Copyright: USDA Forest Service
Aerial view of Glenwood Canyon, looking to the east
This stretch of I-70, although the last section completed, is considered by many to be the most beautiful in Colorado. As this double decker highway makes its way from Dotsero to Glenwood Springs, it follows the Colorado River sticking close to the canyon wall. At numerous points, nearly vertical cliffs rise 1,000 feet above the Colorado River. Canyon walls of 2,000 to 2,500 feet are common. The interstate construction was begun in the early 60's and was not completed until 1993.
SITES OF INTEREST
SCENIC VIEWS - This route offers many spectacular views. There are majestic views of the Canyon walls and of the Colorado River. Although uncommon, it is possible to see bighorn sheep (usually in the No Name area) that were reintroduced to the area in the winter of 1989-90 and 1991. It is also possible at times to see deer, elk, water fowl, and other wildlife.
RECREATION TRAIL - Starting at Dotsero (exit 133), there is a recreation trail that follows the Colorado River all the way to Glenwood Springs. This paved path is a
great way to enjoy the Glenwood Canyon. This path is sometimes closed in the spring due to high water conditions. This path goes through all the rest areas in the Canyon, so picnic and restroom facilities are available throughout the trip.
BAIR RANCH (exit 129) - This rest area offers a shaded picnic area and restrooms, There is also an interpretive sign that tells about the sheep ranch located across the river.
TUNNELS - There are three tunnels located within the canyon. The longest is the second tunnel, approximately 4,000 feet long.
SHOSHONE POWER PLANT (exit 123, eastbound access only) - Constructed between 1905 and 1909, the Shoshone Power Plant supplies hydroelectric power to eastern Colorado. The dam for this project is located near Hanging Lake Rest Area and was the first of several great dams that would eventually control the Colorado River. This exit also has a raft launch site, a toilet facility, and limited parking.
GRIZZLY CREEK (exit 121) - Named in 1881 by a man named Ryan, who killed the largest grizzly bear in western Colorado there. This exit now offers a rest area, with picnic tables, a raft launch site, and access to the Grizzly Creek trail, a 3.4 mile hike. If trying to get to Hanging Lake take this exit.
HANGING LAKE (exit 125, eastbound access only) - One of the most popular hikes in Colorado, this hike is definitely worth the climb. A steep 1.2 miles leads to Hanging Lake with the Bridal Veil Falls and another short trail to Spouting Rock. This exit also has a rest area and picnic area at the base of the trail head.
Directions from Eagle: The Glenwood Canyon portion of I-70 begins 15 miles west of Eagle. This is the start of this scenic drive.
Directions from Vail: Follow I-70, 45 miles west to Glenwood Canyon. This is the start of this scenic drive.
Directions from Beaver Creek: Follow I-70, 45 miles west to Glenwood Canyon. This is the start of this scenic drive.