GLENWOOD CANYON RECREATION TRAIL:
DOTSERO-GLENWOOD SPRINGS, COLORADO
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Last Updated: August 01, 2019
Length: Glenwood Canyon Recreation Trail; 15.4 miles
Difficulty: Dotsero to Glenwood Springs. Easy. Mostly downhill concrete trail.
Glenwood Springs to Dotsero. Moderate. Mostly uphill concrete trail.
To Start from East End Trailhead (Eastern End); From I-70 take Exit 133. Take the frontage road on the north side of the highway (heading west) for 2.8 (from I-70 eastbound) to 3.5 (from I-70 westbound) miles to its end and a parking lot.
To Start from Glenwood Springs (Western End); From I-70 take Exit 116 to Route 82. Travel north to the traffic circle. Turn right on E 6th St and follow to the trailhead. Street parking available. You may also turn left on W 6th St past Canyon Bikes to Devereux Rd and turn left. Cross I-70 and Two Rivers Park will be on your left. From here you can also access the Rio Grande Trail .
The Glenwood Canyon Recreation Trail follows the winding course of the Colorado River and I-70 through Glenwood Canyon. There are plenty of resting areas, picnic sites and restrooms along the route. Traveling west from the East End Trailhead the trail is mostly a downhill grade. Shuttles (multiple bike rental companies) from Glenwood Springs drop you off at the Blair Ranch Rest Area for a 14 mile trip back to Glenwood Springs. We rented bikes and got a shuttle from Canyon Bikes, which is located close to the end of the trail in Glenwood Springs, but there are other bike shops available. For more information visit; GLENWOOD CANYON RECREATION TRAIL , GLENWOOD SPRINGS TRAILS and CANYON BIKES .
Starting from East End Trailhead (Dotsero); I haven't checked out this section. Restrooms available. The cement Glenwood Canyon Recreation Trail travels underneath I-70 and heads west between the Colorado River and below I-70. The canyon starts out with low lying hills and the river is mostly calm. Across the river a RR travels through the canyon as well. After 0.9 miles you travel back underneath I-70 as the canyon gets steeper with jagged rocks. You quickly cross back under I-70. Come to the Blair Ranch Rest Area, where you'll find a restroom, vending machines, water, picnic tables and parking lot at 2.3 miles. This is where I started. At times the trail travels below I-70, as well as underneath it to the northern side, but the majority of the trail is alongside the river. At 3.8 miles the westbound lane of I-70 travels through a short tunnel. You travel underneath I-70 as it enters Hanging Lake Tunnel (0.75 miles long) at 5.3 miles. Here you get a nice respite form the highway. Come to the Hanging Lake Trailhead at 5.4 miles where you'll find restrooms, picnic tables, informational signs and across Dead Horse Creek a map board for the trail (Reservations [$] required for this trail). Use Caution along this next section as there are many pedestrians traveling to the Hanging Lake Trailhead. Pass by the Hanging Lake Rest Area and shuttle parking lot at 5.8 miles. Restrooms, water and vending machines. The trail follows the shuttle road out past a dam on the river then back underneath I-70 as it exits the tunnel at 6.2 miles. Here the main rapids begin along the river. Pass by the Shoshone Hydro-Electric Plant and come to the Raft put-in at 8.6 miles. Here various rafting companies from Glenwood Springs put in their rafts to travel the Shoshone Rapids. We did these rapids and it was a blast. After 10.2 miles pass by a second parking lot for raft access. This is for people that wish to avoid the Shoshone Rapids (2 people in our group were able to join our raft here). Caution; walk bikes along next narrow crowed section. Cross over Grizzly Creek (informational signs) and come to the Grizzly Creek Rest Area where you'll find restrooms, water and vending machines. Just after traveling underneath a zip-line that crosses the river you divert away from the river along a long uphill climb. Pass by a spur trail on your right next to a map board at 12.9 miles.
Note; This spur trail leads up to the No Name Rest Area parking lot where you'll find restrooms, water and vending machines.
Continue up the hill to the road and turn left past Glenwood Canyon Resort at 13.1 miles. Continue straight on-road down No Name Lane (low traffic). You'll pass a gate returning to the paved trail alongside the river after a 0.5 mile detour. Map Board. Travel around Horseshoe Bend before crossing a pedestrian bridge over I-70 where it travels through No Name Tunnel on your right at 14.5 miles. The trail now travels alongside I-70. We encountered two Mt Goats right next to the trail along this section. Pass a gate at 15.4 miles and the end of the trail as you enter Glenwood Springs along E 6th St.
Note; To access Two Rivers Park and the start of the Rio Grande Trail continue straight along E 6th St. You'll pass by the GLENWOOD HOT SPRINGS on your left and the historic Hotel Colorado on your right before following a BIKE LANE. Come to a traffic circle and turn left along Route 82. Travel underneath I-70 where you'll pick up a paved trail straight ahead. Follow this trail right and you'll come to a pedestrian bridge over the Colorado River at 16 miles. This is the start of the Rio Grande Trail . Map board located here. If you continue straight you'll come to the Two Rivers Park parking lot after 16.3 miles. Picnic pavilion, skate park and river access.
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