Add More Mountain-top Thrills to Your Colorado Ski Vacation

When you’re skiing or snowboarding at the mountains of Aspen and Snowmass, Vail Resorts or Sunlight Mountain Resort, your Colorado ski vacation should be packed with peak experiences. Add even more high-elevation thrills with a day trip to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.

Skiing and riding the back bowls of Vail, down the face of Aspen Mountain, or a thigh-burner run on Ute at Sunlight Mountain Resort is the stuff of powder dreams come true. These Rocky Mountain resorts are part of the quintessential Colorado outdoor winter experience. While the bulk of your ski vacation will be spent slope-side, set just one day aside to explore adventuring options further afield.

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs is located within easy driving distance of both Aspen area mountains and Vail Resorts. The proximity makes planning this day trip bunny-slope simple. As the highest elevation theme park in North America, the Adventure Park is as much an essential Colorado experience as first tracks in Blue Sky Basin on a powder day.

Other upsides of visiting Glenwood Springs include a respite for ski-fatigued bodies and the opportunity to relax in riverside hot springs.

Getting to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

  • From Vail, follow I-70 west for 60 miles. As you approach Glenwood Springs you’ll travel through Glenwood Canyon, one of the most stunning stretches of highway in the western U.S. At Glenwood Springs, take exit 116. Bear left through the round-about, turning right onto Highway 6 and left at Devereux Road.
  • Aspen is a short 40 miles away from Glenwood Springs; travel north via Highway 82 to Glenwood Springs. Continue through town, over the Grand Avenue Bridge. At the round-about turn right on Highway 6, then left at Devereux Road.
  • From Sunlight Mountain Resort, take Four Mile Road approximately 10 miles to Glenwood Springs and follow the same directions as if coming from Aspen.

The Height of Fun

Just like your experience on the slopes, your Caverns adventure begins with a gondola ride. The bright orange Glenwood Gondola cabins will whisk you up to the mountain-top park entrance. Along the way, take in spectacular views of snow covered Glenwood Springs and the Roaring Fork Valley below.

After you step off the gondola, explore all the Adventure Park has to offer. Winter Fun  Passes are the best value and include your Gondola pass, as well as two cave tours and unlimited turns on rides and attractions. The Alpine Coaster lets you zoom down the mountainside at your own pace. Let out the throttle or take it easy; it’s up to you. As for the award-winning Haunted Mine Drop, it will leave you as breathless as the terrain at Aspen Highlands’ Steeplechase.

Cave tours are dazzling; chock-full of spectacular formations. Expert guides lead the way through the underground landscape imparting a custom blend of historical data, fun facts and engaging stories. Lighted displays show off the cave formations to their best advantage much like sculptural artwork in a high-end resort gallery.

A winter day on the Alpine Coaster

Adventure Park visitors can also have fun at attractions like the laser tag arena, 4-D Theater and enjoy casual dining with a view in the Lookout Grille. Pick up some homemade fudge in the General Store to nibble on before heading back to ski towns.

While You’re In Glenwood Springs…

Plan to spend at least two to four hours enjoying Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Since Aspen, Vail and Sunlight Mountain Resort are all nearby, you’ll have time to relax with other Glenwood Springs activities as well. Ideas include:

Take your Vail, Aspen or Sunlight ski vacation to all-new heights. Plan your visit Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park today!

Relax at Iron Mountain Hot Springs

Winter at the Adventure Park: What Not to Miss

A winter day on the Alpine Coaster
A winter day on the Alpine Coaster

While many Colorado theme parks shut down for the winter months, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park remains open all winter long with seasonal rides, cave tours, dining and entertainment.

Open year-round

Elitch Gardens, the amusement park in Denver may have wrapped up its season, but Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs keeps the fun going strong all winter long with Winter on the Mountain, a wonder-filled season at the mountain-top theme park.

With plenty of chilly, but sunshine filled days ahead, visiting the Adventure Park in the off season has its perks. Visitors can look forward to fewer crowds and reduced off-season pricing, all while still enjoying many of the Park’s highlights including award-winning thrill rides, fun family attractions, two spectacular cave tours, dining with a view and live music entertainment.

