Glenwood Springs Historical Society
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Linwood Cemetery, Glenwood Springs
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Historical Society’s Ghost Walk highlights women through Glenwood History
Live tours return friday-saturday and again oct. 29-30 at linwood cemetery.
News News | Oct 21, 2021
What: Ghost Walk 2021
Who and why : Glenwood Springs Historical Society fundraiser
Where: Linwood Cemetery, 12th and Bennett
When: Friday-Saturday, Oct. 22-23 and Oct. 29-30; tours at 6:30, 7:15, 8 and 8:30 p.m. (early tour recommended for families with young children)
Tickets: Purchase online [glenwoodhistory.com/ghostwalk2021]
Amelia Williams was a “bit of a maverick for her time,” notes Glenwood Springs Historical Society board member Clara Miller.
Born in England and later coming to the United States and settling in the Midwest, Williams eventually made her way to Glenwood Springs where she ran one of the town’s many boarding houses during the early part of the 20th century.
“She never married, and was kind of sassy … a bit different from other women of the time,” Miller said. “But her friends were always there for her.”
Then there was Elmira Kier, a lady of the night who was known around town as the “9 of Diamonds.”
“She was from the lower class and, to put it nicely, not as wealthy (as the aforementioned Ms. Williams),” Miller said. “But she made her way the best she could.”
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Those are just two of the women from the pages of Glenwood Springs history who participants in the Historical Society’s Ghost Walk 2021 will get to know.
This year’s two-weekend run of tours up the rocky trail from Bennett Avenue to Linwood Cemetery — Friday and Saturday, Oct. 22, 23, 29 and 30 — returns to its live, or shall we say, after-life setting, after going virtual for the pandemic last year.
Four tours take place each night, at 6:30, 7:15, 8 and 8:30 p.m. The early tour is recommended for families with young children.
Due to the fact that more women volunteers stepped up this year to portray the characters at different stations along the trail, organizers decided to go with the “women-of-history” theme, Miller said.
“We’re always beholden to our volunteers and whoever is able to play the different characters, and since we had a lot more women this year than men, it just kind of happened naturally,” she said.
As history was written, though, a lot less was known about the women who helped shape Glenwood Springs in those early years, unless they were relatively wealthy.
“So, we tried to find some stories that you don’t necessarily get to hear about, and people you might not have thought about,” Miller said.
Like Ella Stellar, who died at a young age. “It was quite the tragic story,” Miller said, careful not to reveal too much for those planning to join the tour.
Altogether, there are 10 different characters who will be portrayed during the walk, and it might not be the same ones each weekend. Multiple visits are encouraged.
A few male characters will make cameo appearances, including several of the men who worked the area coal mines; all portrayed by a single actor.
And, of course, Ed Hughes, one of the founders of Glenwood Springs who was credited for helping turn the somewhat rowdy, Wild West town into something a bit more civilized.
After making a return in 2019 following a year’s hiatus due to a lack of volunteers, and then going virtual in 2020, the Glenwood Ghost Walk is now entering its 21st year.
The live-streamed event last October butted up against the 2020 presidential debates, so the live audience wasn’t what had been hoped for, Historical Society Executive Director Bill Kight said.
“But we recorded it and put it on our website with Spanish translation through a grant,” Kight said. “So, people can still go online and view last year’s virtual tour for free.”
Kight said he’s excited for this year’s theme, and the surprise format where people can take the tour twice and get to know a few different characters each time.
Not being portrayed this year, or for the past few events, is the infamous Doc Holliday, after the actor who played the notorious gunslinger retired and moved away, Kight said.
So, if anyone out there thinks they might be up to the task in future years, there may very well be an opening.
To portray any character, part of the task is researching that person and becoming familiar enough with them to talk off the top of your head as if you are that person, he explained.
That’s not an easy thing to do, “but it comes across really well because our volunteers really get into the character and make it real, like you’re listening to them tell their story,” Kight said.
For the most part, the tour has always focused on people who are actually buried at Linwood Cemetery, which contains the grave of Doc himself.
