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An Insider’s Look to Exploring Cascade Canyon Winter Trail

Image courtesy: durango.org

From its snow capped mountains to its festive small towns, there’s no question that Durango is a winter wonderland. Consider embarking on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure by exploring Cascade Canyon. Whether you’re interested in snowshoeing or simply taking in the sites, this scenic oasis has something for the whole family to enjoy. Read on for everything you need to know about the famous Cascade Canyon Winter Trail. . 

Cascade Creek Trail

No trip to Durango is complete without a visit to Cascade Creek Trail, which is found within Cascade Canyon. Located near Durango, this trail  is situated off of Highway 550 and is easily accessible to the public. Adventurers will be rewarded with views of a waterfall, which is often frozen during the winter. With an elevation gain of 1,500 feet, Cascade Canyon Trail attracts avid winter sports enthusiasts. 

Winter Sports at Cascade Canyon

Cascade Canyon is known for its ice climbing and snowshoeing. The frozen waterfalls make this an optimal spot for ice climbing, offering great conditions for climbers of all experience levels. The best time for ice climbing is from mid-January to mid-February. 

Snowshoeing is another popular sport that’s enjoyed at Cascade Canyon. Thanks to the elevation gain of 1,500 feet, Cascade Canyon primarily attracts experienced snowshoers. There’s plenty of trails to choose from, which means you can easily select a route that best suits you. 

All Aboard the Cascade Canyon Winter Train

Image courtesy: durangotrain.com

If you’re looking to explore Cascade Canyon another way, consider taking a ride on the Cascade Canyon Winter Train. Departing from Downtown Durango, this train ride covers 26 miles each way and totals in a 5.25 hour trip. Passengers will have a front row seat to stunning views of the Animas River, picturesque Rocky Mountains, and pine trees covered in snow – all the while staying warm in their heated cabins. Pricing and booking can be found directly on the D&SNGRR website

Whether you’re exploring Cascade Canyon on foot or from the heated cabin of your train, this stop is one that you won’t want to miss. 

Best Skiing Destinations in Southwest Colorado

With its world-class mountains boasting wide open ski slopes, Southwest Colorado is paradise for ski enthusiasts. Southwest Colorado is home to the San Juan Mountains, which offers some of the best slopes in the state. Instead of sitting around the fire this winter, get ready to have the adventure of a lifetime. Here’s a look into five of the best skiing destinations near Glacier. 

Purgatory Resort 

Ski season at Purgatory Ski Resort will kick off on Saturday, November 19.

Located just outside of Durango, Purgatory Ski Resort is a favorite amongst locals. The mountain is known for its 1,300 skiable acres, 2,000 foot vertical  and top-notch snow quality. With a mix of steep tree skiing trails and wide-open cruisers, skiers can look forward to groomed runs and stunning views.

Telluride Ski Resort

Telluride Ski Resort opens on November 24, 2022.

Telluride is one of the most visited ski resorts in Southwest Colorado and, once you’ve been here, it’s not hard to understand why.  Telluride Ski Resort features more than 2,200 acres of skiable area, appealing to everyone from beginners to experts. With a maximum elevation of 13,150 feet, the mountain receives an average of 280 inches of snowfall annually. The mountain’s 4,425 feet of vertical can be accessed by 19 lifts and 148 runs.

Wolf Creek 

Celebrate the start of ski season at Wolf Creek on October 29, 2022.

Located approximately an hour and a half from Durango, Wolf Creek Ski Resort is located in the San Juan and Rio Grande national forest. The resort first opened in 1939 and offers 1,600 ski-able acres. With an annual snowfall of 430 inches of natural powder, Wolf Creek is known to have  the “most snow in Colorado.”

 Hesperus

Opening day at Hesperus is December 17, 2022.

If you’re someone who enjoys night skiing, then Hesperus is just the place for you. Hesperus Ski Area, located just 30 minutes from Durango, is a small ski destination. It features 60 acres of skiable area with 26 trails and a summit elevation of 8,888 feet. Visitors of all ages and skill sets can look forward to the resort’s array of runs, night skiing and ski lessons.

Whichever resort you choose, you can look forward to creating unforgettable memories with your loved ones this winter. 

River Rafting on the Piedra River

Nothing says summertime like embarking on an outdoor adventure with your friends or family. If you’re looking for an adrenaline-racing activity, consider river rafting on the Piedra River. Stretching approximately 40 miles long, the Piedra River weaves its way through the San Juan Mountains. Here’s the inside scoop on everything you need to know about river rafting  on this famous Colorado river. 

All About the Piedra River

The Piedra River begins in the San Juan Mountains, at the intersection of the East Fork and Middle Fork. It continues south, flowing through a lake in the San Juan National Forest, before finally reaching the Navajo Reservoir near New Mexico’s state border. Despite being one of the state’s smallest rivers, it has gained a reputation for its abundance of wildlife and robust activities. 

Rafting on the River 

Outdoor enthusiasts who are experienced on the rapids can look forward to fun whitewater adventures. Located near Pagosa Springs, the Piedra River runs through an isolated canyon with two distinct sections. The distance spans over 22 miles, all the while providing beautiful views along the way.  

