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The Glenwood Canyon Recreation Trail follows the winding course of the Colorado River between Glenwood Springs and Dotsero. The paved trail is easy going and heavily used by outdoor recreationists of all pursuits. The trail is closed in winter and sometimes into the spring when the water level in the Colorado River is high. There are plenty of resting areas, as well as picnic sites, restrooms and fishing access points.
Along this scenic trail through the river canyon you may spot wildlife, including a band of bighorn sheep introduced into the area in the early '90s. You will also see plenty of people floating this stretch of river, which also shares the corridor with Interstate 70.
Start the trail in Glenwood Springs at Glenwood Canyon Resort. In town, you can also hook up with the Rio Grande Trail, which heads south and east to Aspen.
To access the trail in Glenwood Springs, head for Glenwood Canyon Resort (1308 County Road 129). The trail begins between the resort entrance and rest area.
To access the trail in Dotsero, take I-70 to Exit 133. Take the frontage road on the north side of the highway (heading west) to its end.
Local shuttles originating in Glenwood Springs are available for a fee for those wanting to do the trail only one way.
I drove I-70 west to Glenwood Springs in order to bicycle the Rio Grande Rail Trail (from Glenwood Springs to Aspen, a former candidate for the Rail Trail Hall of Fame). I was disappointed to be driving through such a spectacular canyon at high speed, not able to enjoy the canyon and river views because all my attention was riveted on the Interstate traffic. At Glenwood Springs, I asked at a bicycle shop where the start of the Rio Grande Trail was. The bike shop guy said I should definitely check out the Glenwood Canyon Trail, too, which I did the next day. Glad I did! There is no better way to enjoy the river and the canyon scenery. I relished seeing what I had missed in my car. The Colorado was in June flood, and one section of the trail had several inches of water on it - that's how up close and personal you get to the massive rapids. There is one brief section on regular roads with some short hills, but they have little traffic. The rest of the paved trail is right next to the river with a gentle grade east, up river. You can see and hear the railroad trains on the other side of the river, and you are adjacent to and below I-70 on the north bank. This is not a wilderness experience, but the architecture of the road and trail on one side, and the RR and tunnels on the other are interesting in their own right. Towering over it all are the massive red canyon walls. Overall it was a sublime experience; an ideal cycling day ride (28 miles out and back), car free and carefree, with spectacular canyon views and roaring rapids.
I pretty much concur with the other reviewers comments but I have to knock off a star for the proximity to the busy, noisy, ugly interstate. If there was no super highway it would be a 6 star ride! But to be honest, if there was no interstate there would be no path. If you can keep your focus toward the nicer natural side of things, it is an incredibly unique and scenic place and fun, stress free riding.
¿This is not a flat, riverside trail but it is not that difficult. As to be expected, it climbs going up river with the western half (up to Hanging Lake) having more climbing (a few hundred feet total). The eastern half (east of Hanging Lake) is mostly flat¿ but is a little more exposed to the winds, and the winds tend to blow pretty good out of the west through the canyon. So even though you may be going downriver/slightly downhill in the eastern half, it can be some work if the wind picks up.
¿At certain times of the year (fall/winter), sections of the river are de-watered (dam is closed).... it looks kind of weird and there is no whitewater symphony to drown out the highway cacophony.¿ Guess that makes up for other times when there is an abundance of water and it can be over the path! ;-)
Being a relatively narrow and tall canyon means not a lot of sunlight gets in at certain times at certain places. On hot summer days this is great; on cooler shoulder season days, be prepared for some chilly spots.
The trail is very well maintained. The scenery is superb also nice to have clean bathrooms and easy spots to get off the trail for breaks.
Plain and simple: It is just beautiful. About 13 or so miles along the Colorado river and among the canyon walls. The path is concrete all the way. You can stop half way up the trail from Glenwood Springs and hike the 1.5 mile to Hanging Lake. This is a trail that shouldn't be missed. It can get a little crowded in sections due to the people going to Hanging Lake, but otherwise not crowded at all.
We started at 7:30 am at the trail head in Aspen. We rode the 30 or so miles to Carbondale for breakfast at the Village Smithy. Great ride and great place for breakfast. We rode back to Aspen. (We could have extended the downhill ride, about 10 more miles into Glenwood Springs but we didn't.) The trail is beautiful the entire way. You start out following the roaring river and rise a couple of hundred feet above the river and go from the paved path to a packed gravel path. (The gravel runs about 2 or 3 miles, then back on the paved path.) Easy on the bike though. We were on a tandem and had no problems. Once you get to the top above the river, it is down hill all the way into Carbondale. It took us a total of 1 hour 45 minutes to get to the restaurant. On the way back it is slightly an uphill ride. Just enough slope to make it a little challenging. It took us about 2 hours and 30 minutes to ride back to Aspen. It is a beautiful and wonderful ride the entire way. You will see the roaring river, ranches, and mountain vistas. You must ride this trail.