What Not to Miss

Yuletide Splendor

Winter on the mountain is an ongoing celebration that shines bright on winter’s darkest nights with a dazzling display of more than a half million lights which can even be seen from Glenwood Springs. A giant Christmas tree with lights choreographed to holiday songs is a focal point in the plaza, where there are also fire pits for warming up and for roasting s’mores (purchase your s’mores kits from the General Store). And, throughout the time leading up to Christmas, Santa will be making regular stops to pose for photos with youngsters.

Fun & Games

Glenwood Caverns’ rides and attractions have season-spanning appeal and a knack for making kids of all ages smile from ear to ear. The Haunted Mine Drop, an indoor ride, is a scream and a visitor favorite.  The Alpine Coaster, which features twinkly fairy lights after dark, provides a more controlled downward descent with a magical and relaxing tow back to the top. Winter guests can also shoot it out in the laser tag arena and watch one of four animated shows in the 4D motion theater.

Cave Tours

Cave tours are especially delightful in winter where the caverns’ temperature is a steady 52 degrees year round, which can seem downright cozy when the mercury dips into the single digits. Choose either the Historic Fairy Caves Tour or the King’s Row Tour; both are about 40 minutes long. In addition to viewing and learning about formations like stalactites, stalagmites, cave bacon, popcorn, flowstone, soda straws and more, like the rest of the Adventure Park the caves too are decked out for the holidays with festive lighting appropriate to the season.

Dining & Entertainment

The Lookout Grille is a picture-perfect setting for lunch or dinner. Along with a casual meal enjoy spectacular views of Glenwood Springs below, the Roaring Fork Valley to the south and the Colorado River Valley to the west. On Friday nights, from 5 to 8:30 p.m., don’t miss Friday Afternoon Club (FAC) with live music featuring talented local bands and food and drink specials. Gondola rides are free after 4 p.m. with a coupon that appears in the Post Independent each Friday. Each coupon is valid for up to four people.

Adventure Park Winter Hours

Winter on the Mountain at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park hours are as follows: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Feb. 29, 2020. The park is closed Monday through Thursday. During the holidays, it will be open daily Nov. 15 to Dec. 1, except for Thanksgiving Day, and Dec. 20 to Jan. 5, except for Christmas Day.

Don’t miss out on a mountain-full of adventure this winter! Plan to visit Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park today.

Post Independent Spotlights Caverns Employee Cole Newton

The Glenwood Springs Post Independent recently ran a feature story on our very own Cole Newton, cave tour supervisor at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Read Cole’s fascinating story and why he has a special affinity for all things caves.

Sunday profile: Glenwood Springs native seeks the undiscovered underground

by Josh Carney, [email protected]

When he was just 2 weeks old, Glenwood Springs native Cole Newton found himself deep underground with his parents, Ken Newton and Kathy Keeler, who met while caving. Since then, caving has been a way of life for the 26-year-old Newton.

At 7 years old, Newton became the youngest person to date to submerge to Sub 1 (submerge level 1 for scuba divers in the water flow) inside Spring Cave outside of Meeker.

That passion for caving has created a unique purpose for Newton’s life – educating the public on the wonders of caves, exploring new and exciting places within caves and working to preserve them for future generations.

 

UNDERGROUND EDUCATION

“I really hope we can continue to education people on why caves are important to our ecosystem on the surface and underground,” Newton said. “They can be a wonderful environment to study and protect. We don’t want to throw garbage into that hole, because that hole can lead to a city’s water supply and other things like that. It’s not a trash can just because it’s a hole in the ground; I want to change that perspective about caves for the general population because caves are important and special.”

Newton originally went to college to become a music teacher, but realizing that teaching in a classroom wasn’t his cup of tea, Newton went back to his passion of caving, which later led to him teaching (in a sense) tour guides all there is to know about the beautiful caves only a short trip away from Glenwood Springs.

Giving tour guides each and every day during peak season on the mountain seems like it could be a drain, but Newton attacks each tour with a uniqueness that can’t be found elsewhere.

“I don’t script my tour guides,” Newton said. “I try and read the tours and let the guests kind of feel me, in a way. It all depends on the makeup of the tours. If I have a bunch of little kids, I talk more about the dragons and the fairies within the caves; if I have a lot of adults, I’ll focus more on the science of things. I want them to get what they want out of the tour, so if I do that, every tour isn’t the same, which keeps it fresh.”

