Nature and man collaborated to create the ideal meeting spot in Glenwood Springs. This robust and friendly community is snugged into the Roaring Fork Valley, where two rivers—the Colorado and Roaring Fork—meet. It’s surrounded by snowcapped peaks and is ideally situated between the famous ski towns of Aspen and Vail. Getting there is easy. Visitors can either drive a scenic three hours from Denver or fly into their choice of four nearby airports.
Steve White, owner and director of the Colorado Mountain Soccer Tournament Series and a longtime resident of Glenwood, schedules tournaments year-round for players and coaches who come from across the globe. He notes, “Their initial reaction is often, ‘This is the best view from a soccer field in the world!’
Revive & Recreate
Certainly Glenwood’s landscape is stunning, however, nature’s greatest gift is the natural springs that bubble up at more than 120 degrees through layers of sandstone. The area’s first residents, the Ute Indians, believed the mineral waters had healing powers and named them Yampah, which translates to “Big Medicine.” Eventually investors realized the potential of the springs and the natural vapor caves and built the world’s largest hot springs pool. The attraction came to be known as the Spa in the Rockies and lured famous visitors including gunslinger Henry “Doc” Holliday and President Theodore Roosevelt.
What better way to reward hard work than including free time to relax in one of two hotspring- fed pools or de-stressing during spa treatments available at Spa of the Rockies or Yampah Spa and Vapor Caves?
If those indulgences aren’t enough to get your attention, consider year-round fun at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park & Historic Fairy Caves. This mountaintop theme park presents exciting rides—including a zip ride and alpine coaster— as well as tours of the historic caves. If planning permits, schedule your visit around the park’s Music on the Mountain series.
The city is also a sporting paradise. “Glenwood Springs is a very unique mountain town with outdoor recreation opportunities ranging from river rafting, hiking and fishing to a host of other activities,” White says. “Our soccer tournament visitors have a host of choices to accent their time off the field.” During winter, skiers head to Sunlight Mountain Resort, which is ideal for groups since all runs end in a central location.
Murry Nelson, professor emeritus of education and American studies at Penn State University, has
planned four conferences in Glenwood Springs since 2006. He says attendees “love the fresh air, the river, the beautiful sunsets and the dry climate, as well as the opportunity to get out and engage with the environment.”
Indoors & Out
In Glenwood Springs there are a wide variety of venues that accommodate up to 500 attendees. These include Canyon Club Event Center at Glenwood Canyon Resort, which offers 2,000 square feet of indoor and 4,000 square feet of outdoor space, along with two meetings rooms. This is the perfect spot for nature lovers since it’s located on the banks of the Colorado River in Glenwood Canyon. Guests have their choice of tent and RV sites, cabins that range from rustic to family style, and lodge suites. For teambuilding activities, try the resort’s 40-foot climbing wall, high adventures ropes course or zip line, which rushes 350 feet across the canyon.
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park also has fun options for groups such as the popular picnic package, including the tram ride, cave tours, thrill rides and a buffet dinner.
The Hotel Denver’s Loft accommodates 90 people in a historic building overlooking the Colorado River. The Denver’s 70 guest rooms vary from economy to luxury and doubles to suites. All are uniquely decorated and furnished with antiques. Its sister property, Hotel Glenwood Springs, also offers meeting space.
Nearby, the 126-year-old Glenwood Hot Springs Resort has a lodge with two meeting rooms that accommodate up to 50. Meetings also can be scheduled at Sunlight Mountain Resort, Residence Inn and Courtyard by Marriott, Ramada Inn or Glenwood Springs Community Center.
Nelson’s first group event in Glenwood was for the North American Society for Sport History. Members enjoyed the experience so much they pushed to return for a 2014 conference. Add-ons to that event include whitewater rafting, hikes to what some believe is Doc Holliday’s grave and Hanging Lake, biking, playing tennis and basketball, and of course lounging at the pool. Nelson—now a parttime resident—has scheduled three events, one at Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge and three more at the Hotel Colorado. The 121-year-old historic Hotel Colorado is a gracious property with Italianate-designed rooms and a deep, columned porch.
When it comes to putting it all together, Nelson says, “The Chamber of Commerce has been great in helping with volunteers for conference registration, combining materials for packets and finding folks to perform various other tasks.” White echoes those sentiments: “The city of Glenwood Springs Tourism Board has been extremely supportive of my events, along with the Glenwood Chamber Resort Association and local businesses.”
If you want your attendees to get a taste of the Wild West, be surrounded by nature, and pampered in style, Glenwood Springs is an excellent choice.