Glenwood Caverns Hosts Giving Thanks Party with LiftUp

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park will be hosting a Giving Thanks Party with LiftUp, our local food bank. The event takes place in Glenwood Springs, on Nov. 25, at Centennial Park from noon to 4 p.m.

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park has always chosen November to help stock the shelves of our community food bank, LiftUp. This year’s event will be a Giving Thanks Party held on Sunday, Nov. 25, from 12 to 4 p.m. at Centennial Park (9th and Grand) in Glenwood Springs. It’s an opportunity to spread holiday cheer by giving back to those less fortunate while enjoying an afternoon of family fun with Santa, carolers and more.

In years past, Glenwood Caverns has sponsored the Turkey Tram-a-ganza—a hugely successful event that invited the public to donate food in exchange for rides aboard the Iron Mountain Tramway to America’s only mountain-top theme park.  This year, you may have noticed we’re in the process of replacing the old Iron Mountain Tramway to make way for our new high-capacity tram that will debut in March.

During the construction the Park is temporarily closed, but we didn’t want to drop the ball on the families who count on us to help supply all the fixins’ for a delicious holiday meal. The items collected will go toward Christmas baskets that will be delivered to families in need during the month of December.

 

Everyone is invited and encouraged to bring non-perishable food items in exchange for a tram pass that will be valid when the park reopens next March. One free tram pass per person. For this food drive, LiftUp is asking for canned goods and non-perishables. Suggested items include: dried beans, nuts, rice, pasta, boxes of macaroni & cheese, oatmeal, crackers, cereal, peanut butter, sugar, flour, Bisquick, juice boxes, energy bars and canned items like tuna, chili, soup, beans, fruit and stew. The non-profit organization will have a truck on site at Centennial Park to collect the food which will then be delivered to their warehouse to be sorted and distributed.

A fun family event, the Giving Thanks Party will elevate holiday spirits. The Mountain Harmony carolers will fill the park with all your favorite Christmas songs. Children can snuggle with Santa who will be seated in Glenwood Caverns’ Big Mountain Chair and whisper what they’d like him to bring on Christmas morning. For parents, it’s an opportunity to snap outdoor photos of the tots with Mr. Claus. A cutout of the new tram cabin will also be onsite for photo opportunities. Throughout the afternoon, chase away the chills with free hot chocolate courtesy of True Brew Coffee & Tea.

Next year, with the new Iron Mountain Tramway open, we’ll return to collecting food items at the tram base in Nov. in tandem with our Winter on the Mountain kickoff—a seasonal celebration marked by live entertainment, miles of fairy lights, a musical Christmas tree and much more.

Glenwood Caverns Throws Tram Farewell Party

Use weather apps to check climate conditions at the Adventure Park
Use weather apps to check climate conditions at the Adventure Park

Help us send off the Iron Mountain Tramway in style on Sunday, Oct. 28, from noon to 6 p.m. when we’ll be hosting a huge tram farewell party with throwback pricing, prizes, drawings and more!

The time has come to say goodbye to an old friend. The Iron Mountain Tramway at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park was installed April, 2003. Over its fifteen years of service, the tram has transported 2.2 million visitors to America’s only mountaintop theme park where they have enjoyed thrill rides, spectacular cave tours and fun-filled entertainment and events.

Tram Farewell Party, Oct. 28

After years of reliable service, this stalwart workhorse is ready to retire. We’ll celebrate on Sunday, Oct. 28 with a tram farewell party. Locals, visitors and the whole community are invited to attend. Festivities will begin at noon at the tram base with throw-back $10 tram rides—the cost of riding the tram back in 2003!

At the mountaintop, in addition to the rides and attractions that will be open (weather permitting), the celebration will feature free cake and refreshments, one dollar hot dogs for sale in the plaza, as well as prize giveaways and drawings. There will also be photo opportunities to commemorate the old tram. Don’t miss this chance to snap a souvenir photo before the tram is retired.

“This is definitely a bittersweet time for us. The tramway transformed a seasonal cave tour operation into a year-round destination,” Steve Beckley, who owns Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park with his wife Jeanne, said. “I’m sure there will be some emotional moments as we look back on how the business has changed over the years. At the same time, we are very excited to be able to improve service to our guests with the new tram.”

