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

Happy faces at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
Happy faces at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

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.

Adventure Park Sweeps Locals’ Choice Awards

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is the local favorite! It finished in first place in four Locals’ Choice Award categories–Best Attraction, Best Family Entertainment, Best Place for a Kid’s Birthday and Best Tourist Spot—and took third for Best Entertainment Venue, Best Live Music Spot and Best Place to Take Out-of-Town Guests.

The Locals’ Choice Awards are a big deal in a small town like Glenwood Springs. The annual contest, sponsored by local newspaper, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent (GSPI), is an opportunity for area-wide residents to give a shout out to their favorite hometown businesses, people and places. Of the seven voting categories, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park cleaned up in Arts & Entertainment winning four first place and three third place awards.

2019 GSPI Locals’ Choice Awards Final Results

Best Attraction—First Place

Glenwood Caverns recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. Opening the caves in 1999 for tours after more than 80 years of being closed to the public was a major achievement and success. Since then, the Park has added a new gondola, award-winning thrill rides, family-friendly attractions, restaurants, shopping, a full lineup of summer entertainment as well as special events throughout the year.

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Best Family Entertainment—First Place

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is first and foremost a destination for families. Cavern tours are designed to be entertaining and educational. Rides range from mellow to adrenaline-pumping. A 4-D theater, laser tag arena and panning for gems sluice box provide active, engaging fun for many ages. On the entertainment side, the Harmony Sisters make regular weekly appearances to connect with kids in the audience for fun sing-a-longs. As the seasons change Octoberfest and Winter on the Mountain enchant kids of all ages with season-appropriate games, music and entertainment. It’s no wonder Glenwood Caverns is the local’s choice for best family fun!

Best Place for a Kid’s Birthday—First Place

Nobody does birthday parties like Glenwood Caverns! Put a smile on your child’s face and make memories that will last a lifetime. The Park’s birthday packages include food and cave tours, but ride packages are targeted to specific age groups. For example, if you have a group of youngsters only interested in the Park’s tamer attractions, choose the Buckaroo Package; the Wrangler Package offers unlimited rides, as does the Outlaw Package created for adults with larger food portions. The Park’s event planner can help you tailor packages to meet your group’s needs.

 

The vaccine is good news for the travel industry

Best Tourist Spot—First Place

Like the town’s hot springs attractions, Glenwood Caverns is similarly an integral part of a Glenwood Springs experience and a big reason people come to visit. Over the course of a season, the Adventure Park hosts people from all over the globe—Japan to India; South America to Europe; and from all 50 states! The ridescave tours and music are the big draw, but the Glenwood Gondola ride to the Park’s entrance and the expansive views of the Roaring Fork and Colorado River Valleys make the Adventure Park a Glenwood Springs destination not to be missed no matter where you’re from.

Best Entertainment Venue—Third Place

The main stage in the Plaza at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is the setting for live music all summer long. A large open area in front of the stage is perfect for kicking up heels or busting a groove to the music. For those who just want take in the ambiance, there’s ample seating at covered picnic tables. Enjoy food and drinks, including beer and cocktails, while you listen to local bands and visiting artists from around the state and region.

Best Live Music Spot (Music on the Mountain & Friday Afternoon Club)—Third Place

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park offers live mountain-top music six days per week! Music on the Mountain are the biggest shows with the most diverse lineup. Concerts take place weekends through the fall in on the main stage in the Plaza. Friday Afternoon Club, which includes a free gondola ride with an ad from that day’s Post Independent, and the new Two for Tuesdays feature artists in a more intimate setting in the Lookout Grille. Monday through Thursday, popular local singer Rodrigo Arreguin strums his way through a range of tunes. Gondola rides for Music on the Mountain are free with the donation of a canned food item for the LiftUp food pantry. For other events, regular admission rates apply for Glenwood Gondola rides to the Park.

Best Place to Take Out of Town Guests—Third Place

See Best Tourist Spot for all the great reasons to bring your favorite people to one of Glenwood’s favorite places!

A winner in seven categories, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is the Local’s Choice!

Inclement Weather: Riders on the Storm

Into every theme park, a little rain must fall. Depending on their location and attraction mix, theme parks respond to inclement weather with tips on toughing it out, partial closings, or, in the worst case—temporary attraction shutdowns. Don’t forget the silver lining in those clouds: showery days can mean shorter lines and a more relaxed visit overall.

Different venues manage weather differently depending on prevailing weather conditions in their location. Walt Disney World builds more sheltered space, including covered queues, than Disneyland because South Florida gets more storms than southern California (not to mention that the Florida parks have published cancellation policies in the even of hurricane or tropical storm warnings). The extra shade can help ease heat wave discomfort as well as protect from rain.

