National Natural Landmark
The historic caves at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park are now a National Natural Landmark. Combined with the unique ecosystem of Iron Mountain Hot Springs, the Glenwood Caverns were formed with exciting underground processes that show millions of years of geologic history.
“Glenwood’s caverns and hot springs are iconic Colorado treasures,” said U.S. Senator Michael F. Bennet. “I am pleased to see them recognized by Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland as a National Natural Landmark and appreciate the Beckleys’ ongoing efforts to preserve these valuable resources for future generations.”
Historic and Geologic Significance Explained
Below the surface of Iron Mountain are beautifully decorated caves formed by unique processes that host rare and diverse ecosystems, demonstrating the geomorphic timeline of the area. Glenwood Caverns, historically known as Fairy Cave, is near the top of Iron Mountain at an elevation of 7,100 feet and has been age-dated to between 1.34 and 1.69 million years old. Glenwood Caverns also contains an abundant variety of cave formations (speleothems) making it one of the most decorated caves in Colorado.
The cave system is host to many organisms including eight organisms that spend their entire lives in caves (endemic troglobites), such as a pseudoscorpion, that are unique to the cave. The cave also hosts many common cave guests (trogloxenes) like bats, packrats and crickets.
“We are honored by the National Natural Landmark designation and so happy to continue to offer guests the opportunity to experience these natural wonders,” said founder and owner Steve Beckley. “We will continue to preserve the integrity of the cave ecosystem; it’s a responsibility we take seriously.”
About the National Natural Landmark Program
The National Natural Landmarks (NNL) Program was created in 1962 to identify, recognize and support the conservation of sites that represent the natural heritage of America. The program now includes a collective of more than 600 designated sites that contain outstanding examples of biological or geological features. Landmark sites are deemed nationally significant based on their outstanding condition, illustrative character, rarity, diversity and value to science and education.
The National Park Service works in partnership and alongside landmark owners and managers to recognize and support conservation of nationally significant sites that illustrate the rich and diverse tapestry of America’s natural heritage. The naturally beautiful formations that line the floors and ceilings of the caves and the rejuvenating geothermal waters of the hot springs are amazing to witness and experience in person.