Even as we all adjust to a new normal that includes face coverings and social distancing, you can continue to enjoy many of the activities you’ve always loved to do in Glenwood Springs. In addition to rides, attractions and cave tours at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, there’s rafting, biking, fishing, comedy shows, outdoor dining, hot springs and much more!Continue reading
Watch the Winter Alpine Coaster POV and get a sense of what it’s like to race down 3,400 feet of track down the mountain side. USA Today and Park World Magazine named the Alpine Coaster one of the 10 Best Roller Coaster Rides of Your Life.
When you’re riding the Alpine Coaster, you control your own speed and it enjoy the ride at your own pace! The Alpine Coaster is open year-round making it an all season thrill.
Add some big thrills to your romance with a visit to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. The mountain-top theme park in Glenwood Springs is the perfect place for heart-warming and heart-pounding fun.
Give your romantic relationship a love booster shot. A spur-of-the-moment, micro-getaway that includes Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park could be just the remedy for the mid-winter amour doldrums. The Adventure Park checks all the boxes for a romantic good time and a great date.
- Snuggle on the Glenwood Gondola. The orange gondola cars will whisk you and your partner high above the humdrum of the ordinary. Get cozy under blankets that are provided in each cabin as you travel from the valley floor to the park entrance at the top of Iron Mountain. Consider it the grown up version of seven minutes in heaven!
- Plumb the depths. Explore new territory together. Cave tours offer couples a glimpse of a rare and magnificent underground landscape. See spectacular stalactites, stalagmites, showy aragonite crystals and more. The caverns have also been the site of more than a few marriage proposals and wedding ceremonies!
- Feel the need for speed on the Alpine Coaster. Sometimes you’ve just got to go a little wild. Let the throttle out on the Alpine Coaster. You determine your speed as you soar down the mountain. The cool mountain air and fast pace are guaranteed to awaken the senses.
- Be silly in the 4-D Theater. Love isn’t rational. You don’t need to be ten years old to enjoy these 15 minute animated shows. Grab a seat at this family-friendly attraction, put on your glasses and enjoy the surround sound, bumps and breezes of 4-D technology. By the end, no matter your age, you’ll feel like kids again.
- Unwind with libations. For a more mature pastime, head to the Lookout Grille for an adult beverage and some sustenance. The bar serves a selection of decadent cocktails, beer in bottles and on tap. Wine and a Bloody Mary bar are other options. You can also satisfy your partner’s appetite at the Lookout Grille. The restaurant has an extensive menu of delicious casual dining menu choices.
- Take in the views. To paraphrase Antoine de St. Exupéry, it not all about looking at each other; it’s looking in the same direction that matters. On your visit to the Adventure Park be sure to walk up to the Viewing Deck above the General Store for landscape views of the Roaring Fork Valley and Glenwood Springs. This is also the perfect spot for a romantic couple’s photo.
- Attend an intimate concert. Add a little night music to the mix with Friday Afternoon Club FAC features talented local bands and food and drink specials every Friday through February from 5 to 8:30 p.m. The Park’s FAC also includes a free gondola ride after 4 p.m. with a coupon that appears in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent on Fridays. The small indoor venue is relaxed and laid back—perfect for a date night.
Love is a big, bold adventure. Add some thrills to your romance at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park!
Mike Liebelt is a whiz at all things mechanical. As Lead Mechanic at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park he does whatever it takes to ensure thrill rides are open and ready for Park visitors.
While visitors to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park get an adrenaline rush from thrill rides like the Alpine Coaster, Giant Canyon Swing, Cliffhanger Roller Coaster, Canyon Flyer, Soaring Eagle Zip Ride and the Park’s Lead Mechanic Mike Liebelt gets his from making sure the rides perched on the pinnacle of a mountain in Glenwood Springs are all in top form and running like well-oiled machines.
Liebelt grew up living between Elitches and Lakeside, two Colorado amusement parks. The irony that he’s now employed at one isn’t lost on him. “I loved those parks when I was growing up. When I came here I quickly fell in love with Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park,” he said. “Working here is serendipitous and wonderful!”
