Our Story

Interesting & Unexpected

A mountain is ideal for many things – hiking, skiing, hang gliding, but it’s not the most logical location for a theme park. Yet, situated 7, 100 feet above sea level in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, is America’s only mountain-top theme park. How exactly did Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park end up there?

Well, follow the path of curiosity long enough, as Steve and Jeanne Beckley did and you might find yourself in some interesting and unexpected places. What started out as a spelunking hobby in college became a quest to explore the private and nearly forgotten Fairy Caves, the closed-to-the-public Colorado cave fiercely protected by its then owner, Pete Prebble.

Steve and Jeanne Beckley

Steve and Jeanne Beckley

Inspired by photos he saw in caving books, Beckley began writing to Prebble in 1982, in the hopes of gaining access to the caves, but almost all of his letters came back unopened, stamped “Return to Sender.” Disappointed but not deterred, Beckley kept up the letter writing campaign. After a decade Prebble relented and in 1992, granted Beckley permission to explore the caves. As spectacular as the images in the caving books were, nothing could prepare Steve and Jeanne for what they were about to see. After struggling though Jam Crack, a claustrophobically narrow opening only nine inches wide in spots, they emerged into The Barn, a huge chamber with fiery red walls. It was here, that Steve’s dream of sharing the beauty and wonder of the Fairy Caves with the public was born. Boy-on-Alpine-Coaster-at-Glenwood-Caverns-Adventure-ParkThe Beckleys acquired the property from Prebble in 1998. On Memorial Day weekend a year later, 500 visitors showed up for a tour of the newly renamed Glenwood Caverns. By 2003, the “little” cave tour operation was accommodating 100,000 visitors a year. To transport the burgeoning number of guests to the mountain-top cave entrance, the Beckleys installed a Poma gondola and dubbed it the Iron Mountain Tramway. Though interest in the caves was booming, the wait for a tour was breaching three hours. “We started putting in rides to give people something to do while they were waiting for the caves,” said Steve. The idea took off and launched the business in a new and unexpected direction – the planning of a mountain-top theme park with a Western history slant officially got underway. The first rides were installed in 2005, including the Alpine Coaster which is still a visitor favorite. Since then, a slew of thrill rides and attractions have been added to the Colorado theme park including the newest, the Haunted Mine Drop, which opened during the summer of 2017.

What began over two decades ago as nagging curiosity to explore a little known cave in Glenwood Springs has become America’s only mountain-top theme park, a place where the thrills run deep and the sky’s the limit!

Accolades

Hard work pays off. Check out a small sampling of accolades the Beckleys and Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park have received over the years!

  • The Haunted Mine Drop was voted the Best New Theme Park Attraction of 2017 by USA TODAY readers
  • The Alpine Coaster was named one of the 10 Best Roller-coaster Rides of Your Life by USA TODAY and Park World Magazine
  • The State of Colorado awarded the Beckleys the 2001 Governor’s Award for Outstanding Community Tourism Initiative
  • Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association named them Citizens of the Year for 2002
  • The Haunted Mine Drop was named one of the 12 Most Anticipated Thrill Rides of 2017 by USA Today
  • The Giant Canyon Swing was named one of the 10 Most Extreme Theme Park Rides in the USA by USA TODAY
  • Glenwood Caverns was named one of the 10 Best Caves in the USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards
  • Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park ranked in the top 4 for Best Family Fun in Sunset magazine Travel Awards

Read the whole story in Roaring Fork Lifestyle Magazine’s Movers & Shakers edition

Steve Beckley’s Dream: Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

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  • 5 star ratingView was amazing and lots of fun for the kids, Long wait for the tram ride down the mountain

    Michelle N. Avatar
    Michelle N.
    10/18/2020

    It was definitely fun we went on a day of October fest! I would recommend wear something cozy gets cold up there especially on rides… read more

    Maria_Sunshine Avatar
    Maria_Sunshine
    10/18/2020

    Don’t like the tram but when we got to the top it was nice.

