In 1879, James Landis settled the area around the hot springs, known as Grand Springs, and was the first to develop the property. By 1881, a village known as Defiance had sprung up. On August 25, 1885, Defiance was renamed Glenwood Springs.
The railroad first came to Glenwood in 1887. In 1904, the Denver and Rio Grand Railroad Depot, still in use today, opened. Today, Amtrak trains stop at the Glenwood depot twice daily.
The Glenwood Hot Springs Pool opened on July 4, 1888. The stone bathhouse at the Glenwood Springs resort and a vapor cave were completed in 1890. The resort continues to offer full spa services today.
In 1895, the first tours began of caverns behind town. At the time, they were known as the Fairy Caves; today, they're the Glenwood Caverns, a compound with a sky tram, cave tours and zip line.
In 1924, the city of Glenwood purchased Hanging Lake and surrounding lands. The climb to Hanging Lake is one of the most popular hikes in the area today. In 1995, as part of highway construction, a 16-mile paved bike trail was constructed along the Colorado River through Glenwood Canyon.
In 1948, Holiday Hill Ski Resort, now Sunlight Ski Area, opened. Sunlight covers more than 470 acres with 67 named trails.