Liebelt started as an attractions attendant in 2012, working at the Alpine Coaster. When the season ended he was hired on to spend the winter digging, clearing and expanding areas in the caves. Not only was he grateful for the job, he was all in for the laborious, difficult and exhausting work ahead. “For five months I smashed rocks. It was great,” he said, laughing at the memory. In 2014, he transferred to the maintenance department full time.
“Mike’s knowledge of rides is unmatched. He has been absolutely invaluable with his skills, experience, dedication and ‘can do’ attitude as well has his mentorship of new mechanics,” Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park General Manager, Nancy Heard said.
In the eight years since he began, Liebelt has been part of the installation of all thrill rides since the Alpine Coaster at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. In addition to Lead Mechanic, Liebelt is also Lead Ride Inspector certified through the National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officers (NAARSO). For trainings he’s traveled to major theme parks including Hershey Park in Pennsylvania and Carowinds in North Carolina. The most recent training took place in-house with Utah-based Apollo Engineering and S&S Worldwide, the largest U.S. manufacturer of amusement park rides and roller coasters.
When it comes to his personal favorites—to work on and ride on—roller coasters are the hands-down winner for Mike Liebelt. He’s particularly excited for the new experience visitors will have on the Cliffhanger Roller Coaster beginning in the spring of 2020. “The Cliffhanger is being completely redone and will basically be a new ride when we’re through. It’s going to be all magnetic, with no moving parts. Guests will experience a smoother, quieter overall ride. My job right now is to make sure it’s open and ready to go by May 22,” he said. “I’m confident we’re going to make it.”
Mike Liebelt, Lead Mechanic at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
Another ride that’s getting an overhaul under Liebelt’s eagle-eye is the Alpine Coaster. The Park’s first and most popular ride is being upgraded with new computers and receiving all-new wiring for its entire length along the mountainside. For guests, it will mean more fun and shorter wait times.
As Lead Mechanic, Liebelt is also the go-to guy when a ride experiences a problem. Sometimes closures are scheduled. When a ride undergoes a mandatory inspection, it may be closed for as long as a day. In that case, the Park posts the closure in advance at the base, the mountain-top and on the Glenwood Caverns website under Ride and Attraction Status.
Other times mechanical issues arise. “We take a ride being down personally,” he said. “I happen to be very good at problem solving and can quickly diagnose and troubleshoot.” Liebelt is particularly proud of last summer’s nearly flawless operational record. “With safety as our number one priority, our goal is to keep every ride open and operating at all times.” When a ride does have to close down for a maintenance issue, Liebelt tells guests “not to worry, the average repair is completed within 30 minutes.”
What’s the best part of his work? “I love this job. On any given day I might be woodworking, painting, pouring concrete, fixing rides, doing maintenance or weekly inspections, but it’s the people that keep me here. I’ve never worked at a place that feels more like a family.” Liebelt is pretty sure guests feel the same vibe as well, “On a summer day, everywhere you go you see people—families and friends— smiling and having fun,” he said. That’s reason enough for Mike Liebelt to keep those rides running day in and day out.
Lead Mechanic at Glenwood Caverns, Mike Liebelt often works behind signs like these. Authorized Personnel Only image by StickerMule
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.
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.
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:
- Soak in the geothermal soaking pools at Iron Mountain Hot Springs
- Attend a hilarious Glenwood Vaudeville Revue show
- Stroll and shop at boutiques in downtown Glenwood Springs
- Visit the Doc Holliday Museum in the basement level of Bullocks or hike to his grave marker in Linwood Cemetery
- Grab a Glenwood Springs-made craft beer at Casey’s Brewing Taproom and Glenwood Canyon Brewpub
- Sip a premium coffee or a signature cocktail at the historic Hotel Colorado
- Indulge in a soothing massage or body treatment at one of Glenwood’s many spas
Take your Vail, Aspen or Sunlight ski vacation to all-new heights. Plan your visit Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park today!
Enjoy Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park year-round at a discounted rate when you purchase your Annual Thrill Pass by January 1, 2020.