The Ghost Walk serves as the largest single fundraiser for the Historical Society, usually generating about $8,000 to $10,000. Another fall fundraiser will be a gingerbread house contest at the Hotel Colorado, during the post-Thanksgiving holiday lighting celebration Nov. 26.
This year, money raised at the events will go to support some major historic preservation projects that are in the works, Kight said.
One of those projects aims to refurbish the Cardiff Coke Ovens near the Glenwood Springs Airport that had been vandalized.
“We haven’t been able to really stabilize them and we’re hoping for a grant so that we can reconstruct a couple of coke ovens and protect them better,” Kight said.
In conjunction with the city’s South Bridge project, the Historical Society also hopes to build a pullout and parking area at the coke ovens for people to visit and learn about their history.
Ghosts of Glenwood
Glenwood Springs’ ghost stories are pretty well known, especially those associated with the Hotel Colorado. Those stories are chronicled in some of Colorado’s ghost story books, including “Ghost Hunting in Colorado” by Clarissa Vazquez and “Guide to the Colorado Ghost Towns and Mining Camps” by Perry Eberhart.
“Apparition Manor — True Ghost Stories of the Hotel Colorado” by Kathy Rippy Fleming is all about those local ghost stories.
“There are some really good ghost stories right here,” Kight said of the 1905 Victorian-style house at Colorado Avenue and 10th Street that houses the Frontier History Museum.
“This house reportedly has the presence of ghosts, and we had a group come in that has some special meter that they use, and they did get a reading up in the bedroom, where an image appeared,” Kight said. “Some people I know in town said they had experienced ghosts here when they were children coming here to visit … and smelling and seeing one of the characters smoking a cigar. They’ve come back since and said they smelled a cigar in the dining room.”
The Historical Society also gave ghost tours at the Hotel Colorado prior to the pandemic, and hopes to resume those again some day, Kight said.
“It always seems to be around this time of year that they have things happen at the hotel, like electronic stuff not working or the chandelier in the big dining room being broken,” he said. “We just lay it on the ghost … you just accept that we live with ghosts, and keep moving on.”
Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or [email protected] .
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It's about Time
Glenwood Springs Historical Society
IT'S ABOUT TIME
Donate Call Us: (970) 945-4448 Ghostwalk tickets go on sale October 1
SPONSORS & DONORS
Thank You History Colorado
For the State Historical Fund Grant for Phase 1 of our Cardiff Coke Ovens Stabilization Project
About Glenwood Springs Historical Society
We have a main museum downtown at 1001 Colorado Avenue, and a satellite Doc Holliday collection in the former Hotel Glenwood at Bullocks on the corner of 8th Street and Grand Avenue. also, attend our wildly popular annual Ghost Walk at Linwood Cemetery—where Doc Holliday is laid to rest—that takes place weekends in October.
Your Support Matters
From early childhood education, Linwood Cemetery cleanup, historic site restoration, to archive digitization and building repair, your support goes a long way in helping to preserve our common history.
Would you like to display historical imagery from around town in your office or home? Or are you thinking about giving the gift of an old, nostalgic photograph to someone special? Browse our gallery and let us know how we can help!
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How You Can Help
Our shared time past is bound by the work we do. If you believe in the conservation of historic knowledge, help us continue these necessary duties by donating today.
1001 Colorado Ave., Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday
Doc Holliday Collection- in lower level of Bullock's Western Wear
732 Grand Ave, Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily
Thank you for your commitment to the community of Glenwood Springs. It's people like you that keep our history alive and well!
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Call Us: (970) 945-4448
Aspen & the Maroon Bells
Established in 1886, this is where John Henry ‘Doc’ Holliday was allegedly laid to rest in November 1887 (debate about this persists, since some scholars claim the ground would have been frozen). Harvey ‘Kid Curry’ Logan, a member of the gang headed by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, is also here. It's a 0.5-mile hike uphill from 12th and Bennett.
Every year in October there’s a guided cemetery ghost walk , which can be arranged through the Frontier Historical Museum .
cnr 12th St & Bennett Ave
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Doc Holliday in Colorado: Visiting His Grave in Glenwood Springs
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Doc Holliday is well-known for being a dentist, gambler and gunfighter in the late 1800’s.
