Glenwood Caverns

Fairy Caves


Useful Information

Location: On top of Iron Mountain, just north of Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Tour starts at Glenwood Caverns Gift Shop & Museum, 508 Pine Street, Glenwood Springs.
Open: Park: Mid-MAR to mid-JUN daily 9-17, longer on weekends, Holidays.
Mid-JUN to AUG daily 9-21.
SEP to OCT daily 9-17, longer on weekends, Holidays.
NOV to mid-MAR Sat, Sun, school holidays 10-21.
For exact open hours see their website.

Cave Tour: continually starting 45 min after opening.
Wild Tour: Winter Sat 10:30, Summer Sat 10:30, 14:30. By reservation only, minimum age 10 years.
[2015]
Fee: Cave Tour: Adults USD 26, Children (3-12) USD 21, Children (0-2) free.

Wild Tour: Per Person USD 60.
Prices include park entry and cable car ride. [2015]
Classification:  Karst cave, Leadville limestone, (325Ma)
Light: electric
Dimension: A=2,164m asl, L=4,828m, T=11°C
Guided tours: Family Tour: D=120min, L=800m.
Wild Tour: D=2h, undeveloped cave parts.
Photography: allowed, mono-/tripods not allowed.
Accessibility: not wheelchair accessible.
Bibliography:  
Address: Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, 51000 Two Rivers Plaza Road, Glenwood Springs, CO 81601, Free: +1-800-530-1635. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
Last update:$Date: 2015/08/30 21:59:21 $

History

 
16-SEP-1895the Fairy Cave Company was formed, which constructed pathways, installed electric light and built an artificial tunnel into the cave.
1886Fairy Caves opened for the public.
1896electric light installed.
1910closed because of World War I.
1951additional parts were discovered by Colorado cavers.
APR-1998the Glenwood Caverns Company was formed.
MAY-1999reopened after 82 years, together with newly discovered and developed parts, and named Glenwood Caverns.
2011new exit tunnel started.
2013opening of the new tour.

Description

Todays Glenwood Caverns, named after the nearby town, has a long history as a show cave. At the end of the 19th century a part of todays show cave was already opened to the public. At this time the cave had the, somewhat pathetic, name Cave of the Fairies, which was later shortened to Fairy Cave. At the beginning of the 20st century the cave was closed, and it stayed closed for decades. The current owners state it was closed in 1917 because of World War I, but there are also indications that the cave probably closed for regular tours around 1910. At that time the entrance building and the cave were badly vandalized, with grafitti covering the walls of the building.

The cave was rediscovered by the new founded Colorado Grotto of the NSS in 1951. During the 1950s and 1960s the cave was explored and major discoveries made, like the extensive lower level of the cave with its huge chambers.

The cave shows many nice formations like stalactites, stalagmites and soda straws. Most impressing is The Barn, a huge chamber which is the one of the largest known in Colorado.

The new owners tried to earn a living on the cave and invested in various sights around the cave. 20,000 visitors per month give a good basis for further development and so an adventure park grows around the cave. Although this is rather annoying to cavers and cave lovers, it seems to meet a demand of the visitors. There is a cable car, which is called tram, and which brings visitors from the entrance to the park and cave. The entrance fee always includes the park entrance and the cable car, so you should probably plan at least half a day for a visit.

In 2011 a new construction was started, an artificial tunnel leading from the cave to a place close to the Visitor Center. Before the tour started at an entrance higher up and passed through upper cave sections to the socalled Lookout Point. From here the tour went back the same trail to the entrance. The second entrance allows a one way tour, from the upper entrance through formerly inaccessible parts of the cave to the lower entrance. This increases the capacity of the cave from 84 people per hour to around 400. Considering three-hour waits during peak summer periods, this development was a rather good idea.

Today two different show cave tours are offered. The Historic Fairy Caves Tour shows more or less the tour described above. King's Row Tour shows the chamber named King's Row, which is described as the most highly decorated cave room in Colorado! This tour has far more steps than the historic tour and the group size is restricted. Nevertheless, if you are fit enough, this is definitely the more interesting tour. If you want to see both cave tours, the park offers day tickets which include both tours.


See also


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