One town with two accessible hot springs? You read that right. So how do you choose? In this blog I am going to highlight our favorite activities in Glenwood Springs and the difference between the two hot springs.
Iron Mountain Hot Springs
Picture yourself with a frozen drink, soaking in the warm water and no worries about cooking dinner. This hot spring tends to have less of a crowd and attract the locals. The main family pool is accessible with a ramp and free use of a water wheelchair. The Sopris Café has options of pizza, charcutier boards, desserts and more! There are also some great options with and without alcohol. Our daughter enjoyed floating around with a smoothie! My recommendation is to end your day here. We watched the sunset, ordered pizza for dinner, and stayed until closing. You will find a family/ADA friendly changing space. There is a fold down shower chair and baby changing station in this room but no full-size changing table. There are 19 pools on the kid friendly side and 32 total if you are 21+. The only accessible pool is the main family pool which stays about 90 degrees. You can roll to the side of two smaller hot tubs listed on the map above. This hot spring also does 3-hour wristbands which helps keep down the crowds. Click here for more information.
Glenwood Hot Springs Pool
A completely different vibe at Glenwood Hot Springs Pool where you will find an entire accessible kid’s zone. The Sopris Splash Zone is a kid’s wonderland with padded ground safe for crawling or knee walking like my son. There is a splash pad, baby pool area, slides, and a lift into the kid’s pool! Something I loved about this location was there are no time limits and no extra fees for slides etc. You can come in the morning, stamp your hand on the way out and come back after a break or lunch. Now let’s talk size. This pool does get busier, but it is so large you aren’t crowded in the water at all. The main pool is 405 feet long and 100 feet wide. In this pool you will find lap lanes, a diving board and floats are allowed. It is kept at about 90 degrees making it perfect for families. The therapy pool is 100 feet long and kept at 104 degrees. It features therapeutic water jets for a nice massage. There are 3 lifts on the property, one into each pool and a ramp into the therapy pool. There is also a snack bar with some basic options that are kid friendly. Click here for more information.
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
If you are looking for the best wheelchair accessible views in Glenwood, I suggest taking the Gondola ride up to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. We had lunch at the Lookout grille which is also roll friendly. There were a few ride areas we were able to access and take turns with our daughter doing the mountain coaster and flyer ride. The entire adventure park is not wheelchair accessible as it is built climbing uphill on the side of a mountain. There is a wheelchair lift located inside the gift shop that will take you to the top of the building and avoid the stairs. Just ask a gift shop employee and when you get to the top knock on the door. You actually roll through their office, but they are happy to help, and the view is amazing!
Find the Glenwood Wings
Stop by the visitor center and grab a FREE map for a hunt to find the Glenwood Wings. This was a fun activity for the whole family. I loved that the wings are at all different heights so wheelchair users or small children can easily pose for photos. The visitor center is also a great place to stop and ask questions. Whether you are looking for trail maps or local experiences they can help guide you.
Hike or Bike
We used Glenwood Adventure Company for our bike rentals. They had an e-assist bike that was able to tow our Wike trailer. They do have a few different bike trailer options for children that you can use with the e-assist which is very helpful on trails with an incline. We chose to bike the Glenwood Canyon Trail and it was beautiful. Either the Glenwood Canyon Recreation Path or the Rio Grande Trail are both paved and accessible to hike or bike. The employee at this bike shop was eager to assist us in any way possible and said they have taken kids with disabilities on other adventures like rafting as well. Hopefully we will make it back to try some of their other options!
Where we stayed
We stayed at the Hampton Inn Glenwood Springs. There are accessible rooms, it is dog friendly and there is an indoor pool. Most importantly its location is right next to the Gondola and Iron Mountain Hot Springs. We also stayed at Ami’s Acres campground. There are steps to reach the office, but their staff is happy to greet you at your vehicle if needed for check-in. Call the office on arrival to let them know you are there. Our site wasn’t very wide so if you need to use your wheelchair at your RV site I would recommend calling ahead and making sure your site will be wide enough.
Equipment we brought with us
Safety Sleeper by Abrahms- Robbie sleeps in this when we stay away from home outside of his camper.
Adaptive Life vest-Used at both hot springs and the hotel pool, Robbie uses the LJ-A model.
Wike Special needs bike trailer- Used with a rental e-bike
We had an amazing time in Glenwood Springs and can't wait to help you plan more Accessible Adventures!