With only a couple of weeks left, now’s the time to take advantage of Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park Annual Thrill Pass sale. Through January 1, 2020, annual passes are just $90 for adults (regularly $128) and $78 for kids ages 3 to 12 (regularly $116). That’s a $38 savings, an amount equal to the value of an annual Gondola Pass. In other words, the Adventure Park will throw in a Glenwood Gondola Pass to anyone who purchases an Annual Thrill Pass by Jan. 1!
A Perfect Last-minute Gift for Kids and Families
If you’re still looking for the perfect gift for your children or an activity-oriented gift that you can enjoy together both now and later, a Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park Annual Thrill Pass is an easy choice for high-flying, family-friendly fun all year round. This special is available online only and the offer ends Jan. 1, 2020. To purchase, go here—Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park—use the promo code ALLYEARFUN and follow the prompts to complete your transaction.
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park Annual Thrill Park Passes include:
- Unlimited rides on the Glenwood Gondola to take you to the Adventure Park anytime you want to enjoy the mountain-top setting for a fun-filled day that includes action-packed activities, dining with a view, live musical entertainment and more.
- Unlimited turns on Adventure Park rides and attractions, including favorite thrill rides like the Alpine Coaster and the Giant Canyon Swing. Passes also include family attractions like kid-friendly rides, the laser tag arena and 4-D Theater shows.
- Enjoy unlimited cave tours. Take guided cave tours through King’s Row and the Historic Fairy Caves with our expert guides whenever you feel like it. These beautiful underground landscapes never cease to amaze.
- Free event admission is also included. With the exception of special ticketed events, your Pass provides access to mountain-top events such as Kick-off celebrations, Music on the Mountain, Friday Afternoon Club (FAC), Octoberfest and Winter on the Mountain.
- Get 10 percent off at mountain-top dining and retail venues. Just show your Thrill Pass at the Lookout Grille or the General Store Gift Shop to trim a cool ten percent off the top of your purchase.
The mountain-top Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs, Colo., continues its tradition of community-minded holiday fun on Saturday, Nov. 23, with a fundraiser and food drive to provide Thanksgiving meals to community members in need, followed by a kick-off party with live music, holiday lights and a visit from Santa.
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park continues its tradition of community-minded holiday fun on Saturday, Nov. 23. It starts with Gondola Giving from 2 to 6 p.m., a fundraiser and food drive to provide Thanksgiving meals to community members in need. Guests can receive free gondola passes to use that day by donating grocery store gift cards or non-perishable food items. The mountain-top Winter on the Mountain kick-off party begins at 5 p.m. with live music by the Leonard Curry Trio, a tree lighting at 6 p.m., more than half a million holiday lights and visits from Santa Claus and the Coca-Cola polar bear.
“This day is all about community. It’s friends, neighbors and even strangers making it possible for others to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner together,” explained general manager Nancy Heard. “Then, everyone can come together to celebrate the beginning of the holiday season at our kick-off party. The only cost is a can of food, and that includes a ride on the new Glenwood Gondola, the lighting of our Christmas tree, beautiful light displays, music, a visit with Santa and a cup of warm apple cider.”
Turkey Tram-a-Ganza transitions to Gondola Giving
Gondola Giving is a joint promotion with Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park and Bighorn Toyota. This event, which runs from 2 to 6 p.m., benefits local food pantries. In years past, the food drive focused on frozen turkeys. That is not the case this year; LIFT-UP has specifically requested grocery store gift cards and non-perishable Thanksgiving dinner fixings for area families in need foods.
Anyone who donates a gift card worth $20 or more receives four gondola passes to use that day and one entry in a drawing to win Annual Thrill Passes, Funday Passes and passes to soak at Iron Mountain Hot Springs. Those donating a can of food receive one gondola pass to use that day. People can drop off donations and register for the drawing at the Bighorn Toyota truck parked at the tram base at 51000 Two Rivers Plaza Road, then pick up their free gondola passes at the cashier window. The free passes are valid Nov. 23, 2019, only.
Winter on the Mountain returns for 5th season
After a hiatus last winter for construction of the Glenwood Gondola, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park celebrates the return of Winter on the Mountain. Beginning at 5 p.m., guests can take in the holiday lights, visit and take photos with Santa Claus in the North Pole and get a hug from the Coca-Cola polar bear in the Plaza, where the lighting of the Christmas tree begins at 6 p.m. The Leonard Curry Band is performing Americana, bluegrass and some holiday favorites in the Lookout Grille throughout the evening.
“There’s a strong sense of family, community spirit and even a little holiday magic in the air at the kick-off party every year,” added Heard. “The kids are excited to share their wish lists with Santa, and parents can get that perfect pic of them together in time for holiday cards. With the lights, music and festive atmosphere, it’s a very special evening.”
Entertaining Guests All Season Long
This family-friendly park in Glenwood Springs, Colo., shines all season with a display of more than a half million lights, a giant Christmas tree, fire pits for roasting s’mores and lighted rides on the Alpine Coaster. The cave tours, 4D motion theater, laser tag arena and General Store are open as well.
Fire pits in the plaza are a natural gathering place to warm the hands and roast s’mores, with a tempting selection of hot cocoa, cider and winter beverages for kids and adults available inside the Lookout Grille. Along with a cozy fireplace and holiday décor, the restaurant offers appetizers, sandwiches, hearty winter specials and desserts. Beer, wine, cocktails and a robust Bloody Mary bar round out the drink options. There’s live music in the Lookout Grille nightly during the holidays as well.
From Nov. 15, 2019, through Feb. 28, 2020, the Lookout Grille hosts Friday Afternoon Club from 5 to 8:30 p.m. with live music 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.
Winter Season Rates and Hours
The discounted Winter Funday Pass is the best value to enjoy Winter on the Mountain. It includes the gondola ride, unlimited turns on the Alpine Coaster, 4D Motion Theater and laser tag arena, and two guided cave tours at a cost of just $42 per adult and $37 per child, ages 3 to 12. A round-trip ride on the Glenwood Gondola is $19 per adult and $14 per child for guests who want to view the lights, enjoy lunch or dinner at the Lookout Grille, do some shopping at the General Store and visit with Santa.
Winter on the Mountain at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday from Nov. 15 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.
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is located on top of a mountain which is pretty unusual, but nothing compared to these bizarre theme parks from around the world.
Want to go to a real hellish house of horrors this Halloween? You can choose Haw Par Villa in Singapore or Suoi Tien Amusement Park in Vietnam. If you’re more reality-inclined, you can re-enact life in a real Soviet bunker in Lithuania or attempt a scary simulated border crossing in Mexico. If you just prefer gross-out humor, take the kids to BonBon World in Denmark. You can find a theme for pretty much any amusement in parks around the world. Here are some of the most bizarre theme parks, just in time for Halloween!
This Asian cultural park, built in 1937 and once known as Tiger Balm Garden, features history, philosophy, traditional rituals and religion along a red brick road. You’ll find tigers, leopards, dragons, goats, pandas, rabbits, gorillas, lobsters and a crab-lady. You can also enter the Ten Courts of Hell for a preview of, say, what it takes to get dismembered and drowned in a pool of blood. Afterwards, you can contemplate life in a real coffin.
Suoi Tien, Vietnamese for “Fairy Stream,” is devoted to Southeast Asian Buddhism’s animistic themes—instead of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, you’ll find the Dragon, the Unicorn, the Tortoise and the Phoenix, as well as workers in golden monkey outfits. There’s a huge golden dragon with a neon-lit shrine to Buddha, pillars shaped like elephant tusks and a giant rotating frog. The waterslides come from the beards of twelve Buddhist sages, and you can feed raw meat to 1,500 crocodiles in a pond. Don’t be fooled by the Palace of Unicorns name—inside is Buddhist hell, with a vivid display of how drug addicts, gamblers and adulterers will be tortured.
This is an actual Soviet bunker, built in 1984, where you can relive life in those Communist-ruled days. Many of the staff to guide you through the three-hour “1984: Survival Drama in a Soviet Bunker” were Soviet guards. The space is about 20 feet underground, includes over 32,000 square feet of tunnels and rooms, and a roof designed to withstand a nuclear bomb. The aim is education as well as entertainment. Some people faint. While you’re in Lithuania, check out Grūtas Park, also known as Stalin’s World, a 50-acre sculpture garden of Soviet leaders designed to resemble a prison camp.
Along with its gorgeous views, rivers and mountains, this ecotourism park offers visitors a realistic simulation of what it’s like to attempt a border crossing into the United States. The four-hour nighttime hike led by an actor-coyote includes the tension and danger of the trip. The event was established by the Hñahñus, local Native Americans, to discourage border crossings, educate outsiders and boost the local economy so that leaving isn’t the only option.
A candy manufacturer who marketed his products as Seagull Droppings, Ear Wax, and Dog Fart made a killing with potty-joke lovers of all ages, so he opened a similarly-themed park in 1992. The bathroom humor extends to the rides and statues in a country with relaxed standards of lowbrow amusement and is considered family-friendly. Attractions include the Worm, the Stud, Seagull Blobs, Horses Bulbs, Fold Cod, Crow Trees, the Horse Dropping, the Crazy Turtle, Skid Mark, Dunce Cap, and Rubbish Dump. The most popular ride is the Dog Fart Switchback with a huge, and noisy, canine statue.
Theme parks like Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park tend to attract people who like the adrenaline rush of a scary ride. Not everyone is a thrill seeker, however. Here are 12 things to do if you’d rather not swing out over a 1,300-foot cliff.
- Ride the Gondola. Getting to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is part of the fun. The Glenwood Gondola will whisk you up and away to the mountaintop theme park, but don’t worry; the ride is smooth and quick with amazing views of Glenwood Springs.
- The Alpine Coaster. Before you say, no way, consider that this thrill ride allows you to control your speed. Let the throttle out all the way for maximum acceleration, or pull back for a speed you’re comfortable with. Either way, having the wind whip through your hair as your ride down the mountain is pure joy.
- The Mine Wheel. This ride is not just for kids. Whatever your age, climb aboard this old-fashioned Ferris-style family ride updated with a mining theme. You’ll go round slowly, and as you reach the pinnacle, you’ll catch sight of the beautiful park and mountain scenery.
- Laser Tag. Have fun ducking for cover and taking aim at friends and family. This lively game is a hoot. Be warned, however, kids are especially good it.
- Meander through the General Store for all sorts of fun gifts, snacks and souvenirs. From sacks of colored stones to slingshots, homemade fudge to home décor, and tee-shirts to toys, you’ll find lots of eye candy to enjoy or to take home.
- Check out the view. The Adventure Park has a couple of viewing decks. Climb the stairs at the Visitor’s Center for spectacular views of Glenwood Springs, the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers and Mt. Sopris in the distance. Another viewing deck is located near the Giant Canyon Swing. Even if you don’t ride, you can watch others as they swing out over Glenwood Canyon which can be thrill enough.
- Cave tours. Two caves tours, the Historic Fairy Caves and King’s Row are not to be missed. Both offer different perspectives on the amazing underground world. See thriving cave formations that include stalactites and stalagmites, cave bacon, popcorn, soda straws and flowstone.
- Catch a show. Glenwood Caverns offers a lineup of live entertainment almost all year long, whether it’s Friday Afternoon Club and Two for Tuesdays during the summer, Music on the Mountain which goes into September, Octoberfest in the fall, Winter on the Mountain during the holiday season, or special artist engagements. To see who’s playing, check out our always updated events calendar.
- 4-D Theater. These 15-minute shows will put a smile on your face. The theater is equipped with moving seats, surround sound, and special effects that make you feel like you’re actually inside the movie!
- Grab a bite. Sit for a spell and savor something delicious. The Lookout Grille serves a variety of meals as well as adult beverages. For a grab-and-go pick-me-up, stop by the Snack Shack or Popcorn Wagon.
- Strike a pose. Smile for the camera—your or ours. Take fun snaps in the Giant Mountain Chair at the Visitors Center. You can also bring home souvenir photos taken on the Fairy Caves tour, Alpine Coaster and other rides or dress up in western style for a full-on photoshoot at Silk’s Saloon Old Tyme Photos.
- Pan for gemstones. Purchase a bag of dirt from the General Store and try your luck at finding an unexpected “gem” at our sluice channel. As you do so, imagine what it must have been like for prospectors who spent their days panning Colorado mountain streams in hopes of flushing out tiny flecks of precious metal.