Choose Your Own Adventure 

The river’s two sections consist of the Upper Piedra River and the Lower Piedra River. The Upper Piedra River spans over 10 miles with technical Class  III-IV rapids. This adventure will take rafters through a heavily-forested box canyon with inspiring scenery. Meanwhile, the Lower Piedra River extends 12 miles downstream and ends at Lower Piedra Campground. Considered the harder route, this section is rated as a Class III-IV and consists of many drops, wave trains and rocks.

To Know Beforehand

If it’s your first time on the Piedra River, then it’s important to know what you can expect. This river is best suited for experienced whitewater rafters considering its level of difficulty. You won’t find Class V rapids, but rafters can expect a steady stream of Class  III – IV+ whitewater. Rafting the Piedra River often consists of a full-day adventure, with some rafters opting to stay overnight for a multi-day adventure. Whichever option you choose, rafting the Piedra River is perfect for thrill seekers and outdoor enthusiasts. Challenging routes and beautiful scenery will pave the way for an unforgettable time. 

Glacier Spotlight: The Durango Independent Film Festival

Every year, the Durango community comes together to celebrate the spirit and ingenuity of independent cinema. Earlier this month from March 2-6, the 17th annual Durango Independent Film Festival showcased over 100 new independent pictures against the picturesque backdrop of southwestern Colorado.

Returning to in-person programming, the reputed filmmaker’s festival screened an impressive and eclectic mix of narrative features, documentaries, and short films. There were also illuminating coffee talks with the participating filmmakers, intimate and emotional panels with industry veterans, and even a hands-on screenwriting workshop with Liz Tuccillo (Sex and the City, Divorce). There were also brilliant post-screening Q&As, some of which moved both the director and audience to tears. 

In addition to parties throughout the week, the festival also hosted nightly gatherings in the private filmmaker’s lounge with complimentary beverages—including their own festival beer brewed by SKA Brewing.

The week was filled with passion and praise, and we’re excited to continue this long local tradition of engaging with art in our community. 

Standout Films

Ferryman by Darren Bender — Best Narrative Feature
Marvelous and the Black Hole by Kate Tsang — Best Narrative Feature (Audience Award)
To Which We Belong by Pamela Boll and Lindsay Richardson — Best Documentary
ON/OFF by Nicolas Villarreal — Best Animated Short
ALA KACHUU – Take and Run by Maria Brendle — Best Short (Audience Award), Honorable Mention: Live Action Narrative Short

Glacier’s Green Initiatives

We deeply appreciate the inexplicable, heartfelt experience that nature gifts to humanity. As a community shaped by nature, carved into the heart of a grand ecosystem — we strive to honor our Glacier’s ecological legacy. In addition to our environmental projects that have been running for the past decade, Glacier will continue to introduce new projects and initiatives. Here are some of the projects we’ve been working on to reduce our environmental footprint.

Community Recycling

In 2015, Glacier started our community-wide recycling program. Involving all of our facilities and residences, the recycling program serves to conserve natural resources, reduce carbon emissions, mitigate landfill growth, protect natural ecosystems and benefit the local economy. 

Going Solar

Starting this year, Glacier is partnering with the Durango-based Shaw Solar to install approximately 350 kilowatts of solar generation capacity. The solar arrays aim to cover over 96% of the energy usage of the wastewater treatment plant, the Valley Clubhouse, and the Glacier maintenance facilities and offices. On an annual basis, our new solar project’s pollution avoidance is projected to:

  • Remove 408 metric tons of CO2 from the atmosphere.
  • Eliminate 88.8 passenger vehicles from the road for a 1 year period (and the pollution equivalent of driving 1,025,801 miles). 
  • Avoid the burning of 451,139 pounds of coal
  • Eliminate the equivalent of 5.4 tanker trucks of gasoline
  • Provide enough power to electrify 74.1 homes
  • Remove the same amount of carbon from the atmosphere as planting 6,749 trees

Composting Initiative

Covering all of our bases, Glacier is also reducing and renewing organic waste by partnering with local food waste solution Table to Farm Compost. Touching base with each of Glacier’s various dining outlets, this partnership not only reduces landfills and the potent methane gasses they emit, but also enriches our soil and supports our farmers.

Greening our Golf Course

Only 850 golf courses around the world are certified as Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries for Golf— Glacier’s being one of them since 2010. Our course is monitored under the criteria of site assessment/environmental planning, wildlife and habitat management, chemical use reduction and safety, water conservation, water quality management, and outreach and education. 

Roughly 20 percent of the water used on our course is reclaimed—and our new pond fill installation will raise that percentage even higher. Our water quality is improved by aerators and live grass carp. Routine checks of irrigation heads, wetting agents and practicing hand-watering also reduces our water use.

In keeping our golf courses healthy, the Glacier team applies plant growth regulators to reduce fertilizer and water usage, while maintaining optimum playing conditions. We spot treat and hand-pull weeds, maintain buffers around all waterways, use slow-release fertilizers and conduct regular soil tests as well.

On the ecological side of our green initiatives, we’ve installed a multitude of birdhouses around the course, and plan to sow wildflower seeds to expand our pollinator population.

