Win a Family Getaway to Glenwood Springs

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, America’s only mountain-top theme park is sponsoring a contest for a vacation package that includes the best of Glenwood Springs activities and accommodations.

Win a Glenwood Family Getaway

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is rolling out the Glenwood Family Getaway contest again for 2020. One lucky family will receive:

  • A 2 night stay at the historic Hotel Colorado
  • 4 Funday passes to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
  • 4 day passes to soak at Iron Mountain Hot Springs
  • 4 show tickets to the Glenwood Vaudeville Revue
  • 4 vouchers to the Glenwood Escape Room
  • Fifty-dollar gift card to Glenwood Canyon Brewpub

The Best of Glenwood Springs

The Hotel Colorado is a Glenwood Springs landmark. It has hosted such notable guests as President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt and Titanic survivor “Unsinkable” Molly Brown. It is famous for its holiday lighting display, fine dining and as a favorite location for weddings and other special events.

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is an award-winning, family-owned theme park. It is home to spectacular caves and holds the record for the second largest cave room in Colorado. The mountain-top theme park is also known for its thrill rides. The Haunted Mine Drop and the Giant Canyon Swing, two extreme rides, have attracted world-wide attention from media outlets and thrill seekers.

Located on a terraced bank along the Colorado River, Iron Mountain Hot Springs allows guests to customize their soaking experience. Sixteen individual soaking pools—varying in size, shape and temperature—enable guests to find the one that’s “just right.” Other amenities include a larger, freshwater family pool, a restaurant, modern locker rooms and a gift shop.

For evening entertainment, the Glenwood Vaudeville Revue, Glenwood’s own Comedy Central is the place to go for laughs. The talented cast of professional performers keeps audiences in stitches with family-friendly skits, jokes, high energy dance numbers and more. The venue also hosts special events, bringing in bands, comedians and musicals.

For guests who like a challenge, the Glenwood Escape Room will put sleuthing skills to the test. The question is: Are you clever enough to get out in time? Choose from three scenarios and use clues to solve the mystery. Guests have 60 minutes and must work as a team to unlock the door and escape!

The Glenwood Canyon Brewpub brings flavorful and memorable food to your table. With a variety of delicious American pub dishes for everyone and award winning brews.

Enter to Win Today!

For the chance to win the Glenwood Family Getaway, fill out the entry form. The contest begins February 3, and ends at 11:59 p.m. on February 29, 2020. The winning family will be electronically drawn at random and announced March 2, 2020. Winners’ travel must occur between March 31, 2020 and March 31, 2021. Blackout dates apply.

The Fine Print:

  •  No purchase necessary
  • One valid entry per contestant
  • Must be 21 years of age or older at time of entry to be eligible for this contest.
  • This contest is void where prohibited by law.
  • Employees of Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park and their immediate family are not eligible.
  • Winners will be notified by phone and/or email.
  • If a winner is unreachable after seven (7) days or if that winner is unavailable for prize fulfillment an alternate winner will be selected.
  • Travel expenses to Glenwood Springs are not included.
  • Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park reserves the right to substitute any prize with another prize of equal or greater value.
  • Contest entrants agree to abide by the terms of the Official Rules and by the decisions of the contest commissioners which are final on all matters pertaining to the contest.
  • Entrants further grant Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park the right to use and publish their proper name and state online and in print, or any other media, in connection with the contest.
  • By completing this registration and pressing “submit”, entrants give Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, Hotel Colorado, Iron Mountain Hot Springs, Glenwood Vaudeville Revue, Glenwood Canyon Brewpub and Glenwood Adventure Company permission to contact the contestant via the email provided.
  • Contestants authorize Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, Hotel Colorado, Iron Mountain Hot Springs, Glenwood Vaudeville Revue, Glenwood Canyon Brewpub and Glenwood Escape Room Inc. to send emails about their products using automated technology.

Winter at the Adventure Park: What Not to Miss

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.

Alternating Ride Schedule

Midweek Alternating Ride Schedule Sept 16 thru Nov 1. 

Alpine Coaster, Giant Canyon Swing, and Haunted Mine Drop will remain open all day.

All rides open on weekends.