EXPANSION, PRESERVATION, AND EXPLORATION

When not giving tours through the cave systems on Iron Mountain, Newton is in charge of updating the new stairs within the cave system, leading the project to put in new concrete and steel, guiding concrete and steel workers on where to place the materials. On top of that, Newton has been mapping and navigating the new King’s Row Loop tour, playing an integral part in hoping the loop comes to fruition.

What Newton loves most though is traveling around the world to visit other cave systems in hopes of learning about the geological systems within the cave.

“A lot of times, I’m looking at the geological aspects, like how is this cave different from caves in the western U.S. versus the eastern U.S. or south U.S, etc.,” Newton said. “Because the way that geology works across the world is that every cave is a little different. They all have a little different influence on how the water would have formed the cave, or whether it was lava or water, things like that. They all create different features, which I find fascinating.”

Earlier this year, Newton traveled to the Frasassi Caves in Italy, which is Italy’s top cave system. The immense cave system was discovered in 1971, and part of the caverns was opened to visitors in 1974. The caverns can be visited only on guided tours, which Newton went on.

The huge rooms of the caverns are filled with stunning stalactites and stalagmites, and highlights of the tour include the Ancona Abyss, a room so large that Milan’s Duomo (the world’s largest Gothic cathedral) could easily fit inside it, a crystallized lake, a Grand Canyon, and a room filled with formations that resemble candles.

“The stalagmites were just gorgeous,” Newton said. “They’re 30, 40 feet tall and have these amazing little cuts on the side of them, so instead of being flowy, they have these extra little features on them.”

Aside from educating himself on the geological systems within the caves he travels to see and explore, Newton also pays attention to the tour guides and how they’re structured as he’s always learning and looking to improve.

“It’s important for me to do that, because if I can learn from others and see how they’re running their own tour guides, I can bring something back from that to the Glenwood Caverns and try to make the tours I give the best possible experience they can be,” he said.

In the end though, the free exploration is what drives Newton. Moving deeper into caves is supposed to be fun for cavers, and without fun it’s not successful.

“There’s got to be some fun in it; you want to have fun,” Newton said. “That’s why you do it. That’s where you get your energy. If one person has that energy, it makes for a successful and fun trip for the group.”

That sense of fun and excitement continues to drive Newton today through his passionate daily tours of the Fairy Cave and King’s Row Cave, and during his free time caving on his own, discovering all there is to see deep beneath the earth’s surface.

[email protected]

Interior Decoration: Cave Features

Reflecting-Pool-at-Glenwood-Caverns-by-Ken-Headrick-sm

Caves are so much more than holes in the ground, they are rooms ornately arranged by Mother Nature. Check out the wide variety of cave features that form as water dissolves rock to make caves.

The long process by which water carves caves out of limestone leaves behind fascinating formations as the mineral-rich water flows, loses carbon dioxide or evaporates, and leaves the minerals shaped like flowers, bathtubs, cones, needles, rafts, shields, chandeliers, balloons, columns, or bells, among other things.

The most familiar cave features are stalactites reaching down from the ceiling and stalagmites reaching up from the floor, usually, but not always, in a conical shape. If the minerals are deposited rapidly, for example, some stalagmites develop as a thinner structure called a broomstick. You can distinguish them by remembering that stalactites hold tight to the ceiling while stalagmites might make it to the top. Sometimes, paired stalactites and stalagmites meet to form a column.

Cave Features at Glenwood Caverns:

Flowstone. Flowstone is usually calcite or other carbonate minerals that forms in sheets as water flows over the cave floors or walls. The layers are laid down so thin that they conform to the underlying rock at first, but they can become more rounded as they thicken. Other chemicals in the calcite can produce different colors of flowstone, such as iron that gives a red tint.

Cave Bacon. Cave bacon is a kind of drapery that forms as the water flows along the edge of an overhang and leaves a trail of calcite where surface tension suspends the water before it loses carbon dioxide and deposits the mineral. These often appear on the fringes of flowstone. The buildup reflects the ripples and flows of the first deposits and looks like fabric drapery. When the drapery formations have different bands of color or darkness because of materials in the water at different times, they are called cave bacon.