At the end of the evening, a winner will be drawn for the grand prize of taking the last ride down the mountain aboard the Iron Mountain Tramway with park owners Steve and Jeanne Beckley. Second prize is the second-to-last tram ride down with general manager Nancy Heard. The drawing will be held at 5 p.m., and winners must be present to win.

Decommissioning the old tram and installing the new tram will get underway immediately. The new, high-efficiency system with 44 detachable, six-person cabins will increase passenger capacity from the current 300 to 1,000 people per hour and significantly decreasing the frequency of weather-related closures.

Beginning on Monday, Oct. 29, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park will be temporarily closed for the winter season. Construction is anticipated to last until mid-March, when a grand re-opening celebration is planned.

Last Chance for Mountaintop Thrills

Let the good times roll, zip, bounce, spin and swing! Catch your favorite Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park rides one last time. October is your final chance—at least for several months—to visit America’s only mountaintop theme park before the start of a months-long temporary closure.

Beginning in November, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park will embark on a major construction project that will temporarily close the mountaintop theme park for a little more than four months. During the closure, the current tramway will be removed and replaced with a high-capacity model that will transport visitors more efficiently to and from the park. It’s just one more exciting adventure for us, but…

…in the meantime, let’s have some FUN! If you have a favorite ride, take the opportunity to hop aboard in next few weeks—weather permitting all the rides will be operational through Oct 28, the last day Glenwood Caverns will be open for a while. Keeping it fun and festive all month long, Glenwood Caverns has fall-themed events and activities planned throughout October. For the full run-down of things to do, be sure to visit the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park Octoberfest link.

So, why not give it one last whirl while you have the chance? Take a turn on all your favorite thrill rides including those listed below (click on the links for video clips).

The Giant Canyon Swing. Crazy scary, this ride launches riders out over the edge of Glenwood Canyon at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. Peek if you dare. It’s a 1,300 foot dropoff!

The Cliffhanger Roller Coaster. Another ride that will have you clinging to the edge of your seat is this coaster that’s considered the highest in elevation in North America!  Get ready for g-force curves, plunging drops and a wild ride that will leave you breathless and invigorated.

The Alpine Coaster. Glenwood Caverns’ first thrill ride, the Alpine Coaster remains a top crowd-pleaser. You control the speed as you race down Iron Mountain —navigate tight turns and cruise over tummy-flipping bumps—then sit back and enjoy the scenery as you ascend back up the mountain.

The Soaring Eagle Zip Ride. This two-seater ride pulls you backwards high above the landscape, then with a pop it lets you fly. You’ll feel like you just got your wings as you soar like an eagle to the landing pad.

The Canyon Flyer. Not so fast you can’t open your eyes and see the amazing panoramic views of the Roaring Fork Valley, but your vision will also pick up on the fact that you’re swinging out over a 1,300 foot cliff!

More. Before the end of the month, take the opportunity to also explore the rest of the park: cave tours, family-friendly rides, laser tag, the 4-D theater, the speleobox and panning for gemstones in the sluicebox.

Take a cave tour at Glenwood Caverns for National Caves and Karst Day!

The last day the park will be open is Sunday, Oct. 28 when we’ll officially retire the Iron Mountain Tramway and celebrate with a huge party. Join our mailing list (scroll to the bottom of our homepage) to stay on top of all the news and receive construction updates.

Big Changes Ahead for Iron Mountain Tramway

Updated on Nov. 19, 2019 – The day after our Goodbye Tram party, we began decommissioning our old tram.  The cabins have been sent to Grafton, Illinois which sees 1.5 million cars pass through each year to visit the booming Riverside tourism experiences.  The Iron Mountain Tram upper deck has since received major demo, removal of terminal and foundation excavation in preparation for receiving the new foundation and drive terminal.  Soon the drive terminal at the tram base will be removed along with other demo.  Everything is going as planned and while we hope for a good snow season for local skiers, we are enjoying the great November weather as work moves forward.

Updated on Oct. 17, 2018 – We’re just about done with the party planning. On Sunday, Oct. 28 we’ll be saying goodbye to the Iron Mountain Tramway with a big bash of a celebration on the mountain-top from noon to 6 p.m. Join us for throw-back pricing of $10 tram rides. This was the cost of a ride when the tram opened in April, 2003. There will be cake, drawings, prizes, free refreshments and $1 hot dogs in the plaza. We’ll also have photo opportunities to commemorate the old tram and celebrate the new one. Lastly, there will be a grand prize drawing for the final ride down the mountain at the end of the evening aboard the old tram alongside Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park owners Steve and Jeanne Beckley. Mark your calendars and plan to come out for the festivities and to help us say farewell to the original Iron Mountain Tramway.