4-D Motion Theater: 

11:00 – 11:45 am

1:00 – 1:45 pm

3:00 – 3:45 pm

Climbing Wall:

11:00 – 11:45 am

1:00 – 1:45 pm

3:00 – 3:45 pm

Canyon Flyer:

10:00 – 10:45 am

12:00 – 12:45 pm

2:00 – 2:45 pm

4:00 – 4:45 pm

Giddy Up:

10:00 – 10:45 am

12:00 – 12:45 pm

2:00 – 2:45 pm

4:00 – 4:45 pm

Laser Tag:

10:00 – 10:45 am

12:00 – 12:45 pm

2:00 – 2:45 pm

4:00 – 4:45 pm

Mine Wheel:

10:00 – 10:45 am

12:00 – 12:45 pm

2:00 – 2:45 pm

4:00 – 4:45 pm

Soaring Eagle Zip Ride: 

10 :00 – 10:45 am

12:00 – 12:45 pm

2:00 – 2:45 pm

4:00 – 4:45 pm

Wild West Express:

11:00 – 11:45 am

1:00 – 1:45 pm

3:00 – 3:45 pm

Party Like it’s 1999 at Park 20th Anniversary Party

Glenwood Caverns gave its first cave tour in May 1999, more than 82 years after the Fairy Caves closed to the public during World War I. The mountain-top Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, is throwing a Party Like it’s 1999 celebration on Saturday, May 18, 2019. 

A Dream Realized

Twenty years ago, Steve and Jeanne Beckley were putting the final touches on the substantial improvement projects that made it possible to open the Glenwood Caverns and the Historic Fairy Caves to the public for the first time in 82 years. They’d spent the previous months working with volunteers to grade and gravel a road to the cave entrance, clear debris that had collected for decades, rewire and install lighting, carve a new tunnel into the mountain and install two airtight doors to form an airlock that protects the temperature and humidity inside the cave. Their first tour was during Memorial Weekend in 1999, the realization of dream 18 years in the making.

A Look Back at Glenwood Caverns’ Beginnings

Steve Beckley, a petroleum engineer and graduate of the Colorado School of Mines, read about the Fairy Caves in 1982 in an out-of-print book about Colorado caves. He wrote to Pete Prebble, the owner at that time, and expressed his interest in visiting the closed cave for 11 years before he and then-girlfriend Jeanne were allowed in. It was such a remarkable experience that they spent the next six years persuading him to lease the property and then, after quitting their jobs in Denver and moving to Glenwood Springs with their newborn son, spent a year preparing to open.

“I remember telling Jeanne at the time that we’d give cave tours during the summer and then relax, ski and play the rest of the year,” Steve Beckley, who co-owns Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park with his wife Jeanne, explains. “Well, that’s not exactly how it went. Jeanne knows ‘I have an idea’ is probably my favorite phrase and that I say it a lot.”

Glenwood Caverns Becomes America’s Only Mountain-top Theme Park

More than 33,000 people toured the caved in five months that year. The company had to close during the rest of the year due to the winding road that was impassible in the winter and spring months. Steve began working on a new transportation system to keep the tours open year-round; in 2003 the Iron Mountain Tramway opened, and the company changed its name to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Since then, it has grown to include thrill rides, family-friendly attractions, live music, shopping, dining and, as of this year, the new high-speed Glenwood Gondola that can transport 1,000 people per hour up and down the mountain.

“We never imagined that 20 years later that we’d be operating the only mountain-top theme park in America, with roller coasters and a giant swing and concerts under the stars,” co-owner Jeanne Beckley said. “It’s been such an incredible process. Our boys have grown up here, and the park has become this special place where families can have fun, learn about nature, experience this spectacular cave and create memories together.”

Premier Prince Tribute Band to Highlight 20th Anniversary Celebration

To celebrate this 20th anniversary, the Adventure Park is throwing a Party Like It’s 1999 celebration on Saturday, May 18, from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Paizley Park, a costumed and choreographed Prince tribute act, will rock the stage from 7 – 9 p.m. The audience will fall under the purple spell of Phillip Lamar Jordan as Prince during this high-energy show featuring the music of Prince, Vanity 6, Apollonia 6, Sheila E. and more. Guests who wear purple to the event can get a free drink at the Lookout Grille, a purple Icee for kids and a special “Purple Rain” adult beverage. The Airi Photo Booth will be set up to the right of the stage with props to help guests create free souvenir photos to take home as well.

