84 miles E. of Grand Junction, 41 miles NW of Aspen, 169 miles W. of Denver

Scenic beauty and hot mineral water are the big lures here. Members of the Ute tribe visited the Yampah mineral springs on the banks of the Colorado River for centuries. Calling it "big medicine," they came from miles around to heal their wounds or use nearby vapor caves as natural saunas. But it wasn't until the 1880s that the springs were commercially developed. The three Devereux brothers, who made a small fortune in silver at Aspen, built the largest hot-springs pool in the world, then added a red-sandstone bathhouse and built the Hotel Colorado. Soon everyone from European royalty to movie stars to President Theodore Roosevelt was stopping in Glenwood Springs.

The springs supported the town until the Great Depression and World War II caused a decline in business. After the war, with the growth of the ski industry at nearby Aspen, Glenwood Springs began to reemerge as a resort town, but on a smaller scale. Today this city of about 8,500, at an elevation of 5,746 feet, is a popular recreational center. The hot-springs complex underwent a total renovation in the 1970s, and additional improvements were made in 1993 as it celebrated its centennial.

Also completed that year was a 12-year, $490-million project to build a four-lane interstate through the 18-mile Glenwood Canyon. One of the most expensive roadways ever built -- as well as one of the most beautiful interstate highway drives in America -- the road offers a number of trail heads and raft-launching areas, as well as viewpoints from which travelers can safely gaze at the Colorado River and its spectacular canyon.