The Glenwood Springs, Colorado area has some interesting bike rides that sync up nicely with some of the area’s small brewery operations. We experienced a couple of these on a long weekend visit that we based in Glenwood Springs. Both of our rides were on bikeways that are segregated from vehicular traffic and navigate through picturesque settings.
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The Rio Grande Trail travels a river valley between Glenwood Springs and Aspen, passing through small towns along the way. Glenwood Canyon Trail follows the Colorado River East from Glenwood Springs in Glenwood Canyon.
Basing in Glenwood Springs comes with the benefit of being able to soak in the hot springs there at the end of each of the rides. In fact, Glenwood Springs is best known for its hot springs. Although there are several hot springs that can be visited in the area, Glenwood Springs Hot Springs Resort is the most prominent of them owing to its massive, vintage (built in 1888) pool close to the town center. Three and a half million gallons of hot mineral water is said to issue from the natural springs daily. The big pool holds more than a million gallons of water that is kept at about 90° F (32° C). A smaller, adjacent “therapy” pool that itself 100 feet (30 m) long is kept at about 104° F (40° C).
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Rio Grande Trail
The first time someone told me about this trail I got pretty excited. The Rio Grande Trail, named for the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad (D&RGW) which operated along the trail right-of-way up until the 1990’s, is 42 miles (70 km) of continuous multi-use trail in the Roaring Fork River Valley between Aspen and Glenwood Springs. The surface is mostly paved although there are some crushed gravel sections. The route passes through several small towns along the way including Basalt and Carbondale where there are small breweries. There is a public transit option that parallels the route and allows busing up to Aspen at 8,000 ft (2,438 m) altitude and riding the gentle railroad grades back down to Glenwood Springs at 5,760 ft (1,756 m).
Glenwood Canyon Trail
The Glenwood Canyon Recreational Trail is a paved multi-use trail that follows the Colorado River for 16 miles (26 km) through a steep section of Glenwood Canyon. Interstate 70 is in the same canyon and the travel is tucked up under the freeway for several stretches.
Beers Along the Way
Aspen Brewing Company, Capitol Creek Brewery, Roaring Fork Beer Company, Carbondale Beer Works, Ball Brewing, Casey Brewing and Blending, and Glenwood Canyon Brewing Co. are small brewery operations along the routes.
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