We’re getting ready to say goodbye to an old friend. In just a few short months, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park will be retiring the current tramway which was installed in April of 2003. In service for 15 years, the tram has transported 2.2 million visitors to America’s only mountain-top theme park for cave tours, thrill rides and more. We’ll be sad to bid farewell to this stalwart workhorse, but we’re excited about ushering in a new era of visitor transportation for Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.

At the end of October, we’ll begin the process of decommissioning the original tramway and installing a new state-of-the-art aerial tramway. The entire process will take several months during which the park will be temporarily closed. We expect construction to be completed by March with the new tram debuting in time for 2019 spring break and the summer season.

To keep you up-to-date on everything that’s happening with Iron Mountain Tramway before and during the construction period, you can visit us here for all the latest information. We hope to post videos, technical details and fun facts about the construction project, so be sure to check back in.

Iron Mountain Tramway Celebrates 15 Years!

It’s our Tramiversary! April 26th marks 15 years since Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park opened the Iron Mountain Tramway, giving visitors a scenic lift to a mountaintop of fun.

Big changes for Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

On April 26, 2003, a crowd of hundreds cued up at the base of the Iron Mountain Tramway, waiting patiently to be among the first to ride the newly opened gondola from the valley floor to the top of Iron Mountain. It was a historic moment for Glenwood Springs and Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.  Owners, Steve and Jeanne Beckley, along with local dignitaries marked the occasion with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and news outlets covered the event. Going forward, instead of spending 30 minutes taking a dusty passenger bus up a rough road, visitors could now board a sleek, modern mode of transportation that would whisk them up and away to America’s only mountain-top theme park and cut the travel time down to approximately 15 minutes.

Construction of the Iron Mountain Tramway, as well as the gift shop and restaurant began in 2002.  Helicopters were used to pour the concrete pads and place towers—taking great care to preserve the scenery and disturb as little of the mountainside as possible. It was not uncommon for crowds to gather to watch the aerial acrobatics. An 8,400 foot steel cable was spliced into a continuous loop to carry the gondolas up and down the mountain. At the time it was installed, the pulse gondola designed by Poma-Leitner was the first of its kind in the US. The six-person, fully enclosed cabins travel 4,300 feet up the mountain and provide visitors with magnificent views of the Roaring Fork Valley, Mt. Sopris, Glenwood Springs and the Colorado River.

Gondola at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

To commemorate our 15 year Tramivesary, we are giving away daily and annual tram passes with our “Celebrate 15 Years with 15 Winners in 15 Days” Facebook Contest which starts April 11 and runs through April 26. Be sure to participate for your chance to win. Daily tram passes are valued at $16 and annual passes at $32.

More changes to come

It’s been fifteen years since the first riders stepped inside the bright orange cabins as the inaugural part of their Glenwood Caverns experience; now it’s time to update and move forward again.  The current Iron Mountain Tramway will be retired in November of this year and replaced with a faster, more modern version.

The new tramway will be comprised of 44 detachable, six-passenger cabins with a capacity to convey up to 1,000 people per hour. For comparison, the current tram, with 18 cabins, transports 300 visitors per hour. The new tram will cut the travel time in half, from 15 to approximately seven minutes, effectively eliminating customer wait times. It will also be less susceptible to inclement weather. Fewer slow-downs and closures will enhance guest experiences, especially during the busy summer season and major park events such as Music on the Mountain. It will take approximately four to five months to install the latest iteration of the Iron Mountain Tramway, during which the park will be temporarily closed.

Take a ride with us and enjoy all that Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park has to offer — cave tours, thrill rides, attractions and great views. It all starts aboard the Iron Mountain Tramway!

To enter:

On Facebook, please post a photo or drawing of the tram in a comment of the main “Celebrate 15 Years with 15 Winners in 15 Days” Post. It can be of people inside the tram, the views from the tram or the tram from a distance.

The contest starts on Wednesday, April 11, and will run through Thursday, April 26. There will be a winner chosen from that post everyday until the grand prize, which will be picked on the 26th at 1 p.m. The first day winner will be chosen on Thursday, April 12. The contest ends on Thursday, April 26, at noon.

