Travel Series: Glenwood Caverns

All pictures by Jihane Rodriguez (me) Copyright 2015.

For those who don’t know, I make stone jewelry. I mostly use quartz and amethyst, but I am also quite familiar with other gems/stones. I am not an expert, but I adore working with this precious gifts from mother earth. That is why as soon as we decided to come to Colorado for the holidays my mind and heart had one location set: Caverns! Nature is my temple, I simply love and cherish anything nature related (hence working with wood and stones before) I have always wanted to explore a cavern in the USA.

Glenwood Springs was originally known as “Defiance”. Defiance was established in 1883, a camp of tents, saloons, and brothels with an increasing amount of cabins and lodging establishments. It was populated with the expected crowd of gamblers, gunslingers, and prostitutes. Town Founder Isaac Cooper’s wife Sarah was having a hard time adjusting to the frontier life and in an attempt to make her environment somewhat more comfortable, persuaded the founders to change the name to Glenwood Springs, Colorado, after her beloved hometown of Glenwood, Iowa.

It reminds me of that TV series Hell on Wheels if you haven’t watched it I seriously recommend you do. I learned a lot about the United States railroad system and the way it was built.

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Glenwood Springs in 2015 was awarded both as the most vibrant small town arts environment in the United States by SMU and the 5th Best Place to Live in America by Outside Magazine. It was also named the “Most Fun Town in America” by Rand McNally and USA Today in their 2011 Best of the Road Rally contest.

Glenwood Springs was also known to be one of the first places in the United States to have electric lights. The original lighting was installed in 1897 inside of the Fairy Caves in Iron mountain. Later on, a dam was built in Glenwood Canyon providing water for the Shoshone power plant. The plant began producing power on May 16, 1909.

Speaking of Fairy Caves, if you come by this charming town you have to make sure you  make time to visit the caves. You take a short ride up the iron mountain in a gondola  that takes you all the way to the top. At the top of the mountain, you find a small play/dine area and the entrance to the two caves; The fairy cave and the King’s Cave. A tour guide is required to enter the caves, and no food or drinks are allowed.

visit for more park info: http://glenwoodcaverns.com

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The Fairy Cave  got its name due to the “dancing lights” the lanterns would make on the cave ceiling and the King’s Cave which is smaller but impressive with a huge “barn-like” room and 125 steps down (and 125 up) to the most beautiful rock formation at the very end. I do not have all the geological information so I am just going to show you pictures and let it be.

From the Fairy caves tour (first set of pictures) you also get the chance to come to an open space that gives you a breathtaking view of the valley. You can only get there through the fairy cave passages. Both caves are kind friendly and no special gear is required.

*Note: not for those scared of heights.*

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The fairy cave tour lasts for about 40mins, and the King’s Cave is shorter maybe 20mins depending on how big your group is and how fit you are walking up those steps on the way back up. Afterward, you can enjoy other rides during different seasons. I think the only other attraction open was the Alpine Coaster which we didn’t ride.

The Alpine Coaster will race you down 3,400 feet until you gradually come to a gentle stop. While you are pulled back up the 1,000 feet to the starting point, you can relax, enjoy the surrounding wildflowers, and think about your next rip-roaring trip down the mountain!

We only got to walk around the little “town” area and shop around at the store/coffee shop before heading down to Glenwood Springs downtown. Overall it was an amazing experience for both little and big explorers! my 10-year-old learned more about geology and rock formation during this tour than he ever has from any book or school class.

#visitColorado, for more pictures visit my Instagram @onixjihane or simply search for #visitcolorado #coloradolive

xoxo

Jihane

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