Our Story

Interesting & Unexpected

A mountain is ideal for many things – hiking, skiing, hang gliding, but it’s not the most logical location for a theme park. Yet, situated 7, 100 feet above sea level in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, is America’s only mountain-top theme park. How exactly did Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park end up there?

Well, follow the path of curiosity long enough, as Steve and Jeanne Beckley did and you might find yourself in some interesting and unexpected places. What started out as a spelunking hobby in college became a quest to explore the private and nearly forgotten Fairy Caves, the closed-to-the-public Colorado cave fiercely protected by its then owner, Pete Prebble.

Steve and Jeanne Beckley

Steve and Jeanne Beckley

Inspired by photos he saw in caving books, Beckley began writing to Prebble in 1982, in the hopes of gaining access to the caves, but almost all of his letters came back unopened, stamped “Return to Sender.” Disappointed but not deterred, Beckley kept up the letter writing campaign. After a decade Prebble relented and in 1992, granted Beckley permission to explore the caves. As spectacular as the images in the caving books were, nothing could prepare Steve and Jeanne for what they were about to see. After struggling though Jam Crack, a claustrophobically narrow opening only nine inches wide in spots, they emerged into The Barn, a huge chamber with fiery red walls. It was here, that Steve’s dream of sharing the beauty and wonder of the Fairy Caves with the public was born. Boy-on-Alpine-Coaster-at-Glenwood-Caverns-Adventure-ParkThe Beckleys acquired the property from Prebble in 1998. On Memorial Day weekend a year later, 500 visitors showed up for a tour of the newly renamed Glenwood Caverns. By 2003, the “little” cave tour operation was accommodating 100,000 visitors a year. To transport the burgeoning number of guests to the mountain-top cave entrance, the Beckleys installed a Poma gondola and dubbed it the Iron Mountain Tramway. Though interest in the caves was booming, the wait for a tour was breaching three hours. “We started putting in rides to give people something to do while they were waiting for the caves,” said Steve. The idea took off and launched the business in a new and unexpected direction – the planning of a mountain-top theme park with a Western history slant officially got underway. The first rides were installed in 2005, including the Alpine Coaster which is still a visitor favorite. Since then, a slew of thrill rides and attractions have been added to the Colorado theme park including the newest, the Haunted Mine Drop, which opened during the summer of 2017.

What began over two decades ago as nagging curiosity to explore a little known cave in Glenwood Springs has become America’s only mountain-top theme park, a place where the thrills run deep and the sky’s the limit!

Accolades

Hard work pays off. Check out a small sampling of accolades the Beckleys and Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park have received over the years!

  • The Haunted Mine Drop was voted the Best New Theme Park Attraction of 2017 by USA TODAY readers
  • The Alpine Coaster was named one of the 10 Best Roller-coaster Rides of Your Life by USA TODAY and Park World Magazine
  • The State of Colorado awarded the Beckleys the 2001 Governor’s Award for Outstanding Community Tourism Initiative
  • Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association named them Citizens of the Year for 2002
  • The Haunted Mine Drop was named one of the 12 Most Anticipated Thrill Rides of 2017 by USA Today
  • The Giant Canyon Swing was named one of the 10 Most Extreme Theme Park Rides in the USA by USA TODAY
  • Glenwood Caverns was named one of the 10 Best Caves in the USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards
  • Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park ranked in the top 4 for Best Family Fun in Sunset magazine Travel Awards

Read the whole story in Roaring Fork Lifestyle Magazine’s Movers & Shakers edition

Steve Beckley’s Dream: Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

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  • If I ever get questioned about my most memorable/best experience adventure park/rides, the answer will be Glenwood Caverns Adventure park.
    This is probably one of those…
    read more

    S L Avatar
    S L
    12/01/2020

    Had an amazing time with the family here. The cave tours were cool. The Alpine Coaster was a blast. The holiday lights were beautiful.