The first 14 daily winners will receive 2 Tram Passes Valued at $32.00.

On Day 15 of the Tramiversary Contest the Grand Prize will be 4 Annual Tram Passes valued at $128!

The Fine Print:

  • The photo or drawing must belong to you.
  • You must be at least 18 years of age.
  • You must have permission to use the image of anyone in the photograph.
  • Photos must be family-friendly.
  • Watermarked photos are acceptable, and you may use filters to enhance the image.
  • Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park has the right to reuse the photo entries with credit to the photographer. We may ask your permission to use it in our advertising as well.
  • You may enter as often as you’d like.
  • Winners are selected at the sole discretion of Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.

Let’s see those Tram pics!

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park: Who Does That?

Ever wonder who works the various jobs at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park or what it’s like to be employed at America’s only mountain-top theme park?

As Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park prepares for a hiring spree for the upcoming summer season, three employees share their insights and experiences. To learn more about summer employment, check out the video above. Our mission is to make people smile; if it’s yours as well, we invite you to apply for an opportunity to join our team.

RYAN MOREAU

What’s your job at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park (GCAP)?

Tram base supervisor. I pretty much take care of operations at the base and that includes running the tram, manning the register and supervising the day-to-day operations at the tram base.

How long have you been at GCAP?

About nine months.

What keeps you at GCAP?

I love it! I’ve worked lots of retail jobs; the people at those other jobs were never happy—neither my fellow employees nor the customers. My naturally happy personality didn’t fit in there. Nancy, who is the general manager at the Park, noticed me at my old job and scouted me out.  She liked my work ethic and said she was going to hire me one day. She did! Thank you Nancy!

What’s the best part of your job?

I get to sell smiles for a living and it’s fantastic! GCAP is a very unique workplace. I have never experienced anything like it. I am part of an awesome company that feels more like a family than a job. GCAP is a company that’s going nowhere but up, and I want to be on board with them for the ride so to speak.

Do you have a memorable customer story?

I love the guests. There are a lot of neat people who visit the caverns. There are so many great stories, but one of my favorites is of a guest who was afraid of heights. She was very nervous about riding the tram. She wanted to see our amazing caves so bad though that she was able to tackle her fear of heights, get on top of that 7,100 foot mountain, and have fun. It was awesome!

DAN CHANEY

What’s your job at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park (GCAP)?

I’m a cave tour guide. I do all the tours — walking and crawling.

How long have you been at GCAP?

I just wrapped up two years.

What keeps you at GCAP?

This job suits me to a T! I’ve been an earth sciences nerd for ages. I’m an amateur geologist, fossil hunter and prospector, so to say I’m at home in a cave is an understatement! Glenwood Caverns has a great product and outstanding management; it’s a testament to who Steve and Jeanne Beckley (the owners) are as people that working here it feels like a family.

What’s the best part of your job?

I love that I get to share what I know with the public. I’m one of those people who can remember details for 30 years—I’m a top-notch Trivial Pursuit player—I’ve been called the Bill Nye of Caves!

Do you have a memorable customer story?

You mean have I had a personal moment with a customer? Yes! Every day! One that stands out is when I had a geophysicist on one of my tours. This is a scholarly guy who really knows his stuff. Well, after the tour he let me know that he learned a few things he hadn’t known before. I took that as quite a compliment. Another time involved a grandfather and his grandson. After learning something new about cave science, I remember the boy saying with such enthusiasm, “Wow grandpa! That’s so neat!” It’s rewarding to engage with all kinds of guests, from all backgrounds, from all over the world.

DONNA WALKER aka “MAMA DONNA”

What’s your job at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park (GCAP)?

I’m a grill cashier at the Lookout Grille.

How long have you been at GCAP?

I’ve been in Colorado for eight years — transplanted from Georgia — and worked at the Caverns for five years.

How did you get your nickname?

(Laughs) A bunch of guys in the kitchen started calling me that and it sort of stuck. I like to take care of people and make them smile.

What keeps you at GCAP?

It’s a great place to work! I love the location on top of a mountain and riding the gondola to work every day.  I love the customers, especially the kids. I’ve been able to see some of the kids of our regular customers grow up over the years and that’s a lot of fun. I also like the fact that GCAP offers military discounts. My son Dusty Walker is a bomb specialist in the US Army, and I’m proud of him and of all our veterans. When veterans visit, I like to go out of my way to thank them for their service.

