COVID, wildfire can’t keep Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, Iron Mountain Hot Springs down |

COVID, wildfire can’t keep Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, Iron Mountain Hot Springs down

Glenwood Springs as seen from above looking south from the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is coming back bigger and better after enduring a year of pandemic closures, restrictions and a major wildfire.

Steve Beckley, owner of Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park and co-owner of Iron Mountain Hot Springs, said the company is still strong despite a dip in revenue in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We shut down before we were told to shut down. We were shut down for 85 days,” Beckley said of the initial spring business closures.

During that time, Beckley sent his staff home but kept them on the payroll.

“Some of it was covered by the Paycheck Protection Program (funds), and the other was covered by reserves,” Beckley said.

“We paid them to be at home. We didn’t furlough them or anything. That’s how we kept them. I think that they appreciated that we did that for them.”

The Adventure Park then shut down for another 13 days in August, its peak season, due to the Grizzly Creek Fire that came dangerously close to the park property.

Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon was also shut down for two weeks due to the fire, limiting tourist traffic.

“It still hurt us. We shut the hot springs down, too, because there was nobody coming into town,” Beckley said. “In 2020, we certainly didn’t make any money, and we lost money.”

Beckley said he’s hopeful that revenue will be back to normal by 2022.

Not all the rides have been reopened at the Adventure Park, including the Cliff Hanger Coaster, which Beckley expects to reopen sometime this year.

“We’re bullish and we’re going to be adding new attractions,” Beckley said.

A smokehouse is being added to the Adventure Park, where patrons can order chicken tenders, pizza, salads and burgers.

“You’ll order your burger then you’ll go to the grill and they’ll pick the burger off the grill and put it on your bun,” Beckley said.

Customers will order their food out of a side window. The additional smokehouse allows more people to be served at one time, Beckley said.

“We’ll still have the other food operation going, but it’ll just help with our capacity and help with social distancing,” Beckley said.

“Call me in another month, we’ll announce the new coaster we’re going to be putting in,” Beckley also teased.

At the Iron Mountain Hot Springs, capacity was reduced by 60% due to the COVID-19 restrictions. That capacity limit will likely remain.

“We’ll keep our capacity at a lower number and maintain reservations so people have a better experience,” Beckley said.

That means only 175 people in the hot springs facility at one time for 2.5-hour soaks. “So long as there are reservations available you can come in and make a reservation. That allows social distance in the pools and stuff like that,” Beckley said.

“We’re going to keep that reservation system.”

Beckley said the financial situation could’ve been a lot worse.

“I’m also on the Financial Advisory Board for the city … when this first happened in March we were forecasting 50 percent down in sales tax and it would be awful,:” Beckley said.

“We ended up down 5 percent. That just shows you how great a place we have and how resilient the city is.”


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