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5 Sights to Look for While Rafting Glenwood Canyon

When it comes to summer soaks, whitewater rafting is a refreshing way to make a splash in Glenwood Springs, a town famous for its hot springs. For those looking for the ultimate whitewater thrills, choose trips that start at Shoshone boat ramp. From the get-go, you’ll be in for a thrill-a-minute adventure. For a tamer experience that still offers miles of water-drenched excitement, go for trips that begin at Grizzly Creek. As you journey downriver, check out these landmarks and sights along the way.

  1. Landslides. The landscape in Glenwood Canyon has seen significant changes due to mudslides caused by downpours that saturated the soil after the Grizzly Creek Fire. During the cleanup that took the better part of a year, Colorado Department of Transportation crews hauled away about 100,000 cubic yards of rock and mud. Their efforts enabled rafting companies to rebound and resume whitewater rafting trips through the scenic canyon. Despite the upheaval, Glenwood Canyon is on the mend, with fresh green growth covering once charred slopes.
  2. Rock Arch. Glenwood Canyon is home to stunning natural wonders. The most famous of which is Hanging Lake, a travertine-edged body of water located on the side of a cliff high above the canyon. Rafters won’t see this beauty on their travels down the Colorado River, but they can catch a glimpse of another unusual formation as they pass by the riverside campground at Glenwood Canyon Resort. A rock arch is visible on the south side of the river if you know where to look; ask your raft guide or look for telltale bits of sky peeking through the hole that give it away.
  3. Bighorn Sheep. Rounding Horseshoe Bend begins the final stretch into Glenwood Springs. Before leaving the canyon, scan the slopes near Glenwood Canyon Recreation Path for herds of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. The steep terrain suits these sure-footed creatures just fine. Alternatively, if you’re staying at Hotel Colorado, the animals sometimes can be spotted on the hillsides near the hotel as well.
  4. Trains. Glenwood Springs has a robust railroad history that dates to the late 1800s. Chances are on any given day during your raft trip through Glenwood Canyon, you’ll be treated to the sights and sounds of passenger or freight trains chugging past. It’s especially fun to catch a glimpse of Amtrak’s California Zephyr or the Rocky Mountaineer Rockies to the Red Rocks route and wave to the passengers onboard. 
  5. Muddy Waters. Toward the end of your trip, you’ll come to “the confluence” near Two River Park; it’s the place where the Roaring Fork River joins the Colorado River. The contrast in color and temperature between the two waterways is distinct. The Fork runs clear and cold, while the Colorado retains a reddish hue and is warmer. Note that the name Colorado is a Spanish word that means “ruddy” or “colored red,” an apt description of the river, especially during spring runoff or after a rainstorm.  

Ride the rapids and see the sights on a rafting trip through Glenwood Canyon. Learn more about summer fun in Glenwood Springs and make plans to stay at Hotel Colorado today!

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