It’s been 15 years since Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park opened the Iron Mountain Tramway, providing visitors with a scenic lift to a mountaintop of fun.
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park recently marked a major milestone. In April, we celebrated our 15th Tramiversary! Check out this video with footage from opening day. Since opening, it’s been a remarkable journey, one that thousands of visitors have traveled with us, but that’s not the end of the story. We’re in the process of gearing up for exciting changes to come for the iconic gondola in Glenwood Springs.
A look back
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.
The view ahead
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!