Check the rules online before you make the trip to avoid disappointment. Dollywood published a detailed list of the temperature at which each ride closes. Disneyland list the outdoor attractions that close temporarily during rain or lightning. At Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, storms come and go quickly. Rain checks are issued when Alpine Coaster, Cliffhanger Coaster, Soaring Eagle Zip Ride, Giant Canyon Swing, and Glenwood Canyon Flyer are ALL closed for an hour or more.

Visitors should also pack more prudently than destinations’ stereotypes might suggest – you might need a light jacket or long pants to stay comfortable in a Southern cold snap. Theme Park Insider Robert Niles recommends taking a rain jacket, but not an umbrella; making reservations at indoor eateries; and checking packages so you don’t have to carry souvenirs around when rain is predicted at Disneyland. “Embrace the rain and ride anything outside that’s a short wait time instead of huddling with the crowds trying to stay dry inside,” he says. “The upside to bad weather often is smaller crowds.”

Learn more about Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, America’s only mountain-top theme park in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

Alpine Coasters: Letting Nature Take Its Course

Alpine coasters, including the one at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, follow the terrain for scenic rider-controlled downhills.

Alpine coasters have become a popular attraction at ski resorts and amusement parks since they were developed in the mid-1990s as a rail-riding successor to Alpine slides that had been around since the 1970s. Alpine coasters have been built in 12 countries, from Switzerland to New Zealand and Jamaica to Vietnam, as well as 16 states. The longest is Tobotronc in Naturlandia in Andorra—5.3 kilometers with a drop of 400 meters and a ride that can last nearly 10 minutes. The highest is at Glacier 3000, a one-kilometer ride that starts at 2,970-meter elevation and can reach speeds of 25 mph on its two-minute descent.

Unlike traditional roller coasters that build their own hills, Alpine coasters take advantage of the natural terrain’s slope, usually built close to the ground except for bridging. Alpine coasters are the only amusement park ride controlled by the rider. One or two people sit in the car, and a hand brake regulates the speed. The settings often offer breathtaking views—Tobotronc runs through the La Rabassa forest—and some riders prefer to take a more leisurely sightseeing pace.

The one-kilometer Alpine Coaster at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, ranked No. 1 by tripping.com, was the first of its kind in the United States. Colorado’s slopes naturally make it a leading site for Alpine coasters, with highly-ranked rides in Vail and Steamboat Springs. In addition to Rocky Mountain states such as Wyoming and Utah and Appalachian Mountain states from Vermont to Georgia, Alpine coasters are found in South Dakota, New Jersey, Minnesota, and Missouri.

Grand Opening of the Glenwood Gondola

There’s a new gondola in the Roaring Fork Valley, and Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is ready to celebrate its completion. The Glenwood Gondola, which replaces the park’s former Iron Mountain Tramway, has been under construction since October 29, 2018. On Saturday, April 20, the mountain-top theme park in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, is rolling out the red carpet to introduce its newest attraction.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony kicks off the festivities at 10 a.m. on April 20

Paying homage to the grand opening of the Iron Mountain Tramway in 2003, owners Steve and Jeanne Beckley have invited two of the people who played important roles in that ceremony to come back for repeat performances. KMTS news and sports director Ron Milhorn will once again be the emcee for the event. Melissa Miller Matis will sing the same two songs she sang in 2003, when she was 15, “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “A Moment Like This.”

After the Beckleys take the first ride, the Glenwood Gondola opens for the public. The park saved tram cabin number one, which is located at the base for photo opportunities. Cake will be served on the stage in the plaza area beginning at 11 a.m. Silk’s Saloon Olde Tyme Photos will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. as well.

“Everyone at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is really looking forward to the grand opening,” park general manager Nancy Heard explained. “Even though the park has been open for a few weeks with 17 gondola cabins, this is really the big kick-off for us. We have a lot of great things planned for this summer, so this is just the first of many fun events coming up, including our 20th anniversary celebration on May 18 and 15 Music on the Mountain concerts through the summer.”

Giving thanks to a supportive community

To thank the community for its patience while the park was closed, free annual gondola passes were offered to residents from Basalt to Glenwood and from Eagle to Parachute. More than 17,000 people signed up, a much larger number than anticipated.

Heard added, “Wow, the response was just incredible! We had to make a special order of the plastic cards used for the passes to accommodate so many people. We continue to be humbled by the loyalty and enthusiastic support of our community.”

