Colorado's mountain peaks get a lot of attention, but there's a whole other world to experience underground.
From ice caves in Rifle to the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, here are some of our favorite caves and caverns on the Western Slope.
If you’re looking for an adventure the whole family will love, the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is an excellent choice.
There are two caves inside Iron Mountain, and the Funday Pass grants visitors access to both tours. According to their website, King’s Row is dubbed the “most highly decorated cave room in Colorado." Do you get a little claustrophobic? No need to worry with this tour; the tour explores mostly wide-open underground rooms. The Historic Fairy Cave is equally stunning, and the 40-minute tour will take you on a quarter-mile-long underground journey through narrow, winding passages. The Funday Pass also includes unlimited turns on rides and attractions.
Cave tours are available all year long, even in the winter, but be sure to book in advance. You can learn more and purchase tickets here.
For many, this state park is an all-time favorite attraction on the Western Slope. Visitors can explore several small, undeveloped caves near the base of Rifle Falls.
The falls can be reached via a paved .1 mile trail, and from there, you’ll want to follow the Coyote Trail. This 1.5-mile trail winds along Rifle Creek, and that’s where you’ll find the caves.
This park is located to the north of the state park and features several expansive shelter caves along the side of a limestone canyon.
The park is popular during winter, especially when water runoff forms the aptly named Ice Caves. These stunning turquoise formations can usually be seen from December to March. Access is via Koeper’s Trail, which is close to the entrance of the park.
This is the longest cave in the state, with a surveyed length of nearly 15 miles of tunnels. But, it’s an adventure that’s only suited for experienced cavers.
A locked gate guards the entrance. To access the combination, visitors must contact one of the individuals listed on this page. You’ll be asked about your equipment and will be required to sign a liability waiver.
Additionally, all trip leaders must have been on at least one previous trip to the cave with a qualified caver.
There are also seasonal restrictions due to the bat colonies that live inside the cave. Visitors are still welcome, but only if they are advanced spelunkers.
Visiting Groaning Cave requires some preparation, but it’s well worth the effort for skilled cavers.
Before you visit one of these natural wonders, make sure you’re prepared with these tips:
Additionally, all visitors should follow these 10 Most Important Trail Etiquette Tips. No matter where your outdoor adventures lead, we must all do our part to protect these special places for future generations.