Learn About Spelunking and Formations in Cave Simulator

CaveSim, a crawl-through electronic cave simulator with 60 feet of passage to explore, will be at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. It’s decorated with artful reproductions of real cave formations. Each formation is electronically sensed to count the number of times it gets hit by cavers. This information is saved in a central computer, and cavers can compare their scores and times.

Education was a primary goal of the Beckleys when they first opened the cave in 1999. According to Steve, “We were, and still are, so overwhelmed by the beauty of this world beneath our feet that we wanted to share it with as many people as possible while still protecting the natural resource. Teaching our guests about the history and geology of the area, the life forms within the cave and the importance of conservation has always been at the forefront of our business.”

Since that first tour, more than a million people have toured Glenwood Caverns and the Historic Fairy Caves. The park offers affordable field trips for thousands of students every year, providing the opportunity to share the science and experience of exploring to even more young people, many of whom might not have the chance to do so otherwise.

Event Admission Details

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 4:30 p.m.

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, Haunted Mine Drop, 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.

Behind the Scenes: Cave Care

Glenwood Caverns is temporarily closed until March while we install our new high-capacity tram. In the meantime, we’ve been busy housekeeping our treasured caves.

Most caves including Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park have a stable year-round temperature of about 55°F (13°C). Even when the outside temps dip to freezing or below, the interior of the caves remains comfortable for working—and that’s just what we’ve been doing since the Park temporarily closed in the fall.

Improving the cave experience for visitors

“The closure gives us time to work on some projects. We were able to eliminate eight steps on the King’s Row tour.  It will be the same fun and informative cave tour, but now guests will be able to walk amongst some of the rocks instead of above them on a walkway,” said Kathy Miller, Natural Attractions Manager at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. “Visitors will feel more a part of the cave and get a sense of what it might have felt like for the first people who discovered this room in 1960.” In place of the raised walkway, Miller and her team installed a new path with switchbacks that meander through the rockfall. The location of the new walking surface is in the Barn, the second largest cave room in Colorado. It’s what’s known as a breakdown room where the floor is covered with rocks that dislodged from the ceiling when the cave was formed. Extreme care was taken to ensure that no living cave formations were damaged in the process of building the pathway.

Yes, we dust our cave formations

Just like homes, caves are not maintenance free. Miller and her staff spend a significant amount of time housekeeping. Even though visitors leave backpacks, food and other items outside of the caves before taking a tour, they still track debris inside that must be tidied up periodically. “We regularly clean lint and hair from the cave walkways and formations, and we dust the formations as well,” Miller explained.  During the closure the team is doing an extensive deep clean that includes removing dust with small shop vacs fitted with an attachment typically used to clean computer keyboards. After the dust is removed the formations also get a gentle washing. “When spring comes the cave will rinse itself but we want to get the dust gone before the thaw,” Miller added.

Checking, replacing and installing

At any given time there are two to four staff members working in the caves as well as a welder who is constructing new handrails for guest safety and convenience. The maintenance checklist includes checking the airlock seals on the doors, replacing burned out bulbs and resetting lights for the new pathway. Building the pathway necessitated pouring concrete for a smooth and stable pedestrian-friendly surface. Because of its location inside a cave and the need for the airlock doors to remain sealed at all times, pouring concrete is done the old fashioned way. “We put up a double tent to contain the dust. Instead of using a cement truck, portable mixers and bagged concrete are hauled in. Our contractor does it the hard way—in small batches, by hand,” Miller said. Other tasks taking place include installing a new phone line in the event of an emergency and “scaling” work which is poking areas prone to loose rock.

Cave well-check

Open or closed, high-season or off-season, we are always concerned about the health and wellness of our cave. It’s our baby! Caves are extremely fragile environments with perceptible growth occurring incrementally over long periods of time. To assess its condition, the staff takes the cave’s temperature and measures humidity. It is an ongoing project that to date has spanned 20 years. Every three months a group of cavers from Denver check the evaporometers and data loggers that are placed throughout the cave. Evaporometers are devices that measure the rate of evaporation. Your cave guide can point them out to you on a cave tour. The data loggers take the temperature of the cave every 15 minutes. The information then gets downloaded and evaluated by experts four times per year.

While the Park may seem dormant this winter, there is a lot happening behind the scenes. Special thanks to Kathy Miller for providing information and photographs. Miller was recently appointed to the board of directors for the National Caves Association as regional director for member caves in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona. She joined Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in March 2006 and was promoted to natural attractions manager in October 2014. Miller has lived in the area for 28 years.