We could have spent an entire month exploring the Glenwood Springs area, in addiiton to the Glenwood Canyon rail trail. As it was, we found two additional well maintained rail trails within a few miles of where we stayed in the area. Glenwood Springs offers amazing walking opportunities throughout the town. The downtown has trailheads for both the Glenwood Canyon trail, as well as the Rio Grande Trail, that follows the Roaring Fork River.
The two major rivers, the Colorado and the Roaring Fork, meet in downtown Glenwood Springs, and the town has made it very easy to enjoy both rivers, including walking paths where the rivers meet, essentially the trail head for both rail trails, Glenwood Canyon and the Rio Grand rail trail.
We spent a day on the Rio Grande Trail, that reaches all the way to Aspen, CO. This paved trail is well maintained, offers river views for much of its length, as well as mountain views, both close by and in the distance.
This was another “pack our lunch and pick a quiet lunch spot near the river” outing. We had no particular goal except to pedal along on our adaptive tandem bicycle and enjoy what we found.
The day turned cold near the end of our ride, so we were glad to turn back and finish our ride. It was October when we visited. The foliage was stunning, but the dusting of snow on mountain peaks warned that winter was coming.
We rode another rail trail, the Eagle Valley Trail from Dotsera to the town of Gypsum, with stunning views of the Eagle River. I-70 is quite nearby, so this is not a quiet ride. The views, however, make up for the unavoidable road noise. The curves of the river seemed designed for amazing photos.
I enjoyed spotting animal tracks crossing the flanks of mountains across the way from where we rode.
Temperatures were dropping and we needed to move our teardrop camper to warmer places if we wanted to enjoy running water. Our next stop would be Moab, Utah. On our way there we took the time to explore Rifle Falls State Park. We found to our surprise a very accessible, stunning triple waterfall, the only only of its kind in the state. Access to the falls was a surprisingly Easy Walk, for sure!
We were also surprised to see the three huge cascades spraying visitors to the falls, since reservoirs all over were very low. We expected to find a trickle, if anything.
We found karst formations (limestone) that created cool caverns behind the falls as well. We were sorry we weren’t able to spend more time at this lovely state park.
Despite the beauty of the mountains and rivers, I was already getting anxious to head back east. Grandchildren were waiting for us in Tennessee. We had waited till it got cooler down south before visiting in the fall. We got some funny looks when people in Colorado and Utah and New Mexico asked where we were headed. Our answer–“From New England, we are headed to Tennessee, but we are taking the long way 😉 ” More adventures awaited, but grandchildren were getting impatient to see us…. Happy trails!
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a writer who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, and editor of Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed, and Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. Her memoir, the backstory of Easy Walks, is My liturgy of Easy Walks: Finding the Sacred in everyday (and some very strange) Places.
She has been a freelance writer for numerous local, regional, and national publications for the past 20+ years, has helped numerous families to save their stories, and has recorded multiple veterans oral histories, now housed at the Library of Congress.