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Glenwood Springs is located in the narrow mountain valleys that host the confluence of the Colorado River and the Roaring Fork River. The surrounding terrain is steeply contoured on all sides, with numerous caves to be found. Extensive geothermal resources exist in the area, most famously manifest in the local hot springs.
Glenwood Springs is one of the most walkable towns in America, a distinction that has been recognized by PBS and Walking Magazine, including in the Walking Town Hall of Fame. Though the town’s dense amenities and constrained geography make Glenwood Springs a natural environment for pedestrians and cyclists, the extensive trails run throughout and around the city.
Glenwood Springs has a generally mild and semi-arid climate, much more consistently stable than that of the Front Range and most of Colorado.
Glenwood Springs 2015 was named the “Most Vibrant Small Town Arts Environment in the United States” by Southern Methodist University and the 5th Best Place to Live in America by Outside magazine. It was named the “Most Fun Town in America” by Rand McNally and USA Today in 2011.
Glenwood Springs’ economy has centered on hospitality for vacationers since its foundation, unlike many of Colorado’s mountain towns, which were generally settled for mining or railroad purposes. Glenwood Springs consistently attracted visitors, and thus never really experienced the bust or quiet years most mountain towns endured.
Much of this tourism, particularly during the summer months, typically involves local outdoor sports or the amenities of the town. In the winter, the proximity of Glenwood Springs to multiple major ski resorts and its hot springs draws visitors as well.
Glenwood Springs also serves as a bedroom community for Aspen and Vail, while many people who work in Glenwood Springs in turn live further down the Colorado River.