Denver to Glenwood Springs by Train
Last Updated on October 24, 2021 by Carolyn
Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Full disclosure here.
Take Time to Enjoy the Journey
On a weekend away the journey can add up to a lot of hours, why not enjoy it? When was the last time you took the train? The Amtrak train ride from Denver to Glenwood Springs is undeniably one of the most scenic train rides you can experience. Departing from the beautiful Union Station in Denver the train heads West and quickly reaches the Rocky Mountain foothills and from there starts its scenic passage through the Rocky Mountains. From the viewing cart passengers “Ooh” and “Aah” over the spectacular scenery passing before their eyes featuring rock-strewn mountainsides with trees clinging to life along their sides, alpine meadows decorated with wildflowers, groves of quaking aspen, and whitewater rivers descending to their ultimate ocean destination. The train conductors point out places of interest along the journey and let you know when you’ll be passing through tunnels (there are over 20 along the way). Fellow passengers chuckle as the train passes rafters floating along the Colorado River, apparently mooning passing trains is a thing!
Round-trip Amtrak tickets can be purchased for less than $100.00 each. Currently, Amtrak departs Union Station at 8:05 am tri-weekly, Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday arriving in Glenwood Springs at 1:46 pm, with the eastbound train departing Glenwood Springs at 12:10 pm and arriving back at Union Station at 6:38 pm. The 5 1/2 trip flies by as you relax and enjoy the scenery or play a game of cards with your companion, certainly more relaxing than driving, and is also a more sustainable means of travel.
Getting Around Glenwood Springs.
The train drops you off in the center of town, and pretty much everything is walkable from there. If something is a little farther than you’d like to walk, Glenwood Springs has a good bus system, with a daily pass costing one whole dollar, just pay attention to what time the last bus of the day runs. Valley Taxi also operates in Glenwood Springs if you’re out after the last bus and need a ride to your accommodations. We used google maps to determine bus times and the location of the bus stops and it was accurate.
Things to Do In Glenwood Springs
Glenwood Springs has gained worldwide acclaim for its hot mineral springs so of course visiting at least one is a must.
There are 3 hot springs in Glenwood Springs; Glenwood Hot Springs Resort, which is the world’s largest hot spring pool; Iron Mountain with lovely pools alongside the Colorado River, and the Yampah Spa and Vapor Caves where guests can experience an other-worldly experience in natural geothermal caves.
We opted to visit the original Glenwood Hot Spring’s Resort as it was open later and would allow us to have a dip before heading elsewhere and then a soak later in the evening.
It was pretty crowded and the line for the Shoshone Chutes whitewater experience was long. We opted to ride that once and then swim in the big pool for a little while before heading to the gondola and caves at the Glenwood Caverns and Adventure Park. We stashed our bags in the hot springs lockers so we wouldn’t have to lug them around, and knew we were coming back.
Glenwood Caverns and Adventure Park
The Glenwood Caverns and Adventure park entrance is less than a mile walk from the Glenwood Springs Resort or you prefer you can take a bus. The unique thing about this park is that it is America’s only mountain top theme park and is accessed by taking a gondola ride up the mountain.
I normally skip theme parks but this park features some interesting caves, a troll, and the gondola ride, and tickets to experience these attractions can be purchased separately from the rides.
The gondola ride was fun and affords a spectacular view of Glenwood Springs and the surrounding valley. It drops you at the top of the mountain where park-goers can enjoy rides, cave tours, live music, food and drink, and of course visit the troll!
We first visited the troll and snapped a few photos with him and then headed to the caves. The caves are interesting and the guided tour of the Fairy’s cave gave us some interesting facts about the caves and their history. The self-guided tour of the King’s Row cave is a workout with over 120 stairs descending to its depths, but it’s worthwhile as the stalagmites, stalactites, and cave bacon are quite remarkable.
The gift shop at the Adventure Park has a nice selection of gifts and souvenirs. We strolled through there and then headed down the mountain on the gondola.