Soda Straws. Stalactites in their early stages are hollow, long translucent tubes hanging from the ceiling. These delicate structures can grow long – they have been found up to 30 feet—but they usually begin to have water flow on the outside that builds up in the more common icicle shape of stalactites.

Cave bacon:

Cave Popcorn. Cave popcorn, a fairly common formation, is one form of coralloids that resemble knobs, globes, buttons, or corral and form in air, usually from water that seeps out of rocks, or still cave pools. Unlike most other features, they form because the water evaporates rather than because it lost carbon dioxide.

See all these amazing cave features on the Adventure Park’s two cave tours—King’s Row and the Historic Fairy Caves. Learn more and make plans to go underground at www.glenwoodcaverns.com.

Theme Park Gear: What to Bring to the Adventure Park

Just as there’s an art to packing for a week-long vacation, packing the right gear for a day at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park can greatly enhance your experience at America’s only mountaintop theme park.

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is unique among theme parks. First off, the Adventure Park is located on top of a mountain at an elevation of 7,100 feet above sea level. To get to the entrance, you climb aboard a Glenwood Gondola cabin which whisks you from the valley floor to the mountaintop where there are thrill rides, family attractions, a restaurant, snack huts, general store, entertainment and more depending on the season and time of day. As the name implies, the Adventure Park is also home to Glenwood Caverns and offers two spectacular cave tours.

Understanding what to expect is key to packing the right gear for a top-notch day of fun at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Read on or check out our video that gives a rundown of what to bring.

Gear Guide: Come Prepared, Have More Fun

Comfortable shoes.  Be prepared to do a fair bit of walking at the Adventure Park by wearing comfortable footwear. Also, skip the flip flops if possible. Instead opt for sandals with secure straps that will stay on while you ride the Glenwood Canyon Flyer, the Flying Eagle Zip Ride and the Giant Canyon Swing. Sun protection. Be sun smart. Wear protective clothing including a brimmed hat and sunglasses. You can store these items in the provided cubbies while you ride the rides. Also, be sure to lather up regularly with sunscreen that’s at least 30 SPF. If you forget yours, our complimentary sunscreen is available at the Guest Services gazebo in the plaza.
 

Hydration. It’s a good idea to have a water bottle handy to sip throughout the day. Bring one from home or purchase one of our refillable water bottles. Free ice water as well cold drinks are available all day long at the Lookout Grille and the Snack Shack.

Cool off. Though lines for rides tend to move quickly, having a battery-operated hand-held fan can take the edge off on a hot summer day. Another way to beat the heat is to take a break under the misters located outside of the 4-D theater and the Alpine Coaster. Afternoons are also a perfect time to go underground with one or both of our cave tours. The caverns stay a cool 52°F year-round and provide a refreshing respite from summertime temperatures.

A light jacket. The weather in the Colorado mountains is predictably unpredictable. Normal summertime temps range from the mid-70s to the upper 90s. Because you never know when a cold front or thunderstorm might blow through, it’s best to be prepared. If you’re prone to getting chills, a light jacket is also nice to have along on cave tours.

Hand sanitizer. Keep your crew healthy with a periodic squirt of hand sanitizer or use wet wipes as needed throughout the day.

Quarters. If you want to stash your stuff while you go on a cave tour or would rather not carry it around with you all day, coin-operated lockers are scattered throughout the Park. Lockers are just 50 cents.

Having the right gear will set you and your family up for a great day at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Now get packing and we’ll see you on the mountaintop!

Pro Tips for Navigating Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

Expressing gratitude to all of our guests in this Thanksgiving season
Expressing gratitude to all of our guests in this Thanksgiving season

You wouldn’t visit the Magic Kingdom without a having plan; similarly, for a 5-star experience, use these strategies for navigating Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park during the peak summer season.

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is a top activity choice for visitors to Glenwood Springs, Colorado. It rates right up there with soaking in hot springs, rafting in Glenwood Canyon and hiking to Hanging Lake, all of which reach the pinnacle of visitation during the summer months when kids and families take time off to travel. Having a strategy for navigating our theme park will help ensure a satisfying experience.

Our Best Insider Advice for Navigating the Park

Purchase tickets in advance.  Buying tickets ahead of time is convenient and you’ll spend less time waiting in the line to take the Glenwood Gondola to the mountaintop theme park. You can also save 5 percent using promo code BUYONLIN5P.

