7 Ways Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park Blends Nature with Adventure
As the country's highest-altitude theme park, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park offers high-flying thrills. Photo Courtesy: Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
This mountaintop park is the nation’s highest theme park, sitting at the summit of Iron Mountain at an altitude of 7,100 feet. One of the best reasons to visit the park is that it’s open year-round, so guests who visit multiple times a year won’t have the same experience twice! They offer a Funday Pass that provides access to the park and unlimited turns on most rides and attractions for one low price, and you’ll save even more when you buy it online. The park is open daily, but check their website for hours of operation.
1. Glenwood Gondola
The anticipation of the day builds as your cabin on the Glenwood Gondola ride ascends Iron Mountain up about 1,500 feet, which is the only way to the adventure park. The height of the ride will be the first thrill of the day, as the views of surrounding mountains, rivers and the town will amaze.
The name of The Cliffhanger Roller Coaster doesn’t exaggerate how high this roller coaster is. This ride is the highest-elevation, full-sized roller coaster in North America, where riders can see 1,300 feet down to the Colorado River below.
The Alpine Coaster was the park’s first ride to be installed, and the first of its kind in the country to let the riders have full control. The tracks plummet 3,400 feet down the mountain with bumps, waves and tight turns that the most-daring rider can even do at full speeds. For a gentler ride, riders can choose to cruise at a slower speed.
The Wild West Express is a roller coaster that is friendlier for the kids, but doesn’t miss out on the mountainous views.
Shortly after riders unload from The Giant Canyon Swing, it’s common for them to get right back in line. Whether it’s the views, the adrenaline rush or both, this swing is loved by all. Not only will the depth of the drop stir your stomach, but the top speed reaches 50 mph over the cliff.
This adventure park is not for those with a fear of heights, unless being strapped in brings enough consolation. The Glenwood Canyon Flyer boasts the views of the canyon as you swing around, higher and higher — 1,300 feet above the Colorado River, to be exact.
4. Unique Rides
The Haunted Mine Drop is the park’s newest addition, and its first themed ride. Riders are told the ghostly tales of a tragic event that took place in history, but what they won’t be told is what the ground is doing below. This is the first ride in the world to drop you underground, and is themed as a mining shaft. An overhead voice will tell a story of the ghost-miners who fade in and out, then the riders plunge 110 feet into the dark depths of Iron Mountain. “The question is: ‘Will you dare to drop?’”
The 4D Motion Theater is Colorado’s first 4D theater, featuring moving seats, surround sound and other effects that immerse riders into the movie. Take a few breaks throughout the day with the three different movies shown here.
The park also offers Laser Tag, but this version differs from modern-day laser games, because guests will be rounded up for a Wild West shootout.
5. The Lookout Grille
Guests can get views from anywhere at the park, but the views don’t get old. Guests can take a breather at The Lookout Grille while sipping on soda and filling up on yummy sandwiches, including Italian-style Panini, fresh salads and wraps. Both kids and adults are accommodated, with a kids’ menu and a full bar. After a full meal, head over to the gift shop for an incredible selection of homemade fudge.
6. Caverns and Caves
The Historic Fairy Cave was the first cave discovered in the late 1800s that most everyone can do. A quarter-mile-long tour takes explorers through narrow, winding paths that feature waterfalls and an outside viewing balcony to catch some fresh air. Be sure to never touch the walls of the caves or the delicate formations that have formed over the ages.
The name of the Kings Row Cave Tour stems from formations that resembled chess pieces to the cave’s first explorers. This tour welcomes all with a flat boardwalk and handrails. It is the most decorated cave in Colorado, with formations such as cave bacon, soda straws, stalagmites and stalactites. Guests are also treated to a light show to illuminate the cave’s most unique formations. This tour is perfect for kids, and the temperature is a constant 52 degrees year-round, which is a good way to cool off on a hot summer day.
Suck it up for a two-hour spelunking tour that makes guests get on their bellies, with the Wild Cave Tours. This attraction takes guests to the deepest chambers of the Glenwood Caverns that not everyone gets to see, with some paths as narrow as 18 inches.
7. Above- and Below-Ground Views
Guests will tower above the land for views from the park as a soaring bird would see. Ranges of mountains and peaks are level in sight, and continue far and beyond with rivers winding through. The transition from above to below ground is chilling. The fresh air becomes cool and moist, the warm rays of the sun dissipate and subtle drips replace the chirping of birds. This “millions-of-years-in-the-making” environment features glistening soda straws, rippling cave bacon and brilliant rock formations.
Weather changes rapidly in the mountains and all rides are weather-dependent, including the gondola. A release of liability waiver is required of all guests to sign before enjoying the rides.