Where to Eat
By this time we were quite hungry and wanted to get supper but not linger for too long as we wanted to have enough time to relax in the hot springs some more before they closed. We walked to the “downtown” area of Glenwood Springs where there are lots of restaurants to choose from. We had trouble finding the Rocky Mountain Pizza Company the restaurant we had chosen earlier because both of our phone batteries were just about dead so no Google maps for us (a good reminder to always carry a portable power supply, it’s now on my packing list). We did finally find the restaurant and to our dismay, it was closed as they were out of cheese!
While searching for the pizza restaurant we had passed a food truck called Mamas Pierogis. We both like Pierogis so we opted for them, quick and very delicious! Mamas Pierogi’s food truck just happened to be beside the Chocolate Moose Ice Cream parlor which offers exotic ice cream flavors and fun cones, so of course, we indulged in one each.
It was about 8:00 pm so we headed back to the hot springs to enjoy another 45-minute soak in the smaller hotter pool. It was less crowded and very relaxing. A great way to end the day.
We were staying at the Courtyard at Marriott which is almost two miles out of town. It seemed a bit of an odd location so far away from the town itself, but I guess that’s the direction new construction has sprawled. We hoped to take a cab but the desk help at the spa wasn’t able to call us a ride so we started walking. Google maps said there was a bus in 15 minutes but being after 9:00pm we didn’t want to wait for a bus that might not come (it passed us on our trek to the hotel). The walk itself wouldn’t have been bad except that much of the way was unlit, and my daughter doesn’t know how to pack light and we had to take turns lugging her bag Boy, we were happy when we arrived at the hotel.
The Courtyard Marriott was lovely and so was our room, we’d highly recommend it to travelers who don’t mind staying a bit out of town.
Our train departure time was about noon so we had a morning to relax around town. We grabbed the bus right across from the hotel and headed back to Glenwood Springs to explore and have breakfast.
We chose to eat at the Daily Bread, a local cafe with a nice varied breakfast menu. My daughter had Artichoke Benedict and I had Avacado toast. My toast was a little plain but with my egg on top ended up pretty tasty. My daughter’s benedict was delicious but the artichoke was a bit scarce.
After breakfast, we wandered around town browsing the stores and art galleries. Quite a few were closed as it was labor day. I’d seen a sign about a Wild Horses mural so we set out to see it, and also along the way did some geocaching. The geocache “Lower Expectations” was a tough one, our phones said we were right there but it was tough to find, a very creative cache indeed!
The horse murals were impressive and reminded me a lot of the wild horses of sand wash basin we’d just seen the week before. Apparently, they were created by a husband and wife artist team Noemi and Kristof Kosmowski who have created many murals and artwork around town, and operate New Bridge Art a popular Glenwood Springs Art gallery.
Our trip home was just as relaxing as our trip out to Glenwood Springs, the scenery doesn’t get old. It was so nice not to have to face driving home and just let the train conductor do it.
More About Glenwood Springs
If you’d like to visit Glenwood Springs for your next adventure, I recommend you visit their website: Glenwood Springs Colorado. It has information and status (open/closed) of various attractions as well as a downloadable self-guided walking tour which sounds interesting, as well as a 28-page travel guide and city map which you can download.
We only scratched the surface of what the city has to offer in our overnight trip, we’ll definitely be back to see Hanging Lake, do some of the hiking trails and perhaps rent a bike and do some cycling…and visit the Hot Springs again.
Sadly, I’ve never visited Colorado. When I visit, my first stop will be Denver. I’ve pinned this for later! Thank you for sharing!
Colorado is truly beautiful…everywhere you look. I’m sure it won’t disappoint.
This looks like a lovely trip, exploring a beautiful area. Thanks for the insight into this area.
Your very welcome, it’s well worth a visit.
Nice post 🙂
Thank-you, I enjoy sharing my adventures.
The Glen wood springs looks such a beautiful place. The Glen wood caverns looks interesting featuring the troll and the theme park.
There is really something for everyone in Glenwood Springs.
I live near and work in downtown glenwood springs! Love it! Thanks for visiting!
It’s a great town, I’ll be visiting again!