Charles W. Darrow, a pioneering Glenwood Springs attorney, opened the Fairy Caves to the public in 1895. History does not record why he chose the name Fairy Caves, but historians have speculated that it was because fish-tail-like helictites found within the cave may have reminded Darrow of the wings of fairies.
Victorians frequently discussed the possibility of the existence of fairies, and perhaps Darrow and his family were familiar with the popular works of Andrew Lang, a Scottish scholar who published an extensive best-selling book series of fairy tales for children in the late 1800s.
Fairies have always symbolized good luck and happiness. Nineteenth-century tourists, as well as today’s visitors, share a desire for good luck and happiness. Another theory of the origin of the name Fairy Caves is that one of Darrow’s daughters felt that the light from her lantern reflecting off the droplets of water in the cave looked like fairies dancing around the caves.
No matter what the real reason for the name Fairy Caves, the caves were magical and had an emotional appeal for the early Colorado pioneers. Both children and adults enjoy the fantasy of glittering fairies dancing around within the cave to bring good luck and happiness to all.