    Eric Simonsen Avatar
    Eric Simonsen
    11/30/2020

    5 star ratingWe took our 2 kids to do the cavern tours. We road the Gondola up, kids enjoyed. We first did the Kings Cavern,… read more

    D F. Avatar
    D F.
    11/29/2020
  • So amazing! All we did was the gondola and cave tours but, the cave tours were amazing and here’s the ding dang deal, I think… read more

    Jesse Rhoads Avatar
    Jesse Rhoads
    11/27/2020

    A wonderful way to spend a day with the whole family. My Son is 4 and about 42 in tall. He was able to ride… read more

    rebekah tresslar Avatar
    rebekah tresslar
    11/20/2020

    5 star ratingGlenwood handles stress in a seemingly effortless manner. Made this a part of our trip through CO, Summer 2020. First arrived to see the caves & that was a smart move.
    Education before recreation….

    We…
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    Phoenix Avatar
    Phoenix
    11/20/2020
  • 5 star ratingCalled off work that day to drive 3 hours from Denver to hide and go on an adventure! Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park called out to… read more

    Alice Q. Avatar
    Alice Q.
    11/16/2020

    5 star ratingGreat for family with kids 5 and older. Incredibly fun. My kids were 6 and 8 and they had a blast. Amazing views and very thrilling rides. We went during the pandemic so… read more

    jmarievw Avatar
    jmarievw
    11/14/2020

    Great fun , great views – Totally worth the trip! The caverns are awesome and all of the rides are super fun and some terrifying…. read more

    Carrie Soto Avatar
    Carrie Soto
    11/12/2020
  • The Fairy Cavern is cool, but the other one around back is even better. The tour guides are knowledgeable, and the people working here are… read more

    Alec Black Avatar
    Alec Black
    11/12/2020

    Great adventure for all ages! This is the third time we’ve taken our family there and the Giant Canyon Swing and Mine Drop are a… read more

    SR Wells Avatar
    SR Wells
    11/11/2020

    Alpine coaster is a must! Mine drop was great as well.

    Rich Thorpe Avatar
    Rich Thorpe
    11/02/2020
  • Beca one of the tour guides for the cave tour and she is amazing! I have done the cave tour twice and been lucky enough… read more

    Junior Ortega Avatar
    Junior Ortega
    11/02/2020

    5 star ratingBuena opción. Una opción si estas fuera de temporada de ski. El precio ronda los 59$ incluye las atracciones limitadas arriba. La.idea de poner un pequeño parque… read more

    Marcial_Orozco Avatar
    Marcial_Orozco
    11/01/2020

    5 star ratingHad a great time yesterday at the adventure park. It was a great way to spend Halloween exploring caves. The staff was awesome. Very friendly… read more

    Sydni H. Avatar
    Sydni H.
    11/01/2020
  • Had a great time here with my family. No crowds short lines and an awesome team of employees. Great for big kids and adults as… read more

    Jim Evans Avatar
    Jim Evans
    11/01/2020

    Fun little amusement park with great views. Kings Cavern tour was made even better with Becca giving a “light show”! All attractions are included in… read more

    Angel Bischoff Avatar
    Angel Bischoff
    11/01/2020

    5 star ratingThis is a wonderful little park up on top of the mountain outside of Glenwood springs Colorado. I had a blast on the rides that… read more

    Matt K. Avatar
    Matt K.
    10/29/2020
  • Enough attractions to keep you busy but not overwhelm you. Some great stuff for thrill-seekers and great stuff for the more timid.

    Ruthanne Dyson Avatar
    Ruthanne Dyson
    10/28/2020

    Excellent theme park. Rides are a complete thrill every time. I have an annual thrill pass!!

    alejandra hurtado Avatar
    alejandra hurtado
    10/28/2020

    Cannot wait to go back! My daughters and I had a blast.

    Areli Amaya Loera Avatar
    Areli Amaya Loera
    10/28/2020
  • Don and Becca were amazing!! My boyfriend and I went to Glenwood Adventure Park to see the caves little did we know there were rides… read more

    mageeia Avatar
    mageeia
    10/27/2020

    Very fun super small park. The swing, caverns and alpine coaster were our favorite.

    Marilyn Castorina Avatar
    Marilyn Castorina
    10/27/2020

    Way too much fun! Social Distancing. Masks. Sanitizers. Fun people & employees.

    Stacy Oh Avatar
    Stacy Oh
    10/27/2020