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 about 7,000 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 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 owned the land the cave sat 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 Beckley's installed several attractions and improvements. The highlights included mountain top access by gondola built by Poma out of Grand Junction, the first Alpine coaster in the United States, a swing out over the canyon, a mountain top restaurant, and a sluice box. 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 and only in Colorado), laser tag, a climbing wall, a zip line, and bungee jumping have all been added at various points. The swing has also changed to an S&S Power Screamin' Swing which has gained some fame. The last major expansion was in 2013 when the park added three new rides including mine themed Ferris wheel, and a kiddie coaster. However the biggest attraction was the addition of S&MC Hurricane model brought from the closed Celebration City in Branson, Missouri called Cliffhanger. As of 2014, the park plans to receive a new circular swing ride called Glenwood Canyon Flyer and the zip line will be relocated for the third time.
Rides and attractions
|Cliffhanger||S&MC Roller Coaster||2012||Hurricane model, relocated from Celebration City.|
|Alpine Coaster||Wiegand Alpine Coaster||2005||First alpine coaster in the United States and longest one
in Colorado. 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, currently being installed. Located between
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. Uses 6 sets of 3 cars.
|4-D Motion Theater||4-D Theater||2009||First and only 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.|
In addition to the basic Cave Tour, 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.
In addition to the cave tours, there is an outdoor recreation complex on top of the mountain with several thrill rides including the first alpine coaster in North America and Colorado's only 4D theater, mild rides, and children's activities such as a sluice box and geode cutting. There is a mountain-top restaurant, and an observation deck with a panoramic view of the Roaring Fork and Colorado River valleys.