At $38 per annual gondola pass, that’s a $650,000 goodwill gesture to encourage locals to come up and see what’s new and to bring back those who may have stopped attending the Music on the Mountain concerts because of the lines to get up and down the mountain.

The Glenwood Gondola improves the park experience for visitors

With the increased capacity of the Glenwood Gondola, that should no longer be an issue. In the past, the majority of customer complaints were related to getting up and down the mountain. The new gondola is designed to be much more customer-friendly. It features 44 detachable cabins that move continuously, so the ride is faster and smoother than the former Iron Mountain Tramway. It’s also less susceptible to weather-related closures.

“When you combine the gondola, the capital improvements made throughout the park and compensation to keep our year-round, full-time employees on the payroll during the closure, this multi-million-dollar investment in the park is the largest since its inception,” Steve Beckley said. “Jeanne and I are really pleased with the dedication our managers and staff members have shown to improving our customer experience. We can’t wait to hear what our guests have to say.”

The season ahead at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

The park’s year-round attractions are open—the Alpine Coaster, both walking cave tours, the laser tag arena and 4D Motion Theater. An inclusive Funday Pass costs $47 for adults and $42 for kids 3 to 13 until May 10, when all attractions will be open. A ride on the Glenwood Gondola is $19 for adults and $14 for kids, and the Gondola/Cave Tour combo is $32 for adults and $27 for kids. Annual Gondola Pass Holders can upgrade to a Funday Pass for $28 or to an Annual Thrill Pass for $90 per adult and $78 per child.

The Lookout Grille is open with a variety of new options on the menu, including a line of Panini Sandwiches and more vegetarian choices. The General Store gift shop is open and also has a lot of new items, including locally made cave-themed chocolates, handmade artisan soaps and lotions, and fresh designs on t-shirts and hoodies, with more on the way.

Starting Thursday, April 11, hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Longer hours for summer will begin in late May. More information about the park can be found at GlenwoodCaverns.com and on Facebook.

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is Hiring

Glenwood Caverns is hiring

Earn a paycheck and have fun at the same time! America’s only mountaintop theme park, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, is hiring now for seasonal spring and summer positions.

When opportunity knocks, it’s always a good idea to answer. Well, it’s knocking today! Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs, Colorado is hiring seasonal positions for the upcoming spring and summer seasons.

While the balmy days of summer may seem far off, they’re not. Peak season at the Park is just around the corner. With the installation of the Glenwood Gondola underway and on schedule for completion next month, it won’t long before the Park reopens to the visiting public in mid-March. We’ll need a fully, trained staff to welcome and serve guests—“to make people smile”—our company mission.

If you are hard-working, reliable, friendly and teachable, we encourage you to apply. Working at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is a great way to build your resume and develop real-world marketable skills including increased confidence, public speaking, time management and problem solving.

We are looking for employees who share our six core values: guest service, enthusiasm, team player, passionate, adaptable and dedicated. If this sounds like you, we’d love you to be a part of the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park team in 2019. Now is the time to apply. To learn more about jobs, visit us at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.

We are currently hiring for the following positions:

  • Restaurant Cashiers
  • Attraction Attendants
  • Gondola Cashiers
  • Gondola Operators
  • Gondola Attendants
  • Gift Shop Cashiers
  • CDL Drivers
  • Cooks for the Lookout Grille
  • Photography Cashiers
  • Restaurant Bussers
  • Janitors
  • Cave Tour Guides
  • Part-time Receptionists
  • Sluice Attendants
  • Retail Inventory Control Specialists

Restaurant bussers can be as young as 14; cashiers, 16 and up; minor attractions attendants must be at least 16 and major attractions operators, 18 and older.

Do you hear that knocking? Opportunities at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park abound, but they won’t last long. Get to work. Make money. Have fun. Apply today!

Screaming on the Giant Canyon Swing

As much as we like to make people smile, we also like to make them scream. These two gentlemen can attest to that fact! The Giant Canyon Swing here at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park has been called “the scariest ride in the world” by many a rider. You can now take home memories of your ride, if you’re brave enough to try it. We’re located on top of Iron Mountain in scenic Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

Bring the Family to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park!

There’s a full day of family fun waiting for you at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park! Located on top of Iron Mountain overlooking beautiful Glenwood Springs, Colorado, the park offers lots of options for kids (or adults!) who aren’t quite ready for our over-the-top thrill rides. You can enjoy scenic tram rides, guided walking cave tours, the Mine Wheel Ferris wheel ride, the family-friendly Wild West Express roller coaster, the bouncing GiddyUp ride, a laser tag arena, a climbing wall, a giant maze and a 4D Motion Theater. Come on up and bring the whole family!