Did you know that visiting his grave is one of the top attractions in Glenwood Springs ?
As you may already know, fans of history will find plenty of wild west stories right here in Colorado.
From our gold rush ghost towns to the fables of famed gunslingers, cowboy campfire stories run throughout Colorado’s colorful history.
And Doc Holliday is no different.
In this guide, you will learn more about Colorado and the iconic story of Doc Holliday, how he died, and how to visit his tombstone.
Who was Doc Holliday?
John Henry Holliday was born in Griffin, Georgia in 1851.
He was born with a cleft palate and underwent surgery early in his life to correct it.
His mother, a proper Southern belle, worked with him to perfect his speech and his manners.
In 1870, he moved to Philadelphia to attend what is now called the University of Pennsylvania Dental School, where he graduated in 1872.
Fun fact: His title as a dentist earned him the nickname “Doc”.
Doc first returned to Georgia to open his dental practice, but was diagnosed with tuberculosis soon after.
To help his condition, he was advised to move to a drier climate so Doc transplanted himself and his practice to Dallas.
(Which is not much drier than Georgia, if you have ever lived in Texas you can totally relate to this!)
Though Doc Holliday did practice dentistry for a while in Dallas, the pull of the card tables eventually drove him further west into the frontier.
After being fined from gambling in Texas, in 1875 Doc relocated to Denver under the alias Tom Mackey.
He moved around frequently during this period of his life, due to his gambling ways catching up with him.
Along the way, he met Mary Katharine “Big Nose Kate” Horony, a dance hall woman (and occasional prostitute!).
She is Holliday’s only known female companion.
How Doc Holliday got his reputation
John Henry “Doc” Holliday was a gambler, gunfighter, and dentist, and best known as an associate of Wyatt Earp.
Due to his failing health he could no longer make a living as an honest dentist and focused more on earning a living as a card player and dealer.
While hanging out with other gamblers, gunfighters, and known gangs, he was among the gunslingers at the shootout at the O.K. Corral.
On October 26th, 1881, in Tombstone, Arizona, Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp were among the deputized marshals who participated in the 30-second gun battle on Fremont Street, best known as the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
The gunfight led to many more shootouts, and Holliday and Earp continued to ride together until they parted company a year later.
In 1878, while serving as a local dentist in Dodge City, Kansas, Doc is said to have saved Wyatt Earp from a shootout with a gang of cowboys who had come to kill him.
The story is part of the legend, because no one knows for sure whether it happened.
But by all accounts, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday became close friends, and rode all over the American southwest together.
Their exploits are often recorded in books and movies about the wild west, and it’s sometimes hard to know fact from fiction!
Holliday lived out the rest of his life in Colorado. Doc Holliday’s tombstone is in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.
How did Doc Holliday die?
By 1887, Holliday’s health was deteriorating. So, he sought out the healing powers of the hot spring waters in Colorado.
Thinking of living in Colorado? This guide will help you avoid costly mistakes and remove the stress of planning so you can experience the joys of mountain living.
He then took up residence at the Hotel Glenwood in Glenwood Springs.
By this time, he was so sick that he couldn’t keep up his work as a card dealer, and was in fact, quite poor.
As he lay dying, his longtime girlfriend, Big Nose Kate Horony is said to have attended to him.
Doc Holliday died on November 8th, 1887 in Glenwood Springs, at just 36 years old.
Where is Doc Holliday buried?
Doc Holliday’s is buried in Linwood Cemetery overlooking the city of Glenwood Springs, Colorado.
Linwood Cemetery is the oldest existing cemetery in Glenwood Springs, and was the city’s first burial ground in 1886.
After his passing in 1887, he was laid to rest somewhere in Linwood Cemetery (though no one knows the exact location!).
But there is a tombstone and grave marker for visitors to hike up and pay their respects.
Was Doc Holliday a good guy?
Despite his lawless ways and rough character, his reputation as a Southern gentleman earned him some kind words upon his passing.