At every touchpoint possible, we seek to make Glacier a more eco-friendly part of the earth. Learn more about what we’re doing on the ground from our monthly newsletter, where some of these projects are covered in more detail. As we continue to grow these initiatives and introduce new ones, we’ll continue to share them. Keep up with our ongoing programs, and join us in our commitment to protect our home.

A Local’s Guide to Southwest Colorado’s Most Epic Ski Resorts

Living in Southwest Colorado grants us immersion in consistently powdery slopes and gorgeous blue skies to match — and Glacier is the perfect locale to take on an unforgettable ski season from. Here’s a local guide on our neighboring ski resorts and what they have to offer this winter.

Purgatory Ski Resort

Famous for: Consistent snow and beautiful weather for stunning alpine views
Suited for: Family ski trips
Distance from Glacier: 10 miles
Ski season: November 21, 2021 – April 17, 2022.

Choice Runs:

  • Getting the hang of it: Columbine off the Twilight Lift, Mercy
  • Pleasure skiing: Upper Hades down Cherub via Purgatory Express Lift, Paradise
  • Challenge trails: Bull Run, Blackburn Bash’s off Dante’s Lodge

Planning your adventure:

  • Purchase lift tickets at least a day in advance for a discount
  • Season passes come with varying options for area access and blackout dates
  • A season pass is the best value for anyone who will ski at least 6 days

Our favorite après ski options: Purgy’s Slopeside Restaurant offers family-friendly dining right on the mountain, and Dante’s offers great backcountry mountain views via deck. For a cozy, rustic atmosphere on the way home from the mountain, drop by James Ranch

Telluride Ski Resort

Famous for: Varied terrain difficulty and beautiful weather
Suited for: Avid adventure skier
Distance from Glacier: 104 miles
Ski season: December 3, 2021 – April 3, 2022

Choice Runs:

  • For new skiers: Galloping Goose, Village Bypass, Prospect Bowl
  • For the freeskier: Ute Park Terrain Park, Hoot Brown if you’re X Games material
  • Thrilling mogul runs: The Plunge, Revelation Bowl and Gold Hill

Planning your adventure:

  • An unlimited season pass will free skiers of reservations and restrictions
  • Reloadable daily lift tickets must be purchased in advance
  • Purchase here

Our favorite après ski options: Ski in/ski out restaurant Alpino Vino is the highest-elevation restaurant in the continent, serving Italian alpine cuisine and a splendid wine collection. Peak’s Spa is another great post-ski destination to unwind after a day on the slopes. 

Promising Young Colorado Olympians Competing in Beijing 2022

The Winter Olympics is Colorado’s bread and butter, with some of the best powder and ice in the world to train for the international stage. In the spirit of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, we’re taking a look at some of our state’s bright and promising athletes. From our very own Southwest Colorado locals to the state’s up-and-coming freshest faces, here are several Colorado Olympains to watch out for this year.

Lucas Foster from Telluride (Snowboarding)

Telluride native Lucas Foster is competing this year as a part of the U.S. Olympic Snowboard Team, participating in the Snowboard Pro Halfpipe event. The 22-year-old grew up riding slopestyle, but transitioned into halfpipe more recently with patience and dedication. Having finished 3rd in the NorAm cup and fifth in a world cup, this is the first time the young newcomer will be riding in an international championship. In his spare time, he loves to cook and coaches skateboarding as well.

Kai Owens from Vail (Freestyle skiing)

Seventeen-year-old mogul skier Kai Owens had quite a remarkable journey back to Beijing. Adopted by a Colorado couple after being left orphaned in Beijing at 16 months old, she’s returning as an Olympian after becoming the youngest American to win a NorAm moguls competition and moguls rookie of the year at the World Cup awards. “My parents have done an incredible job of making sure that we know we’re well loved. I think it will just be really cool to go back there,” Owens told Associated Press before qualifications.

As of now, Owens has finished 10th in women’s moguls.

Birk Irving from Winter Park (Freestyle skiing)

Birk Irving, born in Englewood and now residing in Winter Park, previously won gold at the 2016 Youth Olympics when he was just 16 years old. Now competing in his first adult Olympics, he’s slated in the Freeski Halfpipe event starting February 17th. Irving descends from a family with a legacy of love for snow: his father works for ski patrol, his mother is a former alpine racing coach, and his sister also competes in halfpipe and slopestyle.

Nicole Hensley from Lakewood (Hockey)

Team USA’s beloved Women’s Ice Hockey team is facing off Team Canada once again for the gold on the 17th, and Lakewood local Nicole Hensley is their fearsome goalie. Born in Littleton, Hensley has been on the ice since she was seven years old, and is now gunning for her second Olympic Gold. 

Alex Ferreira from Aspen (Freestyle skiing)

Pyeongchang Olympic silver medalist Alex Ferreira is a member of both the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club and Ski & Snowboard Club in Vail. A rare skiing talent, Ferreira recently won back-to-back events at Copper Mountain, and is ready to ski the halfpipe on the 17th.