The best value. Our Funday Pass hands-down offers the biggest bang for your buck. It includes everything—the Glenwood Gondola, unlimited turns on rides and attractions and both cave tours.

Know height requirements. All of the thrill rides require riders to be a minimum height  to ensure safety and we’re sticklers about it. Family attractions also have restrictions. We’d rather see you back next year when your child easily meets the height requirement than have to tell you sorry after you’ve stood in line on a hot day.

Check for ride closures. For a variety of reasons, we sometimes we have to close rides. Sometimes it’s a short delay, perhaps due to a thunderstorm passing through. In the event it’s a longer closure we let guests know by posting it to the website under Park Info>Rides & Attractions Status. If you’ve been dreaming about riding the Alpine Coaster, rather than be disappointed that it’s closed, we recommend checking the status page before arriving.

Dress code. Wear comfortable clothing and non-flip-flop shoes; bring a light jacket for cave tours and a hat and sunglasses for sun protection.

Visit early or late. To avoid the crowds, come when the park opens at 9 a.m. and head straight for the rides you most want to enjoy. The Park stays open until 9 p.m., seven days per week, until August 11 when we will start closing at 6 p.m. on weekdays. Until then, evenings after 5 p.m. are another great way to miss the midday traffic.

Eat early or late. Avoid the lunch rush hour at the Lookout Grille by eating before 11:30 a.m. or after 1:30 p.m.  Alternatively, enjoy a lighter meal outside at Snack Shack.

Beat the heat. The sun’s rays are strongest in the afternoon. Cool off with midday cave tours.  On a hot summer day, the caverns internal temperature is a refreshing 52°F. Other ways to beat the heat include attending a 4-D Theater show which takes place every 15 minutes. The misters will cool you off outside while the air-conditioned interior of the theater will keep you comfortable inside.

Use our free stuff. Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is located at an elevation of 7,100 feet. At higher elevations like ours the chances of getting sunburned or dehydrated increase. Complimentary sunscreen is available at the guest services shack in the plaza, and there is free ice water available at the Lookout Grille. We encourage you to use both as often as necessary.

Rain, rain, go away. Afternoon thundershowers are a regular part of summers in the high country. The good news is they roll through quickly. Many people choose to leave when it starts raining, but we advise sticking it out as the storms tend to pass quickly.

Leave it outside. Caring for our caves is another top priority at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Contact with the outside air, detritus, food, drinks, bumping or dropping things inside the caves can create irreparable damage. That’s why we ask you to leave your backpacks, handbags, snacks, water bottles, toys, strollers, etc. outside the cave entrance. If you’re not comfortable with that, we offer lockers where you can store your belongings.

Now that you have a handle on navigating Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, make plans to visit today.

24 Things-to-Do in 48 Hours in Glenwood Springs

From low-key to high-energy and family-friendly to romantic, with so many things to do, Glenwood Springs is a vacation destination that lets you relax any number of ways.

With a couple of days to spend in the hot springs and adventure town, you’ll be able to check off several of these iconic things to do in Glenwood Springs. Start at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park and work your way down the list!

  1. Get your thrills at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Rides fling you out over Glenwood Canyon, drop you into darkness and speed you down a mountain! During summer, evenings are an ideal time to visit with fewer crowds and cooler weather.
  2. Soak at Iron Mountain Hot Springs. Sixteen soaking pools along the river are hard to beat for relaxation.
  3. Raft in Glenwood Canyon. Cool off, have fun and see the amazing scenery as you paddle the Colorado River.
  4. Hike to Hanging Lake. This beauty is the gem of Glenwood Canyon. Make reservations to hike it in advance.
  5. Summit to Red Mountain. For views of Glenwood Springs to Mt. Sopris above Carbondale and beyond, this hike is easily accessible from town.
  6. Lift off with aerial adventures. To feel free as a bird, try tandem paragliding.
  7. Pedal the Rio Grande or Glenwood Canyon Trail. Cycle miles of paved paths and explore at your own pace.
  8. Attend a mountaintop concert. Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park hosts music six nights per week. Check out the events calendar to listen to music by talented artists.
  9. Take in a Glenwood Vaudeville Revue show. This hilarious show is family-friendly and keeps everyone in stitches from start to finish.
  10. Play a round of golf. For the love of the game, tee off on Glenwood Springs courses.
  11. Go underground. Explore the fascinating subterranean world with cave tours at Glenwood Caverns.
  12. Schedule a massage. As a wellness town, Glenwood’s spas offer a range of blissful treatments for the ultimate relaxation experience.
  13. Stroll the pedestrian bridge. Connecting downtown with North Glenwood Springs, the bridge is perfect for people watching and a post-dinner evening walk.
  14. Sample craft beer. Glenwood Canyon Brewpub makes award-winning beer. Try a flight and find your favorite!
  15. Zumba downtown. Join the crowd to shimmy and shake under the bridge on Friday nights.
  16. Eat a Coloradough donut. The best donuts in town, these are made fresh daily. Bet you can’t stop at just one!
  17. Shop for souvenirs. Wander through unique boutiques for take-home treasures to remember your visit to Glenwood Springs.
  18. Visit Doc. Gunslinger, gambler and Western icon, hike to Doc Holliday’s grave and visit the museum dedicated to his life and times.
  19. Take a history tour. Learn all about the history and the many mysteries surrounding the Hotel Colorado on weekly tours led by local characters.
  20. Try Rocky Mountain Oysters. A delicacy and reputed aphrodisiac, find these deep-fried treats at the Doc Holliday Tavern.
  21. Dine outdoors. You’ll find al fresco dining just about everywhere you go in Glenwood Springs. Eat on rooftops, in courtyards and along the river.
  22. Stop by the Farmers’ Market. Held on Tuesday during the summer, Glenwood’s Downtown Market is a weekly mini-festival with food, artisans, music and cooking demonstrations.
  23. Bridge patrol. A shady summer spot under the bridge in Bethel Plaza is a gathering place on Friday afternoons for music, magic, face painting, movies and more.
  24. Educate your palette. From wine to whiskey, every Friday and Saturday evening, Cooper Wine & Spirits holds tastings.
Iron Mountain Hot Springs in Glenwood Springs
Kids learn about cave science on cave tours

Make Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park your first stop for fun things to do in Glenwood Springs, then explore further.

Ten Cool Facts About Caves

We are fascinated by caves and continue to learn about, explore and map our own at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Every cave is unique and caves around the world and in the U.S. vary from place to place. If you’re curious about caves, check out these weird and interesting cave facts.

  1. While most caves are formed by the action of acidic water on karst, a landscape of limestone, dolomite, and gypsum, some are formed by lava tubes from volcanos or from meltwater in glaciers.
  2. In most caves, the dissolving of the karst takes more than 100,000 years to make enough space for one person.
  3. Ancient people were painting patterns and figures on cave walls more than 40,000 years ago. Scientists believe that Neanderthals might have painted on caves in the Iberian Peninsula up to 64,000 years ago and a figure of an animal on Borneo more than 40,000 years ago.
  4. Mayans built temples over caves or built them to look like caves because they believed that caves were the entrance to the underworld. Other ancient people also considered caves to be sacred spaces.
  5. Arthropods, fish, amphibians, and insects that have evolved to live in caves are called troglobites. The first troglobite identified, in the 1700s was the eyeless white amphibian called the olm. Some, such as the blind wolf spider of Hawaii, the Devil’s Hole pupfish of Death Valley, and the Texas Blind Salamander, are found in only one location.
  6. Sulfur is the basis of nearly all life forms in the Cuevo de Villa Luz in Mexico. Single-celled organisms called Snotties oxidize the sulfur from underground springs.
  7. Humans have used caves for shelter, food storage, mushroom farming, hideouts from the law, and many other activities. The Reed Flute Cave in China was an air-raid shelter during World War II.
  8. The caves in Paradise Glacier on Mt. Ranier in Washington were world-famous for most of the 20th The caves have disappeared as the glacier melted.
  9. Some of the largest natural crystals ever found were formed in the Cuervo de los Cristales 1,000 feet under Naica Mountain in Mexico. Translucent gypsum beams are up to 26 feet long and weigh up to 55 tons. Temperatures in the cave reach 138˚F. It has been re-flooded since exploration.
  10. Three million wrinkle-lipped freetail bats live in Deer Cave in Mulu National Park on the island of the Borneo, one of the world’s largest known cave passages.