Started at the no name rest area,rode up 12 or so miles to the start.Did not see any rafters but riding next to the white water was just spectacular.There are rest areas with clean restrooms and picnic tables all along the way.The grade both up and back was gentle,very easy riding.The highway engineering is amazing all by itself.All along the way there is stuff to stop and look at.A destination ride for sure.
Nonstop stunning views of majestic mountains and the beauty of the Colorado River await you on this unforgettable 15 mile ride. The grade is easy and all hard surface. Cool canyon breezes kept us comfortable on a hot August morning. Highly recommend Canyon bikes in Glenwood who will shuttle you one way. Don't miss this opportunity when you are in the area.
Although it was a windy,overcast day, this ride was very enjoyable. We parked at the No name exit which had ample parking, vending machines and port a potties. Since there was a major threat of rain, we only rode about 8 miles round trip. The paved path is wide and well maintained. The Colorado River was gorgeous and made it a very special ride.
Mid October ride:
On way to ride from Denver, I stopped at "No Name" rest area for a bathroom stop. Wildlife officer at trail junction said trail was temporarily closed while they were removing a tranquilized bear. Continued on to Glenwood Springs.
I pedaled trail from Confluence Park in Glenwood Springs up through canyon to Dotsero trailhead and back. It rained off and on through the day with highs in 40s, making for a chilly though very memorable ride, took over 100 pics not including Hanging Lake trail hike.
Was totally dark before I made it back into Glenwood Springs. (Thank God for awesome Fenix BT20 bike light!)
This trail is one of the first in the area to open each spring. It's an out and back ride. Prevailing winds actually make the downhill direction a bit difficult so I'd recommend starting at one of the rest stops at the upper end.
We started at No Name Rest Area MM 119, and rode upriver to Blair Ranch Rest Area MM 129, and then returned. This is a very scenic 10 mile trail, going through the Glenwood Gorge. Trail is well maintained, with lots of rest areas, and goes upriver in a mild grade. When combined with the Roaring Fork trail, it makes for a fabulous 2-day trip.
Was just up in Glenwood for the weekend and was pleasantly surprised to find the Glenwood Canyon Path so near to our hotel; went out for a 6 miler and enjoyed the views along the river and was grateful for the areas that also had a soft gravel path that ran parallel to the paved path. Even with all the flooding over the weekend the path was still entirely run-able and the river was enthralling to run alongside.
I rode this trail from Glenwood Springs to the Dotsero trailhead and back. I have to say this was the best bike ride I've ever taken. The canyon scenery is spectacular and the ride an easy one.
There were quite a few people walking around Hanging Lake, but nothing bad. If you have a chance to take this ride, do it!
Rode trail for first time today. Have driven through the canyon many, many times on the way to Denver and always wanted to stop and make the ride. It was an enjoyable ride. Trail is nearly all cement with a couple short sections of asphalt. It did have a couple of unexpected climbs, geared down and pumped way up. Nothing terrible but was not expected, anticipated the trail stayed at rivers edge and mostly it did. As this was a Sunday there were plenty of walkers and bikers along the trail, especially the first 10 miles to the Hanging Lake Trail Head. Next time would think about a weekday or real early start in day, we started at noon. After the Hanging Lake TH traffic thinned considerably but still a number of bikers to the East TH (Dotsero). There are a number of rest areas along the way and are nice locations to take a break on the grass, if so inclined. If really up to it the hike into Hanging Lake is worth the trip. Hanging Lake is a beautiful lake but the trail is a climb up and on a day like today very busy. (We have hiked in the past, not today.) Recommend this trail and will do it again.
It is a very unique trail in that it interwines with Interstate 70 as it follows the Colorado River. It is a concrete trail that follow the river through the canyon. It is very close to the banks of the river in places and there are blind spots where you must excercise caution for those coming in the opposite direction. I rode from the resort in Glenwood Springs to near the exit at Dotsero, where my wife picked me up. The historic canyon where the Colorado makes it cut through the mountains is very scenic. I generally prefer more remote trails, but the uniqueness of this one is worth riding.
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