Hanna Faulhaber from Basalt (Freestyle skiing)

Making her Olympic debut this year, 17-year-old Hanna Faulhaber was originally inspired to ski the Halfpipe after growing up watching the X Games in her hometown. The young Coloradan earned her first major podium by placing third at the Dew Tour recently. Catch her qualifying run on the 17th!

Glacier’s Alex Fisher Featured in Golf Tips Magazine

Alex Fisher, our Director of Instruction, is featured in the latest issue of Golf Tips Magazine. Fisher’s feature, “The Great Desert Escape,” covers step-by-step advice on how to tackle challenging shots, providing his expertise from years of experience golfing on every type of terrain. 

Drawing upon the skills that make him one of the nation’s top instructors, Fisher shares his wisdom and meticulous thought process with golfers looking to challenge fairway bunker and desert greenside shots: “Playing golf in Arizona presents many challenges that aren’t often found in other regions. Because of the scarcity of water in the southwest, golf courses reduce the amount of grass and rough by replacing it with fairway bunkers and desert landscape around the greens, so it’s often called ‘target golf.’ If you’re not able to keep your ball in play, you’re likely to find either one of these situations.”

Fisher’s golf methodology is one-of-a-kind, spending half the year in Colorado and half the year in Arizona. Explaining posture, backswing, downswing, feel, perspective, clubhead selection, and more, Fisher breaks down every shot into both an art and a science.

It’s a pleasure to have Fisher’s thoughtful and passionate presence on the lesson tee at Glacier, and we’re excited to try out his advice next time we hit the desert.

A Local’s Guide for Dining in Durango This Fall

When it comes to dining in Durango, this eclectic town has something for everyone. The city of Durango, located only 18 miles from Glacier, offers an abundance of exciting culinary options to choose from. Start your morning off with doughnuts or finish your evening at one of the city’s many breweries. Below are some of the Durango’s top eateries you can look forward to trying this fall.

Photo Credit: downtowndurango.org

Ska Brewing Company 

Whether you’re looking for a place to catch up with a friend or take a date, Ska Brewing Company is the perfect place to enjoy a night out on the town. This music-inspired brewery is famous for their top-notch craft beer, including seasonal brews such as Oktoberfest or Mexican Lager Dark. If you find yourself getting hungry, then peruse the menu which features everything from salads to weekly barbecue to wood-fired pizzas.

Ore House

Since first opening its doors in 1972, Ore House has become a beloved part of the Durango community. This chef owned and operated restaurant offers a seasonal menu featuring sustainable meats, wild-caught seafood, and locally-sourced ingredients. To end your dinner on a sweet note, consider ordering strawberry rhubarb shortcake or the vanilla creme brulee.

Photo Credit: Ore House Restaurant

East by Southwest 

While international traveling might not be in the cards at the moment, you can still experience delicious Asian fusion at East by Southwest. This upscale eatery, only 19 miles from Glacier, specializes in Japanese inspired dishes, incorporating both old and new influences. It is owned and operated by Chef Sergio Verduzco and his wife, who have also opened Mama’s Silvia’s – a traditional Italian spot – next door. With a sleek interior complete with gold accents, East by Southwest is the perfect spot to celebrate a special night out.

El Moro Spirits and Tavern 

If you’re looking for a more one-of-a-kind dining experience, then El Moro Spirits and Tavern might just be the place for you.  This eatery is located in a former saloon and lays claim as the site of “Durango’s Strangest Shootout” in 1906. Since then, El Moro has become popular for their New American inspired cuisine and exceptional cocktails. Some of their most-ordered dishes include the honey garlic Salmon or the house-made ramen. Regardless of what you order, you’ll be impressed with the decadent dishes, attentive staff, and welcoming atmosphere.

Durango Bagel

Start your morning off with some fresh bagels from Durango Bagel. This hole-in-the-wall shop offers an assortment of bagel flavors (including gluten-free options), as well as specialty breakfast and lunch sandwiches. The menu boasts everything from rosemary asiago to whole wheat and honey to pumpernickel. Complement your meal with a flavored latte or opt for a traditional cup of joe. Durango Bagel is only 19 miles from Glacier, making it a popular choice for guests. 

James Ranch

If you’re looking for a casual dining experience or prefer to grab lunch and go, then head over to James Ranch. Located in Durango, this popular eatery uses main regenerative ingredients that come directly from the James Ranch itself. The menu features everything from burgers to salads to sandwiches. If the weather permits, then opt to enjoy your meal on the lawn terraces while taking in the crisp fall air and vibrant colors. Or you can keep cozy by dining inside near the fireplace and large picture windows that allow you to soak up the beauty of the Animas Valley surrounded by the red rock cliffs. To finish your meal on a sweet note, consider ordering a hand pie or mini cakes – all made from scratch.

Four Ways to Experience Fall Colors in Colorful Colorado

As the summer heat starts to fade, it’s a sure sign that fall is on the way. Fall is the optimum time to book a vacation to Colorful Colorado, boasting an array of vibrant red, orange and yellow foliage – and Durango provides the perfect setting to enjoy this color palette first hand. Read on to discover some top ways to experience fall around Glacier. ​​

Durango Train

Step back in time and hop aboard the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. The ride weaves through breathtaking canyons and wilderness of San Juan National Forest. You can experience a slice of history on the same track that miners, cowboys and settlers utilized over 100 years ago. This adventure is perfect for the entire family and allows you to see the fall colors up close.

Discovery Stay

If you’re interested in exploring Real Estate options at Glacier, book a discovery stay with our sales team. The stay consists of either a two- or three-night stay in a cabin or cottage, situated in a picturesque setting with autumn colors. Guests can enjoy daily activities customized to their preferences, as well as access to Glacier services and amenities. 

Horseback Riding

Explore the mountain trails on horseback. Trail rides are available through Buck’s Livery, which is located in the heart of the San Juan Mountains. Whether you’re an experienced rider or it’s your first time on horseback, Buck’s offers an assortment of trail rides to choose from.

Hiking

When visiting Durango, be sure to pack your hiking boots. Trek through alpine forests, encounter refreshing waterfalls and glismpe the magnificent fall colors firsthand. Vallecito Reservoir and Gudy’s Rest are among some of the most popular hikes. The trails are lined with aspen, oak and pine trees. The plethora of lookouts give you plenty of opportunities to see the fall colors and snap some photos. 

5 Adrenaline-Pumping Adventures We’re Pursuing This Month at Glacier

There are plenty of adventures to experience in your own backyard this year, but if you’re in the mood for something a bit more daring we’ve got you covered. Here are five of the best adrenaline-pumping activities to get your heart racing (in a good way) this summer.

Mountain Marmot Trail Run

Lace up your shoes, runners. One of the year’s best races is right around the corner. Taking place at Purgatory Resort, the Mountain Marmot Train Run is a 12-mile mountain race. Though the elevation gain on the way up is sure to be challenging, the grade is fairly steady throughout, making the race manageable for novice runners. The event takes place on September 25, so you have plenty of time to start training before the big day.

Ziplining

 See Durango in a whole new way by booking a ziplining tour from Soaring Colorado. From a bird’s-eye view of the Animas River to the surrounding hills, ziplining provides an unforgettable way to experience the incredible scenery surrounding Glacier.  Guests can choose from 27 different zip lines that range from 56 to 1,400 feet in length.

Source: durangoziplinetours.com

The Ouray Via Ferrata

A must-do summer adventure perfect for the whole family, the brand new Via Ferrata is one of the most unique ways to experience Ouray’s spectacular mountain scenery. Constructed by a world-class team of climbers and professionals, the route features 4000’ of climbing and traversing through breathtaking the Uncompagahre Gorge. Designed to accommodate a variety of ages and skill levels, the terrain ranges from casual hiking routes to substantial vertical climbing along rock ledges and across the river via “The Skyladder” – the first of its kind in North America.

Source: mtnguide.net

Inferno Mountain Coaster

Buckle up, adventure seekers. The Inferno Mountain Coaster in Durango’s Purgatory Resort offers plenty of twists, turns and thrills that you won’t soon forget. Riders control the car’s speed with a handbrake, which means you can easily change the pace as you go careening through the trees and over the mountainside.

Source: purgatoryresort.com

Summit a 14er

When you live in the shadow of the San Juan Mountains, you have a wealth of hiking options at your fingertips. If you’re ready for a true challenge, why not summit a 14er? From Sunlight to Wisdom to Eolus, you can choose from various difficulty levels and vantage points.

Our Five Favorite Summer Activities at Glacier

Summer has arrived in the San Juan Mountains, which means that now is the perfect time to embark on some of Glacier’s most beloved activities. Surrounded by picturesque mountains and thousands of acres of protected wilderness, this community offers a plethora of exciting (and relaxing) endeavors, all steeped in natural beauty. Below, we highlight five of our favorite summer activities right here at Glacier. 

Tennis and Pickleball 

Glacier is home to three tennis courts and four pickleball courts, which are situated amidst towering pines a quick walk (or quicker golf cart ride) from the Mountain Golf Course. They are also conveniently located adjacent to the Courtside Grill cafe, which allows players to easily grab a quick bite or drink after an invigorating game.

You can also kick off your morning with a lively game of pickleball. In addition to being an enjoyable social activity, pickleball enables players to work on a number of skills, including balance and agility. This easy-to-learn sport is perfect for groups of varying ages and skill levels.

Hiking & Mountain Biking

There’s nothing quite as rejuvenating as hiking through the San Juan Mountains. Glacier has adjacent hiking and mountain biking trails, with a wide range of difficulty levels. Be sure to stop and admire the beautiful wildflowers and keep an eye out for wildlife—kit foxes and sparrows are native to the area and active in the summer months. Create unforgettable memories by exploring miles of scenic trails along Chris Park, Haviland Park, and Purgatory Bike Park. 

Cycling

Summer is the perfect time to embrace the outdoors through cycling. Durango is proud to offer some of the best cycling in the world. In fact, a Durango native just won a stage of the legendary Tour de France. Glacier residents can rent road bikes and e-bikes for the day, but be sure to make reservations in advance by calling Valley Fitness Center. E-Bike rentals, which are available from the beginning of May to the end of October, have a two hour reservation time limit and a rental fee of $15 per person. This fee also covers the helmets. (Although it is complimentary for Aspen members and their guests). To make a reservation, please call the Valley Fitness Center at (970) 382-7847.

Clubhouse Restaurants

Whether you’re in the mood for casual fare or prefer fine dining, there’s plenty of options at Glacier’s two clubhouses. The Mountain Clubhouse menu specializes in locally sourced fare—think Roasted Organic Scottish Salmon and Glacier Chicken Piccata—expertly curated wines and breathtaking mountain views. The Mineshaft menu at the Valley Clubhouse, meanwhile, offers a more casual dining option.

Swimming 

Cool off this summer by going for a refreshing swim. Glacier is home to  a total of three pools, including both indoor and outdoor swimming pools. The pools have a stunning backdrop of beautiful, glacier-carved San Jose Mountains, allowing swimmers to enjoy a postcard-perfect setting of southwest Colorado. After swimming, consider relaxing in the hot tub. 

The Ultimate Guide to Playing Glacier’s Championship Mountain Course

Designed by renowned architect Todd Schoder and three-time U.S Open Champion Hale Irwin, Glacier’s picturesque Mountain Course is majestically situated in the heart of the San Juan Mountains, offering a truly spectacular backdrop that rivals the game itself. The strategy for this course is decidedly classic with hazards thoughtfully placed to provide interest and beauty while defining alternative playing routes for each hole. That’s why we compiled an array of tips and tricks for playing each hole, plus interesting facts to spark both inspiration and conversation on the greens — all below. 

Hole 1: Fairway to Heaven

Number one is a medium length par four measuring 422 yards running parallel to a beautiful wetland running down the entire right-hand side of the hole. For your best chance of birdie, bite-off as much as you dare with your tee-shot on this “cape” style fairway. 

Interesting Fact: The “clubhouse-tee” is 177 feet higher than the #1 green. Due to the average elevation of 7,600 feet above sea level on the Mountain Course, the golf ball will travel approximately 8% to 15% longer.

Hole 2: Narrow Gauge

Number two is a medium-length, uphill par four that will play longer than its measured 429 yards. For a good chance at par, be sure to club appropriately from the tee to avoid the flanking fairway bunkers.

Interesting Fact: Next to the #2 tee is Rockwood Station, a stop for the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, a 3-foot narrow gauge heritage railroad that operates 45.2 miles of track between Durango and Silverton.

Hole 3: Gold Mine

Number three is a short, risk/reward par five measuring 538 yards to an elevated green.  A well-struck tee shot is a must if you are to have any chance of reaching this green in two. 

Interesting Fact: The architects wanted to create a memorable green, in golf design vernacular, by “burying an elephant” in the middle. As luck would have it, an existing large granite seam bisecting the green formed the shape you see today.

Hole 4: Glacier Pond

Number four is a medium length par three of 194 yards that plays over a pristine mountain lake. The hole is void of any bunkers but offers hazards in a different variety. The green is surrounded by towering Ponderosa Pine and is nestled amongst interesting landforms that create demanding pin placements. 

Interesting Fact: The pond is an actual glacier pot hole that was discovered by the architect on a site visit, which was incorporated into the course routing and converted to a pristine glacier pond.

Hole 5: Mark’s Meadow

Number five is the epitome of a risk/reward strategic golf hole. The hole plays downhill nearly 50 feet and measures only 321 yards from the member tee. A well-struck tee-shot may find this green and offer a putt for eagle. 

Interesting Fact: A coin toss decided the fate of the center fairway bunker on #5. Should it remain or be removed, the architect won and it stayed.

Hole 6: Stagecoach

Number six is a medium length par four of 401 yards that provides one of the more interesting tee-shots on the entire golf course. The back tee is perched high atop a knoll, some 40 feet above the fairway. From this vantage point you can feel the full effect of the swirling winds that have a tremendous impact on club selection. 

Interesting Fact: On #6 lies remnants of the historic Animas Cañòn Toll Road (1875), a vital trail between Animas City and Silverton that freighters, stagecoach drivers, and miners used to extract and transport the riches of silver and gold from the San Juan Mountains.

Hole 7: Hangman

Number seven is a short, dog-leg right par five that can be reached in two, provided you play your tee-shot to the far left side of the fairway. Wise players will take direct aim at the fairway bunker, which is 315 yards out. From here, you have a clear view of the diabolical three-tier green. 

Interesting Fact: Bonanza! Actual gold nuggets were unearthed on #7 during construction of the golf course.

Hole 8: Ambush

Number eight measures as the longest par three on the course at 243 yards. There are no bunkers on this hole but two distinct hazards make par a challenge. First, there is a large flat bottom swale bisecting the large green. Second, a native wetland borders the left side of the green protecting left pin placements. Aim for the center of the green and let your putter do the work.

Interesting Fact: On a clear day, from #8 tees you have a stunning view of Engineer Mountain 13.5 miles to the north. 

Hole 9: Grandma’s Curve

Number nine kicks-off  the beginning of “Horseshoe Corner” (holes 9 through 12) and arguably is the most visually intimidating and difficult hole on the course! Member knowledge is a bonus here. The ideal tee-shot for this dog-leg left par four is played over the right rock outcropping, not through the “chute” to a concealed 40-yard wide landing area.

Interesting Fact: Because of #9’s proximity to Chris Park, the green location was moved four times to receive ACOE approval for construction. Also, it’s quite common to see black bears and one resident mountain lion crossing this fairway.

Hole 10: Horseshoe

Inspired by the 5th hole at Lahinch Golf Club in Ireland, the medium length par three 10th plays to a  partially blind “redan”green nestled between a 30’ granite ledge and 100 foot drop-off. Unlike Lahinch, the flagstick is visible from the tees and there is ample room and width to play a bump-n-run shot to the green. 

Interesting Fact: Over 15,000 cubic yards of granite was blasted and removed to build #10, and over 120,00 cubic yards were blasted for the entire 18 holes.

Hole 11: 7950

The medium length par four eleventh plays gently from right-to-left over the original Rico-to-Rockwood Wagon Road. The ideal tee-shot is 250 yards plus, directly over the fairway bunker to a 50 yard wide fairway, one of the widest fairways on the entire course. 

Interesting Fact: The #11 back tee is the highest point on the golf course at 7,950 feet above sea level and there is 581 feet of elevation change across the 18-hole golf course. 

Hole 12: Dolly

Wrapping up “Horseshoe Corner” is the devilishly short par four twelfth, the epitome of risk/reward play. Number 12 offers numerous options  from the tee. Depending on wind direction, the green may be reachable for the big hitter.

Interesting Fact: #12 is golf architect Todd Schoeder’s favorite hole. Golf designer Hale Irwin’s favorite is hole #15. Let the debate continue…

Hole 13: Lucky

The medium length par four thirteenth works gently from left-to-right playing nearly 100 feet downhill and consequently plays much shorter than the measured 384 yards. However, distance is critical off the tee to leave as short an iron as possible for your approach shot to hold a green that falls from front to back with a severe 12 foot deep roll-off waiting to capture anything played long. 

Interesting Fact: #13 was named by Schoeder’s 15-year-old daughter, Madison. According to her, “anyone who plays the Glacier Club sure is lucky!”

Hole 14: Wesley’s Climb

The medium length par-4 fourteenth is a gentle dog-leg right that by playing nearly 40 feet uphill increases the effective playing yardage to a demanding 431 yards. The ideal tee-shot is played down the right side of the fairway away from the bunkers, which provides the best angle to attack the green. 

Interesting Fact: #14 has the largest green on the course at 7,215 square feet. It measures 144’ long with over 6’ of elevation change from front-to-back. At 7,215 square feet, the green is over 1.5 times the size of an NBA basketball court.

Hole 15: Gambler

The long par four fifteenth plays much shorter than the measured 473 yards due to a drop of over 100 feet from tee to green. The effective playing distance is 381 yards. However, the large pond protecting the left and back of the green demands as much distance as possible off the tee to leave a mid- to short-iron approach to the well protected putting surface. 

Interesting Fact: The original back tee was 50 yards longer and 70’ higher but was abandoned during construction. This picturesque and sublime hole is the favorite of designer Hale Irwin. Awe-inspiring to say the least!

Hole 16: Glacier Cliffs

This picturesque hole plays downhill 60 feet from tee to green to a small, undulating green. The looming Hermosa Cliffs in the background make the hole appear much shorter than it will actually play. 

Interesting Fact: Hermosa Cliff in the background is 1.35 miles away from #16 tees. The cliff reaches 10,279 feet and is best hiked via the Goulding Creek Trail. From the peak you are rewarded with a stunning view of all 36 holes.

Hole 17: Sam’s Gulch

Number seventeen is a grueling, long, downhill par four of 474 yards that rewards local knowledge and experience. The most obvious choice from the tee is to play to the heart of the fairway that is clearly presented in front of you but the better play from the tee is to play your drive over a knoll that cuts in from the right to a blind landing area. 

Interesting Fact: The #17 green, along with every other green on the course, was individually crafted and shaped on-site by the architect.

Hole 18: Showdown

Number eighteen measures more than 600 yards from the back tee but will play much shorter due to its drop of almost 100 feet in elevation from tee to green. The best angle off the tee is down the right-hand side of the fairway, where a “speed-slot” will collect drives and propel them down the fairway. 

Interesting Fact: Even at 611 yards long, the architects meant for #18 is meant to be reachable in two, a risk/reward hole, thus named Showdown.

Glacier Highlight: Our Favorite Summer Pursuits in Southwest Colorado

Every season at Glacier presents new and novel ways to connect with the land, as well as a fresh set of opportunities to craft heartfelt moments with friends and family. Lucky for us, summertime in Durango is an incredibly special time that grants our community a taste of everything — from casting lines to breaking a sweat on the tennis courts. Without further ado, we’ve rounded up our favorite summer adventures that this stellar season affords. 

Raft on the Animas River

The Animas River offers whitewater for all levels of rafters, from Class III rapids just around town to Class V rapids upstream in the San Juan backcountry. Whether you’re a hobbyist seeking to beat the heat or an experienced veteran looking to get your blood pumping, summertime raft adventures are a Durango staple. Book a rental or lesson through Mild to Wild, and embark on your seasonal dose of adrenaline on the rapids.

