts & Culture
The Roaring Fork Valley has no shortage of activities to stimulate the mind and the senses. Music festivals, art festivals, theatre, lectures, and events galore inspire and entertain you throughout the year.
The Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts features events that span the artistic spectrum from quality art shows, dance performances, informal coffee houses and poetry readings to community concerts. Annual festivals and summer jazz concerts in the park are also part of the Glenwood Springs arts scene. Classical music is offered by Symphony in the Valley, a community orchestra that plays throughout the year in various valley-wide locales.
Thunder River Theatre in nearby Carbondale is home to a year-round nonprofit theatre company producing “professional theatre at its finest.” Carbondale also has its share of festivals, including the ever-popular Mountain Fair.
Up the road just 40 miles in Aspen, you’ll discover cultural events usually found in more metropolitan areas. The renowned Aspen Music Festival, Aspen/Santa Fe Ballet, JazzAspen, and Aspen Theatre in the Park are just a few of the arts organizations that provide world-class arts performances. Aspen also attracts some of the world’s best thinkers. Great minds convene at The Aspen Institute and often offer public lectures.
There is always something to see or do in the Roaring Fork Valley.
Glenwood Springs Public Schools
Sopris Elementary School
Glenwood Springs Middle School
Glenwood Springs High School
District-wide Public Schools
Carbondale Community School
District-wide, public charter school operated by non-profit Compass
Bridges High School (Glenwood Springs)
District-wide, non-traditional high school
Ross Montessori School
Yampah Mountain High School (Glenwood Springs)
Alternative High School, Teen Parent Program, and Wellspring Treatment Center.
Grades: 9 -12
Aspen Country Day School
Carbondale Waldorf School
Colorado Rocky Mountain School (Carbondale)
College Preparatory High School
Alpine Christian Academy (Basalt)
St. Stephens Catholic School (Glenwood Springs)
Places of Worship
Families of virtually every religion and faith in Glenwood find places of worship within and near the community, ranging from very large congregations to smaller gatherings.
Glenwood Springs has four distinct shopping areas: Roaring Fork Marketplace, Downtown, Glenwood Springs Mall, and the new Glenwood Meadows complex. You’ll find national department stores, big-box retailers, bed & bath shops, jewelry stores, clothing retailers, as well as interesting, locally owned shops.
Check out the shopping in the neighboring towns of Carbondale and Basalt. The historic downtown areas are filled with unique gift shops, galleries, and antique and clothing shops. For more upscale, designer shopping and fabulous gallery browsing–head upvalley to Aspen.
With this kind of shopping available, visitors and locals alike find everything they need.
The Roaring Fork Valley has no shortage of restaurants. Highly acclaimed fine restaurants, popular homespun local eateries, and diverse cuisine ranging from Thai to Nepalese can be found throughout the valley.
Beautifully renovated Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs has been named one of the nation’s Top 100 Hospitals by Solucient. Valley View Hospital has a new heart and vascular center and a new Flight for Life helistop. Other fine hospitals in the area include Aspen Valley Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital located in Grand Junction. There are several medical clinics throughout the Roaring Fork Valley.
Ironbridge is located 34 miles from Aspen and 66 miles from Vail, 97 miles from Grand Junction and 166 miles from Denver. Major airlines with direct flights to major cities serve the Aspen and Eagle/Vail airports, as well as the Grand Junction and Denver International airports. Greyhound buses and Amtrak passenger trains arrive daily in Glenwood Springs.
The Roaring Fork Transportation Agency (RFTA) has been in operation since 1983. RFTA provides commuter bus service from Aspen to Glenwood Springs, and Glenwood Springs to Rifle; intra-city service in Aspen and Glenwood Springs; ski shuttle service to the four Aspen Skiing Company areas; Maroon Bells guided bus tours; and a variety of seasonal transportation services.
For those who prefer to get around by bike, the Rio Grande is a paved trail that runs through the valley, connecting Aspen to Glenwood Springs!