What’s the best part of your job?

I’m a people person. If I can make someone’s day better I will. If I see a mom is struggling with her kid for example, I’ll make a whip cream face on a plate with chocolate eyes and a smile. That pretty much turns the kid’s day and the mom’s day around right away.

Do you have a memorable customer story?

This one time a gentleman gave me a great compliment. He said I should be on the Dr. Phil show to show other people how customer service is done. I just like to work with the public. It makes me happy to make other people happy.

If you’re on a mission to make people smile, consider joining the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park team this summer. Visit glenwoodjobs.com for more information.

A Faster Ride to the Top: New Tram Coming to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

When you can’t wait for the fun to start, you want to get to where you’re going—fast.  With guest satisfaction in mind, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park will soon install a speedy new tram that transports visitors to America’s only mountain-top theme park faster than ever before.

It won’t be long before Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park welcomes guests aboard a state-of-the-art new tramway slated for installation later this year. The new tram will double the speed and triple the capacity of the current Iron Mountain Tramway, the main transport system that takes visitors via gondola cars from the floor of the Roaring Fork Valley to the top of Iron Mountain, an elevation gain of 1,300 feet.

The new tramway will be comprised of 44 detachable, six-passenger cabins with a capacity to convey up to 1,000 people per hour. For comparison, the current tram, with 18 cabins, transports 300 visitors per hour. The new tram will cut the travel time in half, from 12-15 minutes to approximately seven minutes, effectively eliminating customer wait times. In addition to its speed, the new tram will be more reliable. The detachable tram is designed to equally distribute the weight of the cabins across all the towers, which will allow it to sustain higher winds without impacting operations. “This system will help us enhance our guests’ experience by reducing wait times and reducing the frequency of weather-related tram closures,” Nancy Heard, general manager of Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, explained. “It will be more stable in high-wind conditions and will eliminate 80 percent of the shutdowns caused by wind and lightning.”

The reason the new tram will be less susceptible to weather-related closures is twofold. First, operators will have the ability to clear people off the tram in seven minutes rather than 15. Second, the new tram will have lightning arrestors that will dissipate the electricity and minimize the potential damage to the tram. This will allow operators to wait to see if a storm develops before deciding to shut down the tram. Currently, the tram closes as a precaution even though in some cases storms may not materialize. The more resilient new tram will reduce the need to run busses and Adventure Vehicles up and down the mountain during inclement weather.

For guests attending Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park events such as Music on the MountainFriday Afternoon ClubOctoberfest or Winter on the Mountain, the high capacity and more dependable tram will be an asset to event attendees who want to depart at the end of a show, a time when there is a high demand to return to the base.

As for the timeline, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park will be open as usual during the peak season from spring through Oct. 28, 2018. During the construction of the new tramway, from mid-November through mid-March, 2019, the park will be temporarily closed.

After the new tram is installed, it’s full-speed ahead for fun at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park!

The Journey and the Destination

View of Glenwood Springs

Ride the Iron Mountain Tramway for the best views in Glenwood Springs.

For a scenic and relaxing getaway to the top of Iron Mountain and a casual meal at The Lookout Grille, half the fun is getting there.

Your ride in a safe, comfortable, fully-enclosed gondola on the Iron Mountain Tramway begins at 6,000 feet and gently lifts you to 7,100 feet on the trip that is 4,300 feet long. The tram is a modern European pulse design by Leitner-Poma of America, with slowdowns on the way as other visitors enter and exit at the ends.

High above the trees, you’ll get a bird’s eye view of Storm King Mountain, Lookout Mountain, Mount Sopris and the Elk Range in the distance, Red Mountain, the Flattops Wilderness, the Colorado River, an active limestone quarry and Glenwood Springs.

Adding to the ambiance, from November through February, during Winter on the Mountain, the Park is adorned with over a half million lights. Rides and attractions, outdoor fire pits, a warming tent decorated as the North Pole and events like FAC with live music and food and drink specials offer visitors lots of options for things to do at the mountain-top theme park.

No matter when you visit, you can take in the spectacular views and recharge your batteries with a meal at the family-friendly Lookout Grille restaurant, with burgers, sandwiches, wraps, vegetarian options, a kids’ menu and beverage choices including beer and wine.

You’ll descend via the tram with another pleasant ride and go home with treasured memories to recall for years from the excursion of just a few hours.