    Mari Rivas Avatar
    Mari Rivas
    10/18/2020
  • A very good experience & adventure!!Must try rides: Mine Drop, canyon swing, alpine coaster, cave toursNot worth – eagle zip line, 4D theatre

    Shruti Shah Avatar
    Shruti Shah
    10/18/2020

    5 star ratingGreat family time Loved pretty much everything. Rides were fantastic. Staff was great, place was clean and all in all a great time. Awesome cave… read more

    Jeremy C Avatar
    Jeremy C
    10/17/2020

    5 star ratingMake sure you spend time here! We visited the Caverns on a recent trip to Colorado and had one of our best days at the Adventure Park! We were a… read more

    juliejH4295WR Avatar
    juliejH4295WR
    10/16/2020
  • Had a wonderful time here. I am pregnant so I really couldn’t ride anything except the gondola. The cave tours are really cool. In all… read more

    Glendarika Garcia Avatar
    Glendarika Garcia
    10/16/2020

    Fun even in a pandemic. Take a gondola to the top of a mountainside. Grab a pound of fries and a souvenir cup of Sprite… read more

    R Cusick Avatar
    R Cusick
    10/15/2020

    Very pricy but, worth it. Had a great time.

    Patrick Duffy Avatar
    Patrick Duffy
    10/14/2020
  • The mine drop was amazing. I have never been to a ride that doesn’t give time to think and get the adrenaline rush. The drop… read more

    Karthik Ravi Avatar
    Karthik Ravi
    10/12/2020

    I had a blast! The extreme rides are some of the best in the country! and the caves are amazing

    mike hall Avatar
    mike hall
    10/12/2020

    Fun stuff!

    harry layton Avatar
    harry layton
    10/12/2020
  • 5 star ratingDon’t Miss this gem! Our favorite part of this unique little mountain amusement park was the cave tours. In particular- a big shout out to Cole, who was… read more

    jeaninemartinez Avatar
    jeaninemartinez
    10/11/2020

    4 star ratingSurprisingly good time The Adventure Park is a real surprise! You can see the Tram ride from all over Glenwood but can’t really see the park till you… read more

    Brian K Avatar
    Brian K
    10/10/2020

    4 star ratingMost Unique Amusement Park Who would think that you could enjoy an amusement park on top of a mountain? In terms of the number of rides it has… read more

    MichaelLong1963 Avatar
    MichaelLong1963
    10/06/2020
  • Probably the most anxious I’ve ever been in my life to ride the canyon swing and it was so fun. Would have rode again if… read more

    Lisa Brummett Avatar
    Lisa Brummett
    10/05/2020

    Family time!!!

    Jaime David Vazquez Avatar
    Jaime David Vazquez
    10/05/2020

    Had a blast! Only rode the gandola which tbe view was amazing! It was still awesome watching all the others riding their rides they have…… read more

    MzLaPez Lopez Avatar
    MzLaPez Lopez
    10/05/2020
  • This was my first time at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park and it was by far the most exciting and beautiful place I’ve been to in… read more

    Lisa Dorsey Avatar
    Lisa Dorsey
    10/05/2020

    Must do when you visit glenwood springs co good for adults and kids

    Sami Shab Avatar
    Sami Shab
    10/05/2020

    This place is amazing!! Family friendly and the staff is very nice and funny to and that helps relax your nervous from the rides. We… read more

    Breanna Archuleta Avatar
    Breanna Archuleta
    10/05/2020
  • This adventure park does not disappoint! A thrill & adrenaline rush around every corner!! Cherish! Girl you the bomb it’s an hour later & I’m… read more

    Lisa Martin Avatar
    Lisa Martin
    10/05/2020

    All of the staff are pretty friendly and helpful except for the gift shop staff is extremely rude.

    Sam T Avatar
    Sam T
    10/05/2020

    Super fun gondola ride up the cliffs and then a little amusement park on top and caves to explore.

    David Kraus Avatar
    David Kraus
    10/05/2020