Learn more about caves and explore them for yourself at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs. Make plans to visit today!

Celebrate National Caves and Karst Day

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Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is celebrating National Caves and Karst Day on Saturday, June 8 with activities that include a hands-on educational and interactive display and free cave posters. Kids can earn a Junior Cave Scientist badge as well.

 Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is based around its flagship tours of Glenwood Caverns and the Historic Fairy Cave that started 20 years ago. When the National Caves Association (NCA) decided to designate a National Caves and Karst Day in 2017 to raise awareness of the crucial roles both play in our lives, everyone at the park was on board. For the third year in a row, the park is going all out to celebrate. Although the official NCA event is June 6, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is hosting its event on Saturday, June 8, to allow more people to participate.

“We get pretty excited about caves around here, so National Caves and Karst Day is a big deal,” explained Nancy Heard, general manager for Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. “Every time we give a tour or host a school group, we have the opportunity to teach our guests about cave science and the importance of conservation. On June 8, we’ll get to dive deeper into these topics and have some fun at the same time.”

Have Fun Exploring the Science of Caves

 National Caves and Karst Day activities include a hands-on educational and interactive display at the shade building located across from the Soaring Eagle Zip Ride and free cave posters to the first 120 people to ask for one. Kids can pick up a Junior Cave Scientist booklet there as well. To earn a free badge or sticker, they must complete at least one activity for each year of their age and return the completed booklet to the building to have it checked. The first 20 to do so will receive a free, signed “Cave Critters” coloring book written by Kay Cochran, a tour guide at the park.

Cool Cave Facts

Early June is a good time for families to visit the Adventure Park and to map out their cave visits for the rest of the summer. Here are 10 fun facts to know about caves and karst while planning a cave tour:

  1. A cave is a naturally occurring area or space under the surface of the Earth. Caves are often a system of interconnected passageways created by the weathering of rock.
  2. Most caves form in karst, which is terrain typically characterized by sinkholes, underground rivers and barren, rocky ground. Forty percent of the drinking water in the U.S. comes from karst aquifers.
  3. Icicle-shaped speleothems, or rock formations, form as water drips from the cave roof. Stalagmites, which one might trip over, grow up from the floor, usually from the water that drips off the end of stalactites that cling tight to the cave roof. When these two meet, a column is formed.
  4. Stalactites and stalagmites grow by only a fraction of an inch in a year, and since some are many yards in length, one can appreciate the time it takes for these speleothems to develop. In arid areas with little humidity, it can take a thousand years for a formation to grow one cubic inch.
  5. We learn a lot from caves. Researchers collect broken formations to track historical weather trends dating back hundreds of thousands of years. Universities partner with privately owned caves to learn how bacteria can play a role in cancer treatment and the development of new antibiotics.
  6. No two caves are alike. They can be found in glaciers, on mountaintops, in cliffs by the sea, in molten lava, in the desert and in hillsides.
  7. Caves are living things. Seepage from groundwater causes water to drip, which keeps formations growing and changing. A drop that falls onto a caver is called a cave kiss and is considered to be good luck.
  8. Caves are known to have provided shelter to mankind’s earliest ancestors. Cliff dwellings, such as those found in the Four Corners region of the Southwest, were inhabited by Ancestral Puebloans as early as 550 A.D. Fossils dating back to the Ice Age have been found inside caves as well.
  9. Caves are home to many forms of life that do not exist elsewhere. Troglobites, or cave-inhabiting creatures, are only found in caves and include certain species of shrimp, fish, blind salamanders, pseudoscorpions, spiders, millipedes and beetles.
  10. There are many ways to experience the subterranean world. Guided walking and wild tours are the most common, but there are caves that offer kayaking, floating or boating on underground rivers; cave diving; wildlife spotting; campouts; concerts; rappelling and more.

Heard added, “A lot of good things happen when you spend time in a cave. Many studies report that spending time in nature can boost mental and physical well-being, improve concentration, increase energy, reduce stress and lower blood pressure and heart rates. Pair that with exercise, such as descending and then climbing the 120 steps inside King’s Row, and the results are even better. It’s quality time that a family can spend together, focusing on nature instead of looking at screens.”

