Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is an adventure park located above Glenwood Springs, Colorado, about 160 miles west of Denver. Prior to 2003, only cave tours were available until a major expansion took place. The park is unique because it sits at an altitude of 7,100 feet on a mountain above Glenwood. Today, the park features numerous attractions in addition to the cave tours. The only way to access the park is via gondola, or in case of rain, wind or lightning and the gondola is closed, buses can travel down the road.
In the late 1800s, Charles W. Darrow discovered a cave system on Iron Mountain after hearing the mountain "whistle". The source was the cave mouth and in 1895 Darrow opened up the caves to the public. Methods of getting to the caves included horseback to walking. In 1897, Darrow was able to bring electric lights to the cave with the help of the city's hydro-electric plant becoming one of the first caves to do so. In the same year a tunnel was blasted out to Glenwood Canyon with an observation deck named Exclamation Point. With the onset of World War I, the caves were closed to the public in 1917. Eventually in 1999, Steve and Jeanne Beckley, who own the land the cave is on, opened the cave back to public after restoration work. The caverns were accessed by bus using Traver Trail. The next major project came in 2003 when the caverns under went a major expansion. That year the Beckleys installed several attractions and improvements. The highlights included mountain-top access by gondola built by Poma out of Grand Junction, a mountain-top restaurant and a sluice box. In 2005, they brought the first Alpine coaster to the United States and added a swing out over the canyon and a zip ride. It was at this time the name was officially changed to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Since then the park has added a 4-D theater (the first in Colorado), laser tag, a climbing wall and more. The swing has also changed to an S&S Power Screamin' Swing in 2010 that has gained some fame. The last major expansion was in 2012 when the park added three new rides including mine themed Ferris wheel, and a kiddie coaster. However the biggest attraction that year was the addition of S&MC Hurricane model brought from the closed Celebration City in Branson, Missouri called Cliffhanger. In 2013, the Historic Fairy Caves Tour was expanded and, in 2014, the park added a circular swing ride called Glenwood Canyon Flyer and relocated the zip line.
Rides and attractions
|Cliffhanger||S&MC Roller Coaster||2012||The Cliffhanger Roller Coaster, the highest-elevation full-sized roller coaster in the U.S. is a Hurricane model, relocated from Celebration City.|
|Alpine Coaster||Wiegand Alpine Coaster||2005||First alpine coaster in the United States. Formally named Canyon Flyer,|
|Giant Canyon Swing||S&S Sceamin' Swing||2010||Located about 1,300 feet above Colorado River. Featured
on numerous TV shows.
|Soaring Eagle Zip Ride||Powered Zip Line||2005||Relocated three times. Current boarding area is next to
alpine coaster. Featured two different lines.
|Glenwood Canyon Flyer||2014||Newest attraction. Located on edge of Glenwood Canyon between
Giant Canyon Swing and Cliffhanger.
|Iron Mountain Tramway||Poma Leitner Pulse Gondola||2003||One of the first true pulse gondola's ever built. Only way to
park unless weather does not permit, then buses are used. Uses 6 sets of 3 cars.
|4-D Motion Theater||4-D Theater||2009||First 4-D theater in Colorado.|
|Laser Tag||Lazer Runner Laser Tag||2009||Located above restaurant in main building.|
|Giddy Up Ride||Motion Simulator||Example||Themed after a Conestoga wagon.|
|Mine Wheel||Ferris wheel||2012||Relocated from Canada.|
|Wild West Express Coaster||Zierer Kiddie Coaster||2012||Relocated from Canada.|
There are two walking cave tours available, the Historic Fairy Caves Tour and the King's Row Tour, each lasting about 40 minutes. It is also possible to take a more strenuous two-hour Wild Tour, exploring new areas of the cave, including some belly crawling. The Wild Tour offers the most physically demanding excursion into the caves, exploring rarely visited areas in their natural, undeveloped state. Reservations required for Wild Tour.
In addition to the cave tours, there is a mountain-top theme park in Glenwood Springs with several thrill rides including the first alpine coaster in North America and Colorado's first 4D theater, extreme thrill rides like the Giant Canyon Swing, and children's activities such as a sluice box and family-friendly rides. There is a mountain-top restaurant called the Lookout Grille, and an observation deck with a panoramic view of the Roaring Fork and Colorado River valleys. The park offers live music and entertainment daily during the summer. The Music on the Mountain Concert Series runs from Memorial Weekend through mid-June, then resumes mid-August through September. Admission to these concerts is free with the donation of a can of food for the local food pantry.
During Winter on the Mountain, which typically runs from mid-November through February, the park is decorated with half a million lights and a giant Christmas tree with a light show timed to music. There are fire pits for roasting s'mores and visits from Santa and musical groups during the holidays. The alpine coaster and Soaring Eagle Zip Ride are lighted for night rides as well.
Steve and Jeanne Beckley, along with Mogli and Coop Cooper, opened a sister property in 2015. The Iron Mountain Hot Springs is located on the bank of the Colorado River just a short walk from the Adventure Park. It offers 16 soaking pools and a freshwater family pool.