When you think about mountain towns and outdoor recreation, accessibility isn’t likely at the forefront of your mind. A roll in hot spring, accessible waterfall and private jeep tour might just change your mind about visiting Ouray with a wheelchair.
Ouray Hot Springs
Ouray Hot Springs offered free use of 2 water wheelchairs and has ramps into the Shallow Pool 82° – 92°, the Hot Pool 92° – 100° and the Activity Pool 78° – 82°. There is also a lift into the Lap Pool 78° – 82°. Another great feature was the depth of water. The water wheelchair rolled right into the pool. You could then either transfer out like Robbie or continue to wheel across the whole pool staying in the chair! When we arrived, I was pleased to find a large wheelchair friendly changing space. We used a bench in that area to change Robbie. There was also a shower chair and accessible stall with detachable shower head. Don’t forget to pack towels (or rent them for $10), sunscreen, an adaptive life vest, and swim diapers if needed!
Million Dollar Highway
The best thing about scenic drives is they are accessible to everyone! The infamous Million Dollar Highway stretches 25-miles of highway from Ouray to Silverton. Drive US 550 heading north to experience this scenic and treacherous drive.
Bear Creek Falls is the only wheelchair accessible waterfall. Drive north from Ouray on highway 550 for this roadside attraction. The roll friendly viewing platform is located on the Million Dollar Highway!
While not accessible Box Canyon Falls is a 500 ft, mostly level, walk out and back. We find destinations like this are perfect for using Robbie’s Kinderpack! (15% off affiliate code- accessamb) We strapped both him and our baby into their carriers and went to explore. Right as you enter there are many wild birds and chipmunks. It’s a great place to sit and watch them up close in nature! The 500ft walk does take you down some steps (these can be avoided by turning right just past the visitor center). You go through the canyon on a metal grate hugging the canyon wall right up until you are almost underneath the 285-foot waterfall. It gets louder the closer you get to the falls. Prepare with noise cancelling headphones if loud noises are a trigger for anyone in your group.
Private Jeep Tour
Our family did a private guided 4x4 tour with Alpine Scenic Jeep Tours. We had never experienced this level of off roading. Robbie was able to use his special needs car seat in the jeep! Before deciding if this is right for you, make sure you are comfortable with bouncing around while your jeep climbs over rocks, drives through creeks and close to the cliffs edge. We talked to our guide about our comfort level and desired views. He came up with our plan for the day and we were off! We experienced every season of weather in our 4 hours, and I say this to make sure you are prepared. Pack extra layers of clothes, gloves, hats etc. We drove up Immogene Pass and not 5 minutes after parking we saw the snow start moving in. That’s right, it snowed in summer! Our driver gave us blankets for our legs that were water resistant and put the clear cover top over the back seats. We drove back down and by the time we reached the bottom the snow had turned to rain. The weather passed in less than 10 minutes, and we decided to try out Yankee Boy Basin. Both drives were stunning and very different! Imogene Pass we were driving the cliffs edge and Yankee Boy we were climbing over rocks. This was one of the best adventures our family has been on yet. We felt safe having a driver that had the level of experience ours did. For that reason, I highly recommend Alpine Scenic Jeep Tours!
Where to eat
The Gold Belt Bar and Grill has great outdoor seating and heaters if it’s chilly. You can find parking at an accessible spot in front of the entrance. You do have to wheel over a small bump up to get onto the patio. They have pizza, sandwiches, and wings making this a great option for everyone. Our daughter loved it so much we got her a burger to go on day 2 while we tried the Thai Chili Restaurant next-door. They have a truly roll friendly entrance and serve boba tea! We ordered drunken noodles and shrimp tempura. It was delicious!
Day trip for adative sports
Ridgway State park– (20 min away)
If you are a disabled Colorado resident, you may qualify for Columbine Lifetime Fishing license and the Columbine Parks Pass which costs only $14 per year for access to all state parks.
We were blown away by not only the inclusive activities we found in Ouray but the people. We had strangers offer to jump in and help us if our hands looked full. Locals took time out of their day to circle and cross things off a town map. Because of them we knew accessible options for lunch. It isn’t often you travel somewhere new, and the locals make it feel like home!
Kristy Cook- Accessible Adventures
Leave a comment if this was helpful!
We visited Breckenridge, Colorado with a family group of 3 generations. I never imagined a mountain town being so inclusive. My son Robbie uses a wheelchair and has developmental delays. He is 8-years-old but cognitively more like an 8-month-old infant. This guide will explain how each activity was accessible and inclusive for our entire family.
Accessible outdoor activities: