HELLO EVERYBODY! It's felt like forever since we've written a blog post, and it feels SO good to be back! We took a pretty long hiatus there for a while, but now that theme park season is back in full swing we are more ready than ever to get RideorDine back up and operating.
Since we were gone for so long, we figured we should come back with a bang and post a trip report about one of the most unique and exciting parks we've been to: Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park! Located in Glenwood Springs, CO, this mountain-top amusement park is truly a one-of-a-kind experience. The park features cavern and cave tours, numerous thrill rides, and (of course, our favorite) excellent food! We do have to warn you, though. If you're not a fan of heights or are prone to altitude sickness, you may need to skip this one. While we absolutely LOVED Glenwood Caverns and fully believe that everyone should experience it, we can also recognize that it is not for everyone. I mean, the park makes you sign a waiver before even entering, so that should tell you something. BUT, please don't let any of that discourage you. If you're unsure or are on the fence about this one, lean toward the side of DOING IT! Because it is absolutely worth it!
Since this park is located on top of a mountain, the first step when arriving is to take the Iron Mountain Tramway all the way up. And yes, I mean ALL. THE. WAY. UP! The ride feels like it lasts a lifetime which can be a bit nerve-racking, but if you focus on the amazing views and take fun pictures along the way like we did, you'll be okay!
Once you get to the top, you really get to begin the fun! The tramway is an attraction all its own, but it's nothing compared to some of the rides that this adventure park has to offer! The park offers wristband options which get you admission to the park via the tram, unlimited rides, and/or unlimited cave tours. We opted for the ride wristband since we were pressed for time when we were there, but we'd love to return and explore some of the caves eventually.
The first thing we did upon entering the park was head straight for the Alpine Coaster. This was my first time ever trying a coaster like this. I'd seen videos online, so I had an idea about it, but I was a bit nervous.
Of course, Parker was ready to go and excited, so I had no choice but to get ready! Although I was a bit scared at first, once I was out there, I had a blast! For anyone unfamiliar with an alpine coaster, you are strapped into a small car like the one above. You have controls on the side of your car that let you control your speed as you race down the track on the side of the mountain. I loved the fact that Parker and I got to ride in our own cars and control our own speed. (I didn't want to hold him back from going too fast, and I knew I definitely wanted to take it a bit slower). The views and scenery during this ride were so incredible, you almost forget that you're on a thrill ride at all. This was definitely one of our favorites!
Next we checked out the Soaring Eagle Zip Line. This one may look familiar to a lot of people since they feature it in many parks across the country. (Usually for an up-charge) Of course, once again, the views come into play here. Everything is prettier on top of a mountain!
One of the other extreme highlights of this park is the Giant Canyon Swing. If you can manage to keep from shutting your eyes on this ride, you'll get to enjoy absolutely breathtaking views. 1,300 feet up + 50 mph swing off the side of a mountain = BRAVERY.
Of course the park also has to offer a classic roller coaster. The Alpine Coaster is fun and different, but if traditional coasters are more your style then you can check out Cliffhanger Roller Coaster. Although, at 7,100 ft in elevation, this is technically the highest coaster in North America, so I'm not sure how "traditional" that really is! But either way, it's a fun little coaster!
Now, the attraction we're most excited to tell you about! We definitely saved the best for last on this one! Not even a year old yet, is Glenwood Cavern's newest and most thrilling ride to date: The Haunted Mine Drop! A first-of-its-kind drop tower that instead of taking riders up and dropping them back down to ground level, STARTS at ground level and drops them DOWN- underground! This is hands down the most terrifying ride either of us has ever ridden. Although, I will say, a lot of that terror came from the unknown. Now that we've done it and know what to expect, it may be a little less scary!
The theming of the entire ride was very well done. Walking through the queue, you feel like you've entered an old abandoned mine with characters and screens along the way keeping you engaged. Once you get to your actual seats, you're strapped in and greeted via screen by ghostly miners that set up the true story of the ride. This is the perfect distraction from the fact that the floor just slid out from under your feet. Before you know it, you're plunging underground into a mountain! The drop was terrifying because it's dark, cold, and a total mystery. We had no idea how far we were dropping, or what would be waiting for us at the bottom. We won't give away any of the details of the actual ride (since that's half the fun), but just know that this is definitely one of the COOLEST rides you will EVER experience.
After an adrenaline-pumping day of thrill rides, you're bound to work up quite an appetite. Luckily, in addition to a snack shack and popcorn wagon, Glenwood Caverns has a full-service restaurant that offers great meal options with a view. The Lookout Grille offers burgers, wraps, appetizers, and more. They also have a feature that they offer which changes depending on the day or week. When we were there they were offering a home-made green chili (which if they ever bring back, we highly recommend).
On top of it all, the staff of The Lookout Grille (and the entire park, honestly) were SO nice and friendly. They made you feel right at home and they were genuinely helpful. We loved them so much we took a photo of them!
The food itself was also pretty good. We can tell that the park is trying to make an effort to heighten the food and beverage experience. We spoke with Bob Stepniewski, the Food and Beverage Manager, while visiting and he shared some of the history and future plans of the park. Glenwood Caverns originally started as a lookout restaurant on top of the mountain, and eventually transitioned into the adventure park that it is today. Having that restaurant background, it only makes sense that the park offers more than the traditional "theme park food" experience. Having those changing features and home recipes as an option is a great example of how the park is trying to break the mold on the industry standard.
We loved our meals, and we wished we had more time to try more. Hopefully we can get some desserts next time, because I was definitely eyeing up that menu!
And there you have it! Our full review of Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park! In case it wasn't obvious in our raving above, we LOVED this park! It was something totally different than any park we'd been to. It has exhilarating rides, an adorably friendly staff, and delicious food. And once again- THE VIEWS! If you find yourself in Colorado, definitely make a point to drive to Glenwood Springs for the day to enjoy this park. Just make sure to check their website ahead of time to make sure they're open and the attractions you're interested in are open as well. This is Colorado after all...on top of a mountain...weather definitely plays a huge role!
Let us know if you've ever been to Glenwood Caverns, and if not, do you think you could brave a park like this?
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Parker and Brittany Ruhmel- Lovers of all things food and theme park related!