At the time, the Denver Republican wrote, “Few men have been better known to a certain class of sporting people, and few men of his character had more friends or stronger companions.
“He represented a class of men who are disappearing in the new West.”
“He had the reputation of being a bunco man, desperado, and bad-man generally, yet he was a very mild-mannered man, was genial and companiable, and had many excellent qualities.”
However, things were pretty rough out on the frontier, and Doc Holliday did his share of gambling, drinking, carousing and carrying on.
He’s become a historical figure, portrayed in many books and movies about the times.
Details of his life have been romanticized, and in many ways, it’s hard to know fact from fiction.
Was he a good guy? Well, you may just have to decide for yourself.
How to visit Doc Holliday’s grave
If you want to visit Doc Holliday’s grave when visiting Glenwood Springs, you can follow these simple steps.
This is a fun afternoon outing where the entire family can learn more about history and see what life might have been like back in the late 1800’s.
Hiking to the Doc Holliday grave marker is a must-do activity.
1. Hike up Pioneer Cemetery Trailhead
The Pioneer Cemetery Trailhead is located at the corner of Bennett Avenue and 12th Street in Glenwood Springs.
Street parking is available for free in the residential neighborhood.
You’ll see a memorial plaque at the bottom of the trailhead that details some of the history of Doc Holliday and his life here in Colorado.
The trail up to Doc Holliday’s grave is less than three-quarters of a mile round trip, but it is a very intense hike.
If you are not used to the altitude or the mountainous terrain in Colorado, it is recommended to hike this trail slowly.
2. Know the rules of the trail
Dogs are permitted on this trail as long as they are on a leash.
And you must pick up after you pet as well as not leave any trash behind.
No motorized vehicles are allowed and bikes are to stay on the designated biking paths.
Dispose of any trash in the proper receptacles as the cemetery is located in bear country.
Be sure to drink a lot of water and rest as often as you need, as this trail is short but very steep.
3. See the Wishing Tree
Along the way up the trail you will also see a large tree full of colorful ribbons and pieces of cloth.
This tree is known as Annie’s Wishing Tree started by local resident Annie Zancanella while going through cancer treatments.
The tree has ribbons tied to it with written wishes and prayers along with names of loved ones with cancer. Be respectful of the tree and the ribbons left here.
4. Visit other famous criminals
Continue following the signs and well-worn path up to the top of the cemetery.
Here you will see Doc Holliday’s grave marker.
Other famous desperados are also buried at the Linwood Cemetery, so be on the lookout for the grave of bandit Harvey “Kid Curry” Logan.
Bring coins or playing cards to leave at Doc’s grave marker!
5. Enjoy views overlooking the entire town
As you start heading back down the trail, take a minute to enjoy the beautiful views overlooking the valley below.
Linwood Cemetery is not only historic because of Doc Holliday’s grave, but also because many other locals who were buried here.
Check out the Doc Holliday Museum
While in Glenwood Springs learning about Doc Holliday’s life, check out the Doc Holliday Museum.
This is a standalone museum dedicated to the life and artifacts of Doc Holliday.
Here, you can view the derringer that Big Nose Kate Horony gave to Holliday, as well as the only remaining beam and stone wall from the Hotel Glenwood (which burnt to the ground in 1945).
The museum is in the heart of downtown Glenwood Springs, right where the Hotel once stood.
After you tour the museum, head upstairs into Bullock’s Western Store to outfit yourself or your home in modern western wear and furniture.
Bullock’s also stocks Zapotec Indian rugs, made in the Navajo tradition by the Zapotec Indians in Oaxaca City, Mexico.
Life on the frontier in Colorado
Separate from the Doc Holliday Museum, a visit to the Glenwood Springs Historical Society Frontier Museum is a must-see.
It is located on Colorado Ave in downtown Glenwood Springs and highlights the colorful history that this area has to offer.
From stories about the early settlers to the rugged life on the frontier, this museum is well worth a visit.
You can wander through a replica pioneer house, learn more about ranching and mining, and explore the deep roots of the Ute Indians native to this area.