Park Admission & Hours

Regular admission rates apply for this event. A ride on the Glenwood Gondola costs $19 for adults and $14 for kids 3 to 12. The Gondola/Cave Tour combination is $32 for adults and $27 for kids. An inclusive Funday Pass is $58 for adults, $53 for kids, and includes the gondola ride, two walking cave tours and unlimited access to all rides. Annual Gondola and Thrill Pass holders can attend free. Those who have vouchers for the Locals’ Gondola Pass from earlier this year are encouraged to redeem them prior to this event, preferably on weekdays prior to 7 p.m.

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Beginning Saturday, June 8, it will be open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., with longer hours during Music on the Mountain events.

Top off your Adventure Park Visit with Special Events

In addition to thrill rides and caves tours, pile on fun and entertainment by planning your visit to coincide with one of Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park’s upcoming special events.

Caves & Karst Day.  Though National Caves & Karst Day is officially June 6, we’re celebrating this special event on Saturday, June 8 to give everyone a chance to join us for a day of cave-centric fun.  Highlights include giving away free National Caves Association posters while supplies last, a hands-on, educational and interactive cave display in the shade building next to the Soaring Eagle Zip ride and a squeeze box where kids can test their caving skills. To make learning about caves and karst extra fun, we’ll be giving away Junior Cave Scientist booklets. Kay Cochran, our very own cave tour guide and coloring book creator, will also be available to sign her book “Cave Critters.” The first 20 youngsters who complete their cave science booklet will receive a complimentary signed “Cave Critters” book!

Two for Tuesdays. The BOGO goes big at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. On Tuesdays starting June 11 through August 6, after 4 p.m., guests get a buy-one-get-one special on Glenwood Gondola rides, draft beer for adults and slushie drinks for kids at the Lookout Grille, on homemade fudge at the General Store and on ice cream cones at the Snack Shack! Not only that, but local talent extraordinaire—Rodrigo—plays for mountain-top guests weekly Monday through Thursdays.

One of our favorite special events, the 2019 season kickoff concert takes place on Saturday, June 15 at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park—America’s only mountain-top theme park. The series opener features musical favorite the Missing Link Band and the acrobatic fire and dance show performed by Dance of the Sacred Fire. The series continues on Saturdays and some Sundays through Sept 21. Guests can ride the gondola for free with the donation of a canned food item for the Lift-Up community food pantry starting at 4 p.m. Shows run from 6 to 10 p.m. Sunday gondola-for-a-can begins at 2 p.m., with shows from 4 to 8 p.m.

June 29—The Missing Link Band

July 6—The Goodman Band

July 13—A Band Called Alexis

July 20—Poser

July 27—Emotional Rescue

Aug. 3—Whiskey Stomp

Aug. 10—Fifty50

Aug. 17—The Mixx

Aug. 18—BJ the DJ

Sept. 7—Johnny O Band

Sept 8—The Kings Loyal

Sept. 14—Painters Stage

Sept. 21—The Missing Link Band

Friday Afternoon Club. For a smaller, more intimate entertainment setting at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park for special events, meet at the Lookout Grille for the best end-of-the-workweek music, delicious food, and drink specials, from 5 to 8:30 p.m., Friday, June 14 to Aug. 9.

June 14—Chasing Avalon

June 21—Gerry Goodman

June 28—Suzzanne Paris

July 5—The Leonard Curry Band

July 12—Charley Wagner

July 19—Natalie & Lizzy

July 26—Frank Martin

Aug. 2 —Guilty Pleasure

Aug. 9—Feeding Giants

Strawberry Days

This annual event is a Glenwood Springs tradition and Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is proud to be an event sponsor. This year marks the122nd Annual Strawberry Days festival which takes place June 21-23 at Sayre (Strawberry) Park in Glenwood Springs. The event features an arts and crafts fair; food booths; live music and entertainment and a FamilyFest area with interactive, entertaining and creative experiences for the whole family.  The traditional parade down Grand Avenue Saturday morning is followed by free strawberries and ice cream at Sayre Park. Enjoy all the festival activities and remember to save some time for a visit to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park—America’s only mountain-top theme park.

Learn more about Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park and make your summer plans to visit today!