Image courtesy of Mild to Wild

Horseback riding through meadows

Experiencing the rugged San Juan mountain region on horseback is an experience like no other — and the summer trail-riding season offers adventures both rugged and serene. Luckily for residents at Glacier, outfitters such as Rapp Corral by Haviland Lake and Buck’s Livery right by Purgatory both offer trail rides and pack services to make the most out of the incredible sights that are just moments away from our doorsteps.

Image courtesy of Buck’s Livery

World-class hiking amidst mild weather

Another popular way to enjoy warmer weather is to hit the trails around our gorgeous San Juan Mountains. Summer hikes give our community the best of both worlds — allowing us to shed a few layers in the sunshine while still enjoying stunning views of snow-capped mountains. Follow river trails, scale mountains or trek out to the Ice Lakes near Silverton — summer days in nature are yours to seize. And with gear available from Pine Needle Mountaineering, planning adventures from Glacier has never been easier. 

Mountain biking among summer blooms

Thanks to the snow melt, this season is the time to hit up Purgatory Bike Park’s new trails and established pathway to over 400 singletrack miles in the backcountry. Bike along the nearby paths of Chris Park and Haviland Park, or maneuver the technical trails all the way to Hermosa along the creek. One thing’s for sure — as soon as chilly spring days roll into mild summer mornings, Durango becomes a world-class destination for biking. 

Wakesurfing on Lake Nighthorse

What would summer be without a splash of watersporting? Two miles from downtown Durango is Lake Nighthorse — our town’s choice reservoir for boating, wakesurfing, tubing and more. Lake Nighthorse offers onsite rentals for kayaks, canoes and paddle boards, as well as a swim beach and aqua park for families to enjoy. A trip to Nighthorse refreshes a Durango summer like no other. 

Make Glacier Your Getaway Home for Every Season

The beauty of living on land that embraces all four seasons is that we at Glacier get to live a lifestyle that’s the best of all worlds. Now, with ski season behind us, it’s that time of year when owners trade in their ski gear for trail wear, tighten the strings on their racquets, ready their road bikes and dust off their clubs to hit the links. Whether you’re craving an alfresco meal in downtown Durango this spring, looking forward to exploring our lush, thousand-acre landscape this summer, yearning to get that perfect photo of fall foliage or already seeking that adrenaline rush on the slopes next winter, Glacier is the perfect place to call home — every month of the year. Here’s a guide of what to expect each season in our backyard.

Spring Pursuits

Once the frost melts away, now is a wondrous time to hop on the Durango & Silverton railroad, which winds through breathtaking canyons in the remote wilderness of the two-million acre San Juan National Forest. A year-round delight, this coal-fired, steam-powered locomotive ride takes you through jaw-dropping river gorges as the greenery returns to the landscape after hefty winters, putting you on the same tracks that miners, cowboys and settlers of the Old West rode over a century ago. The tail-end of May is also the ripe time to get back to the golf course and refresh your backswing.

Summer Splashes

White water rafting, ziplining, rock climbing — the list of outdoors adventures is nearly endless in the summer. Situated at the center of gorgeous treks, swims and bike rides, Glacier in the summer is like camp 2.0. While fly fishing is a year-round activity, the summer is a comfortable time to wade through trout waters and get some Dry Fly action. Two miles from downtown Durango, Lake Nighthorse is also a water-lover’s paradise with endless options for water sports. Whether you’re wakesurfing with friends or boating with family, there’s a lot to love out on our waters. Back on solid ground, this is also the prime season for cycling journeys and tennis court showdowns. Summer at Glacier is guaranteed to have you break a sweat.

Autumn Colors

Fall is a great time to stroll through historic Downtown Durango, pick up local produce from the Farmer’s market and take in all the autumnal sights and scents. With an endless array of cultural centers, wineries and breweries, weekends in Durango are a nice reprieve from all the seasonal sporting here in Colorado. Be sure to take a drive on the famed San Juan Skyway in early September to take in the peak fall foliage. Our aspens boast a gorgeous golden yellow, and exploring these brilliant autumn shades can be an adventure in itself — Jeep tours, horseback rides and canoe trips make for lovely fall adventures.

Winter Adventures

It goes without saying that ski season is unbeatable in Southwest Colorado. Hit the slopes at Purgatory and Telluride, embark on a thrilling backcountry tour, hit the snowshoeing and Nordic skiing trails, catch a horse-drawn sleigh ride on family holidays, and sled and tube nearby with the kids. And at the end of the day? Retire to the cozy comforts of your Glacier home. Among the frosty vestiges of wintry gales, don’t forget to retreat to our Woodhouse Spa to decompress. 

With the tremendous sales success over the past year, several families will be celebrating their first post-snow season with us in their new Glacier home. And with the first two buildings of luxury mountain condominiums entirely pre-sold at Etta Ridge, we’re excited for even more owners to embrace the year-round wonders at Glacier in the near future. It’s not too late for you to join us, so please contact our sales team today and schedule a discovery stay to experience firsthand the year-round splendor of Glacier.