If you happen to visit in the fall , be sure to check out the Ghost Walk, hosted by the Historical Society every October!
Doc Holliday’s life in Colorado
Doc Holliday visited Colorado many times during his life before he died.
He is first known to have visited Colorado when he arrived in Denver after closing his dental practice in Texas in 1874.
Doc left Colorado for the promise of a gold boomtown in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where he went to deal cards.
He moved around often, and is known to have returned to Denver before departing again for Wyoming, Kansas, and eventually Texas.
Until they parted ways in 1882, Doc Holliday rode with Wyatt Earp, and it is not known whether they visited Colorado together.
However, after leaving Earp’s gang, Holliday headed for the healing waters of Glenwood Springs, Colorado.
This is where he died and you can hike to his tombstone at the Linwood Cemetery in the center of town.
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Linwood Cemetery – Glenwood Springs, CO
Linwood Cemetery is a mountain cemetery located in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. The hike is a steep one up the side of a mountain, but the final destination and the gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains and town are totally worth the effort. Dogs are allowed on leash on the hike and at the cemetery, although we did run into some people who didn’t seem to take the request to leash to heart. However, is is well-advised to keep dogs leashed even if well-behaved, because there are also mountain lions known to frequent the area.
John Henry “Doc” Holliday is the most well-known person buried in Linwood Cemetery. Doc Holliday was an American gambler, gunslinger, and dentist, infamous for being involved in the shootout at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona along with Wyatt Earp. Doc suffered from tuberculosis and spent the last few years of his life in Colorado, where he passed away on November 8, 1887 at the age of 36.
Harvey Alexander Logan, known as Kid Curry is another infamous Old West outlaw and gunman buried in the cemetery. He rode with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’s Wild Bunch. While on the run from a posse on June 17, 1904, Kid was shot, wounded and decided to shoot himself in the head to commit suicide in order to avoid capture.
FAMOUS AND INFAMOUS
Famous and infamous visitors to glenwood springs.
As an Old West town, Glenwood Springs is full of dichotomies—and that includes the mix of names of those who were past guests. The historical roster ranges from one of the most beloved leaders of the free world to some the most wanted criminals in US history. On the one hand, are those famous for their honor, bravery and philanthropy; and on the other for their greed, treachery and malice.
Born in Georgia, John Henry Holliday was raised a southern gentleman, always well-dressed and soft-spoken. Trained as a dentist, his career was cut short when he contracted tuberculosis. “Doc” headed west in search of both a better climate and fortunes. He became a legend for his part in the shootout that occurred at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona on Oct. 26, 1881. The battle, which also involved Wyatt Earp and his brothers, lasted mere seconds and cut down three known outlaws who were part of the treacherous gang known as The Cowboys. Doc arrived in Glenwood Springs in May of 1887, seeking relief for his lung disease. Unfortunately, he would only last a few more months. John “Doc” Holliday died, in his bed at the Glenwood Springs Hotel, on Nov. 8, 1887. He is buried in Potter’s Field at Linwood Cemetery, though due to his fame, a memorial marker was erected in his honor. He was 36 years old.
“Buffalo Bill” Cody
A flamboyant personality, William Frederick Cody was a soldier, buffalo hunter, frontiersman and a rider for the Pony Express but is best known as an entrepreneur and showman. He founded Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in 1887, a traveling entertainment troupe. Cody made frequent stops in Glenwood Springs to visit his good friend Dr. William Crook. Unbeknownst to him, on Jan. 5, 1917, Cody paid his last visit. He died just five days later in Denver. He is buried on Lookout Mountain in Golden, Colorado.
President Theodore Roosevelt
His first visit was as Vice President in 1901. During that initial hunting trip, Roosevelt bagged several trophies including a record-breaking mountain lion. During his term as President, the Hotel Colorado became known as the “Little White House of the United States.” In addition to running the country from Glenwood Springs, the avid sportsman took advantage of the abundant hunting opportunities in the area. According to legend, not all of Roosevelt’s expeditions were successful. When he returned to the Hotel Colorado empty-handed, it is believed that hotel maids fashioned a cloth bear from scraps of material and presented it to his daughter who was with him. She was delighted and named the bear, “Teddy.” Some say that is how the beloved stuffed toy came to be.
