Destination for Meetings and Events: Glenwood Springs, Colorado

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Destination for Meetings and Events: Glenwood Springs, Colorado

By Beth Buehler

Located in the heart of Colorado Rockies along the Interstate 70 corridor, planning a Glenwood Springs meeting is easy in this town that has long been known for its amazing hot springs. The year-round destination, originally known as Defiance, has come into its own over the years with a well-rounded selection of attractions and outdoor activities, an active downtown district, and an expanding number of venues for groups.

It also doesn’t hurt to be the “big town” in the Roaring Fork Valley and the gateway to places like Carbondale, Basalt, Snowmass and Aspen for day trips and additional ski resort options. With these things in mind, I came up with a list of five reasons why groups should consider Glenwood Springs.

Glenwood Hot Springs is open year round. Courtesy Glenwood Hot Springs Resort.

Rich History

This friendly mountain town has welcomed visitors and groups from around the world since the late 19th century with the arrival of railroads in 1887 and opening of Glenwood Hot Springs Pool just across the street in 1888 and Hotel Colorado across the street in 1893.

An interesting tidbit is that Glenwood Springs was one of the first communities in the United States to provide electric lights for its citizens, even before New York City! Years later, in 2019, Glenwood Springs became the second city in Colorado and the seventh in the United States to use 100 percent renewable electricity, a bonus for Glenwood Springs meeting planners looking for green destinations and venues.

Attendees of the national Hot Springs Connection conference held in Glenwood Springs. Photo by Vicky Nash.

Varied Transportation Options

Speaking of trains (and planes and automobiles), Amtrak stops through Glenwood Springs at a downtown depot and is easy to catch from Denver Union Station to the east or Grand Junction to the west. The community also is within easy driving distance of regional airports in Aspen, Vail/Eagle and Grand Junction and is located 160 miles west of Denver (three hours from Denver International Airport).

While they count as both transportation and recreation, there are miles of hiking and trails, including the 42-mile paved Rio Grande Trail that connects Glenwood Springs to Aspen, and fun whitewater rafting trips through Glenwood Canyon.

Whitewater rafting in Glenwood Canyon. Courtesy Visit Glenwood Springs.

Distinct Lodging & Meeting Space

With more than 1,700 sleeping rooms and a variety of indoor and outdoor meeting space, Glenwood Springs hosts a variety of small to medium groups, ranging from corporate meetings to reunions and weddings. Lodging options range from historic hotels and bed and breakfasts to cabins and campgrounds.

One of the best known as mentioned earlier is the 130-room Hotel Colorado, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. Over its long history, the property has welcomed notables such as Teddy Roosevelt, William Taft and the “Unsinkable” Molly Brown. The hotel’s 10,000 square feet of meeting space (seven rooms) was recently renovated and can host groups from 10 to 250. In summer and fall, the spacious front courtyard and outdoor Coppertop Bar are favorites places for gatherings, meals and beverages.

Larger groups can utilize Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge next door for overflow and two additional small meeting rooms, and Hotel Denver is just across the pedestrian bridge that conveniently links Hotel Colorado and Glenwood Hot Springs Pool to downtown. A few additional ideas for meeting and event spaces included the Community Center, Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts, Glenwood Park, Sayre Park and Two Rivers Park. Nearby, Sunlight Mountain Resort provides skiing and snowboarding fun along with a function room that is more than 3,400 square feet.

Newly renovated meeting room that opens onto a patio. Courtesy Hotel Colorado.

More Ways to Play           

Glenwood Springs is actually home to three geothermal attractions: Glenwood Hot Springs Resort, Yampah Spa & Vapor Caves and the newer Iron Mountain Hot Springs, featuring 16 pools situated along the Colorado River.

America’s only mountaintop theme park, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, is especially group friendly and is reached by a speedy new tram, giving guests access to thrill rides (e.g., alpine coaster, giant canyon swing and haunted mine drop), family attractions, cave tours and more. Group can gather for a meeting or meal and enjoy this unique attraction.

Don’t miss the world-class fishing on the Roaring Fork River and bring your team to Colorado Adventure Center for ziplining and an aerial adventure course. Or take it easy and attend shows at Glenwood Vaudeville Revue and learn more about the town’s rich history through Glenwood Springs Historical Society’s Frontier Historical Museum and Doc Holliday Museum. For groups with beer connoisseurs, head to Glenwood Canyon Brewpub and Casey Brewing & Blending.

In addition to Glenwood Springs being a great destination for meetings and events, Colorado as a state offers a broad range of opportunities for groups. And Destination Colorado is dedicated to helping planners find just the right fit for their gatherings!

The Giant Canyon Swing with dizzying views of Glenwood Springs. Courtesy Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.

Beth Buehler has been editor of Colorado Meetings + Events magazine for 15 years and helped launch Mountain Meetings magazine in 2013. She has planned numerous meetings and events and enjoys exploring Colorado.

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Named after its medicinal hot sulfur springs and sitting at the confluence of the Roaring Fork and Colorado Rivers, Glenwood Springs is a friendly mountain town that has welcomed visitors from around the world for decades. Located 180 miles west of Denver, Glenwood is also easily accessible by the neighboring Aspen Airport, approximately 30 minutes drive away and features a variety of meeting facilities. With epic fly fishing, rafting, hiking, and biking Glenwood Springs offers all of the favorite Colorado mountain activities in addition to some of its own unique attractions. You can ride the Iron Mountain Tram up to the Giant Canyon Swing or explore the caves at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, partake in the namesake past time and visit the Hot Pools – the largest in the world at over two blocks long. And visit the Challenge Ropes Course, Vapor Caves, or Zipline Adventures for a memorable time.

Lodging options range from the boutique bed and breakfast to the elaborate and historic hotel and even cabins and campgrounds. Glenwood offers an array of meeting and event spaces including the Community Center and the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts. There are also outdoor venues located throughout town such as the Glenwood Park, Sayre Park, and Two Rivers Park. Nearby Sunlight Mountain Resort provides not only skiing in winter but a 3,400+ square foot function room with on premise catering making it a perfect venue for your large group or meeting.

Various events are held throughout the year in Glenwood including Strawberry Days, the Western Rodeo, the Garfield County Fair, the Annual Mountain Fair Festival, Grand River Classic Car and Motorcycle Days, the Historic Ghost Walk the Tour d’Art, and, quickly becoming a capital for not only kayaking and rafting but stand up paddling, there are several Glenwood Whitewater Events at the Whitewater Park. Come to Glenwood Springs and “soak it all in”.