Glenwood Canyon Bike Trail

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 28 - 36 miles
Difficulty: Easy - Moderate
Elevation: 5727 - 6303 feet
Cellphone: 0-5 bars
Time: 4 hrs. 30 mins.
Trailhead: Two Rivers Park or No Name
Fee: none
Attractions: Scenic paved trail




The Glenwood Canyon trail is a paved path that begins at the No Name Rest Area along Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon and stretches all the way through the canyon to the Sloan/Dotsero trailhead 14 miles to the east. The trail is especially popular with bicyclists of all ages but it also sees a lot of use from runners and hikers. Because of the length of the trail many people, especially hikers, choose to do a smaller section in any one outing. The trail is connected to the town of Glenwood Springs by the Glenwood River trail and the Horseshoe Bend trail. For this post we began at Two Rivers Park in Glenwood Springs which added about 7 miles to the total round trip distance.


To begin at Two Rivers Park follow the path south toward the bridge that crosses the Colorado River. Rather than crossing the bridge take the left fork. The trail leads along the river and under the interstate where it spills out onto North River Street. Follow N. River St. past the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool and continue past the Yampah Hot Springs Vapor Caves to the beginning of the Horseshoe Bend trail shown in the above photo.


From there the wide trail starts out heading east along the north side of Interstate 70.


At the 1 mile point from the trailhead a bridge carries the trail over the interstate.


From here the trail follows the old highway around Horseshoe Bend.


On this day there were about a dozen bighorn sheep browsing along the cliffs above the trail. Rocky Mountain bighorn are a common site in the Horseshoe Bend area of Glenwood Canyon.


After Horseshoe Bend the trail reaches the No Name area where for the next half mile or so it shares a local road as its route.


The official beginning of the Glenwood Canyon bike and pedestrian trail is at the No Name Rest Area. For those that live in Glenwood Springs, or that are staying there, it is easier and makes more sense to begin from town rather than to drive to this point. A popular day trip is to park in Glenwood, ride the trail, and then soak and relax at the Hot Springs Pool afterwards. The No Name/Jess Weaver hiking trail also begins here on the north side of the interstate.


The Glenwood Canyon stretch of Interstate 70 is one of the most scenic drives in the United States. Using the Glenwood Canyon trail significantly prolongs the experience.


A couple of miles past No Name is the Grizzly Creek Rest Area. There is another restroom here as well as a boat ramp that is a popular put in point for rafters and kayakers. The Grizzly Creek hiking trail also begins here.


From this point Glenwood Canyon is becoming more narrow and the trail begins passing under some portions of the elevated interstate and hugging it very closely in other places. You will notice that much of the interstate through Glenwood Canyon rests upon pedestals. That was part of an agreement to preserve as much of the natural beauty of the canyon as possible when building the interstate.


Next along the route comes the Shoshone Hydro Plant. Water is diverted further upstream and funneled through pipes that come down the mountain at this point where the momentum spins the turbines generating electrical power. After that the water is returned to the Colorado River. Rafters and kayakers looking for a more thrilling experience will put in at the Shoshone ramp.


From Shoshone the trail does a bit of climbing to get to the next stop along the way which is the Hanging Lake Rest Area. Due to the extreme popularity of the Hanging Lake hiking trail this is a most busy place where a parking spot is a prized commodity. Many people ride their bikes all the way from Glenwood or one of the other rest stops like Grizzly Creek so they won't have to fight for a place to park. There is a bike rack at the trailhead for just that purpose.


After passing Hanging Lake the amount of traffic on the trail dwindles to a trickle. The section of the trail between Hanging Lake and Bair Ranch is one of the nicest stretches of the trail for hiking.


The next stop is the Bair Ranch Rest Area where there is another restroom and a few picnic spots.


At this point the terrain begins opening up and the canyon with its towering cliffs slips into the past.


The trail comes to its eastern terminus at the Sloan/Dotsero trailhead. As can be seen from the vehicles parked at this trailhead there are people that also begin from this end of the trail. Most of them probably live in the Eagle Valley area. The Google map at the top of the page shows all of the other trailheads in Glenwood Canyon that also make good starting points. With so many options the Glenwood Canyon trail is sure to keep you coming back again and again. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.