A cowboy and actor, Tom Mix was the star of 291 Western films from 1909 to 1910. He was acknowledged as “King of the Cowboys” by the young actors who would follow him—Ronald Reagan and John Wayne. In 1926, Mix made the Great K&S Train Robbery, much of it filmed in Glenwood Canyon. For three weeks the town turned out to watch the progress, as well as see Mix and his “wonder horse,” Tony perform their own stunts. A legend in his day, Mix was a pallbearer at the funeral of Wyatt Earp in 1929 and in 1905 he rode in President Theodore Roosevelt’s inaugural parade.
Margaret Tobin Brown
After surviving the sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912, she was referred to as the “Unsinkable Molly Brown.” It was because of her tireless urging that her lifeboat returned to the debris field of the sinking ship to look for survivors. Her sense of humor and magnanimity are equally famous. Though her husband struck it rich in Leadville, Molly (Maggie to her friends) continued to work in the town’s soup kitchens serving less fortunate souls. She was a fervent promoter of the rights for workers and the poor, as well as the education and literacy of children. A lover of travel, Brown frequented the Hotel Colorado, where one of the tower suites is named after her. Margaret’s family has graciously furnished many of her photographs and even a telegraph she sent after the sinking of the Titanic as displays in her signature suite.
Harvey Alexander Logan, Kid Curry, rode with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’s Wild Bunch gang. Curry was a cold-hearted killer with the murder of at least nine lawmen attributed to him and he participated in several bank and train robberies. The last of his heists occurred on June 7, 1904 when he and two other gang members robbed the Denver and Rio Grande train outside Parachute, Colorado. Pursued by a posse, Curry was wounded in a shootout and decided rather than be captured and hanged, he would take his own life. Harvey Logan is buried in Linwood Cemetery in Glenwood Springs.
“Diamond Jack” Alterie
A Chicagoland gangster, Alterie had an extensive rap sheet that included burglary, hijacking, kidnapping, racketeering and homicide. His given name was Leland Jack Varain, but he had many aliases. His nickname stems from his penchant for dressing in a flashy manner. He was particularly fond of tall cowboy hats, gold jewelry, custom made cowboy boots and a particularly gaudy diamond-studded belt buckle. Though he made his home in Sweetwater near Gypsum, he often stayed in Glenwood Springs. On two separate occasions, while at the Hotel Denver he wounded three innocent bystanders during drunken brawls. Justice was served quicky, as Alteri was fined and given the choice of prison or leaving Colorado permanently. He returned home to Chicago where he was gunned down in the street by rival gang members.
The notorious Chicago gangster also known as “Scarface” rose to prominence during Prohibition in the 1920s. Between bootlegging and racketeering, Capone built a vast underworld criminal empire. When in town he shopped for gems at Dever Jewelry and preferred to stay at the Hotel Colorado. The mobster is said to have used a now blocked tunnel in the basement to smuggle booze and women into the hotel. In 1931, Capone was sentenced to 11 years in prison for tax evasion. He died of complications from a stroke in 1947.
Just months after his escape from the Pitkin County Jail in Aspen, psychopath and serial killer, Ted Bundy was recaptured and incarcerated in the Garfield County Jail in Glenwood Springs, but he did not stay long. He escaped on the evening of Dec. 30, 1977 by slipping through a small hole in the ceiling of his cell, crawling through a passageway and exiting through a closet in an adjacent room. Bundy hitchhiked his way out of the area and was permanently taken into custody in April 1979. He was executed by electric chair in Florida on Jan. 24, 1989.
Explore all of the historical things to do, learn and see in Glenwood Springs with a modern twist; there is something for everyone and a new adventure to be had every day! For more Glenwood Springs history, visit the Glenwood Springs Historical Society and Frontier Museum .
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Hanging Lake winter hiking reservations are now available. Visit the Hanging Lake page HERE for more information and the booking portal.