South Canyon

South Canyon Area Parks & Management Plan Outreach

Project Description: 

The City of Glenwood Springs is embarking on a public process to inform a future management plan for approximately 3,000 acres of designated parkland in the South Canyon area, west of the municipal limits of the City (view map, below). The key deliverable of the fall 2021 process will be a summary of public outreach regarding the various uses of the area and related issues to help facilitate future area management planning by the City. This report is anticipated to be presented to City Council in December 2021.

The report will lay the groundwork for a Request for Proposals to Develop Area Management Plan (if funding allows). The plan will expand upon public input and consider safety and operational concerns to provide recommendations for improving and protecting the canyon’s ecosystem while enhancing public access to recreation and historical resources in the area. The plan will build on recent studies and public outreach to evaluate a variety of proposed upgrades to existing trails and sites, as well as the possibility of developing new recreational opportunities in the area, including campsites and bike trails. 

How to Participate:

  1. Request a stakeholder interview, call 970-384-6441.
  2. Complete the South Canyon public survey - This survey link will be posted October 18 and will close on November 1.
  3. Save the date and attend the South Canyon Public Open House on Thursday, October 28 at the Glenwood Springs Community Center from 5-7 PM.
  4. Email your comments to bryana.starbuck@cogs.us.
  5. Attend City Council Meeting in December (Date TBD).

Background:

Located west of Glenwood Springs, South Canyon is an area of City-owned land with approximately 3,000 acres of designated parkland. This public land encompasses the City landfill, a shooting range, and unmanaged open space. South Canyon is the site of a set of undeveloped hot springs pools (a.k.a. the “Hippy Hot Springs”) where locals venture despite potential health risks. The City also has concerns about illegal camping and potential fire hazards in the canyon. 

Recent interest from developers in transforming the undeveloped hot springs into a tourist destination, as well the construction of the new trails and potential for establishing camp grounds in the area, has generated concerns from a variety of stakeholders regarding impacts on nearby residents and the health of the ecosystem in the canyon, which is vulnerable to illegal dumping, human impacts, and fire risk.  

Future management planning is intended to address the misuse of canyon, outlines potential approaches for enhancing public access and enjoyment of the area, and provides a framework for protection of the ecosystem and habitat that will bring awareness to this unique public amenity. 

This plan will also build on past efforts to inventory the historical and biological resources in South Canyon, including an intensive archaeological survey in 2003 with the US Forest Service to assess the historic significance and condition of the historic coal mining sites and a recently completed historical assessment.  



  1. Bryana Starbuck

    Public Information Officer
    Phone: 970-384-6441

  2. Trent Hyatt

    Senior Planner

Planning Process: 

  1. Convene/Interview Stakeholders to Determine Issues, Needs, and Preferences - In Progress
  2. Public Survey to Determine Issues, Needs, and Preferences 
  3. Public Open House on October 28 to Determine Issues, Needs, and Preferences 
  4. Draft Report of Outreach Findings 
  5. Report Findings to City Council 
  6. Draft Request for Proposals to Develop Area Management Plan (if funding allows) 

Timeline:

The public outreach process began September 2021 and is anticipated to be presented to City Council in December 2021. 

South Canyon Management Zones Map