A Season for Celebrating: Octoberfest at Glenwood Caverns

Enjoy a fall ride aboard the Glenwood Gondola
Enjoy a fall ride aboard the Glenwood Gondola

All month long at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, we’ll be honoring fall traditions with Octoberfest, then on Oct. 28., we’ll wrap up the season with a final farewell party to retire the current Iron Mountain Tramway.

Fall is a season of celebration and change—none more so than this year at America’s only mountain-top theme park. Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park’s Octoberfest celebrations run throughout the month of October and this year, they culminate with a final farewell party for the Iron Mountain Tramway.

We’ll be sad to see this stalwart workhorse go. For over 15 years it has transported more than two million visitors from the valley floor to the park entrance at the top of Iron Mountain. At the same time, we’re excited for its replacement: a new, high-capacity tramway that will enable us to transport passengers more efficiently, reducing wait times at the base and mountaintop.  On Sat., Oct. 28, we will celebrate its retirement with a community goodbye party.

Until then, join us for beautiful fall days, jaw-dropping autumn views, harvest activities, music and, of course, our signature rides and attractions. Here’s what to expect at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in October:

Fall is a beautiful time of year to visit Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
  • Fall-themed activities. From Oct. 1 through 28, daily fun includes a pumpkin patch, fall photo opportunities and Octoberfest food and drink specials. On Saturdays from noon to 6 p.m. enjoy hayrides, games for kids, face painting, scavenger hunts and pumpkin decorating.
  • German fare. The Lookout Grille will be serving all your Old Country favorites including bratwursts, sauerkraut, pretzels and seasonal beers. The Bloody Mary Bar will also be open and stocked with dozens of garnishes to create a drink that’s perfect for you. For more fall flavors, try the homemade pumpkin fudge and fudge-covered apples available at the General Store.
  • Music & dancing. On Saturday, 13 and Oct. 20, from noon to 4 p.m., Alpine Echo, Glenwood’s local oompah band, will entertain guests in the plaza with traditional German music. Get ready to polka, waltz and even chicken dance.
  • Scary rides. There’s no better month for a screaming good time than October. The Haunted Mine Drop is particularly well-suited for the season. Halloween-themed decorations lead guests on the trails to the ride, while spooky music sets the tone for a ghostly, one-of-a-kind experience for those who dare to drop.
  • Leaf peeping. In addition to colorful maple trees and flowers in the plaza, the park features several vantage points with panoramic views of the changing colors in Glenwood Canyon and the Roaring Fork Valley. The tram, the Lookout Grille, the Mine Wheel and viewing decks at the Giant Canyon Swing and above the restaurant are some of the best places for leaf peeping and photos.
  • Goodbye tram party. The last day of Octoberfest also marks the final day for the current Iron Mountain Tramway, which will be replaced over the winter months. All are welcome to join the farewell celebration which will feature $10 tram tickets—throwback prices from 2003 when the tram opened. There will also be free cake, prize drawings and photo opportunities.
Make plans to attend Octoberfest—Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park’s month-long party—and help us send off the Iron Mountain Tramway in style on Oct. 28. See you on the mountaintop!

Glenwood Caverns Hosts National Caves Association Convention

King's Row tour at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
King's Row tour at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park will be hosting the 53rd Annual National Caves Association Convention, Sept. 24 – 28, and we couldn’t be more excited!

Members of the National Caves Association (NCA) will convene in Glenwood Springs and at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park for their annual convention on Sept. 24 -28. The event is a venue for the exchange and sharing of ideas on all things related to owning and operating a cave attraction. While in town, NCA members will have the opportunity to learn more about Glenwood Caverns and its operations as well as share about their own experiences and insights.

Some of the convention highlights include a vendor show at the Hotel Colorado, an opening reception at Iron Mountain Hot Springs, keynote and other speakers, as well as Q & A sessions. There are also opportunities for visitors to get the full Glenwood Springs experience. Convention guests will have a chance to soak at Iron Mountain Hot Springs and ride the thrill rides at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. On Tuesday, a western-themed afternoon is planned at Bair Ranch High Canyon Adventures complete with four-wheeling or horseback riding excursions, a chuckwagon dinner and a bluegrass band.

This year’s keynote speaker is Mike Kaplan, President and CEO of Aspen Skiing Co. Kaplan was one of the youngest executives of a top U.S. ski resort when he took the reins as president and CEO of Aspen Skiing Co. He earned his Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Denver. Kaplan offers a depth of knowledge about the fast and changing pace of guest expectations, recreational technology and growth opportunities.

Others include Jon Schallert, an internationally known speaker that helps small businesses improve their marketing strategies and become destinations that attract visitors far beyond regional geography. Schallert’s message resonates with cave owners, many of whom are family-owned enterprises. Also speaking on the topic of marketing is Trent Blizzard, owner of BlizzardPress, a website design and marketing firm in Glenwood Springs. A social media expert, Blizzard will share tips with NCA members about how to engage with audiences across a variety of marketplace platforms.

Giant Canyon Swing

With 146 registered participants, Glenwood Caverns is expecting the largest turnout for an NCA convention to date. The NCA represents 80 show caves from across the US, Bermuda and Barbados—including Glenwood Caverns. It was founded in 1965 by a small group of private show cave owners with the goal of encouraging the public to discover America’s underground wonders. The association is also dedicated to educating about cave science. They provide material resources; give talks and tours about everything from cave critters and how to protect the fragile cave environment to the mesmerizing cave formations that delight visitors.

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park will be open to the public and operating as usual during the NCA convention.

Firefighter Appreciation Day at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

Firefighter Appreciation Day

Firefighters and their immediate families are invited to spend the day enjoying cave tours, thrill rides and kid-friendly attractions, courtesy of the mountain-top Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Members of the community can drop off cards or signs of support at the tram base by Sept. 15.

In light of the extraordinary efforts and sacrifices made by firefighters in the Roaring Fork and Grand Valleys this year, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is hosting a Firefighters Appreciation Day on Sunday, Sept. 16. These heroes and their immediate family members are invited to spend the day at the park, free of charge. For those unable to attend, a make-up day is being held Sunday, Sept. 23.

“This is our way of saying thank you to these brave men and women and their families for the sacrifices they have made,” Nancy Heard, general manager of Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, said. “We are also inviting the public to drop off thank you notes and signs of support that we can display during their visit.”

To obtain the free Funday Passes, firefighters must show their badge or ID at the tram base upon arrival. The passes include transportation up and down the mountain, two walking cave tours and unlimited turns on all rides and most attractions.

Heard, whose family was evacuated during the early days of the Lake Christine Fire, added, “I know a lot of the volunteers who fought so hard to save not just our home and those of our friends and neighbors, but the entire towns of Basalt and El Jebel. I saw firsthand the incredible danger that they willingly subjected themselves to in order to serve our community. We all hope that they can take some time on the 16th or 23rd to relax, laugh and play a little, our treat.”

Anyone interested in dropping off cards, notes or signs should do so at the tram base by Saturday, Sept. 15. The park will be open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.