Not a thrill seeker? Not a problem. Have all the fun without the faintness of heart. Learn more and plan a visit to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park today.
The Cliffhanger Roller Coaster at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is the highest elevation coaster in North America. Check out these other record-breaking roller coasters.
Fifty feet tall, perched at an altitude of 7,160 feet and hugging the side of Iron Mountain, the Cliffhanger Roller Coaster edges out all other coasters on the continent. A crowd-pleaser, its cliff-side curves and heart-stopping drop offs make it a must-ride attraction for coaster aficionados and thrill-seekers. From the ride’s pinnacle are views of the Colorado River in Glenwood Canyon, 1,450 feet below!
Amusement parks for decades have competed to build the tallest, fastest, longest, scariest coasters. The first coaster that reached 100 feet tall was Serpent of Fire at La Feria Chapultepec Magico in Mexico City in 1964. Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, was the first to cross the 200-foot mark (Magnum XL-200, 201 feet in 1989), the 300-foot mark (Millennium Force, 310 feet in 2000, and the 400-foot mark (Top Thrill Dragster, 420 feet in 2003), but Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey, set the current record at 456 feet in 2005. Kingda Ka also has the longest drop, at 418 feet, and the second-fastest speed, 128 mph, surpassed by Formula Rossa at Ferrari World in Dubai in 2010 at 149.1 mph.
The longest steel roller coaster is Steel Dragon 2000, at 8,133 feet, built in 2000 at Nagashima Spa Land in Japan. The use of steel-tube rails for roller coasters, pioneered at Disneyland’s Matterhorn Bobsleds in 1959, accelerated development of twists, turns, and inversions. The record for inversions on a steel roller coaster is 14, set by The Smiler at Alton Towers in Staffordshire, England, in 2013, while the record for inversions on a wooden roller coaster is three, reached by Outlaw Run at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Mo., in 2013 and tied by Wildfire at Bråviken bay, Norrköping, Sweden, in 2016.
Wildfire is also tied with T Express at Everland in Yongin, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea, for the tallest wooden roller coaster at 183.8 feet. Goliath at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Ill., holds the record for longest wooden rollercoaster drop, 180 feet, set in 2014. Lightning Rod at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., built in 2016, is the fastest wooden roller coaster, 73 mph. The Beast, built in 1979 at Kings Island in Mason, Ohio, is the longest, 7,359 feet.
Shuttle roller coasters, which run back and forth instead of making a complete circuit, have not developed as rapidly in recent years. The tallest, 415-foot-tall Superman: Escape from Krypton, was built at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, Calif., and the fastest, 100-mph Tower of Terror at Dreamworld in Gold Coast, Australia, were both built in 1997. The longest, 1,480-foot-long Mr. Freeze, was built at Six Flags over Texas in Arlington in 1998.
The oldest still-operating rollercoaster is Leap-The-Dips, built at Lakemont Park in Altoona, Pa., in 1902. Other individual records for different styles of rollercoaster include:
- Stand-Up – The Riddler’s Revenge at Six Flags Magic Mountain is the tallest, fastest, and longest (156-feet tall, 146-foot drop, 65 mph top speed, 4,370 feet long).
- Inverted – Alpengeist at Busch Gardens Williamsburg is the tallest and fastest and has the largest drop (195-feet tall, 170-foot drop, 67 mph top speed), but the longest is Banshee at Kings Island (4,124 feet).
- Flying – Tatsu at Six Flags Magic Mountain is the tallest, fastest, and longest (170 feet high, 62 mph top speed, 3,602 feet long).
- Floorless – Superman Krypton Coaster at Six Flags Fiesta Texas has the largest drop (168-feet) and is the fastest (70 mph). Dominator at King’s Dominion is the tallest (161 feet) and longest (4,210-feet long).
- Largest Arrow Mega-Looper – Viper at Six Flags Magic Mountain is the tallest and has the most inversions (188 feet tall, 7 inversions).
Ride the Cliffhanger Roller Coaster at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park and learn more about our other scream-worthy thrill rides at glenwoodcavdev.wpengine.com.