Build it and they will come

When the Iron Mountain Tramway officially opens for business on Saturday, Glenwood Springs will change forever, and it will change for the better.

The tram is a field of dreams come true for Jeanne and Steve Beckley and Chuck and Nancy Peterson of Glenwood Springs. The Beckleys have operated the historic Glenwood Caverns, located on the north hillside above Glenwood, since 1999. The four visionaries believed that a gondola would not only provide a more convenient and reliable way to bring visitors to the caves, but offer a spectacular view along the way.

And they had other brilliant ideas. A new Adventure Center has been built at the top of the tramway, along with the Exclamation Point restaurant and lounge, a gift store and 4,000 square feet of outside decks. Hiking trails will provide opportunities to explore in the summer and cross-country ski trails will be set in the winter. Long Eyes Observatory will offer stargazing for all ages.

The impressive tramway consists of eight gondola cars from Switzerland, 18 towers, a 1,360-foot elevation gain, a 65,000-pound motor room at the base and more than 200 computer points that monitor or control every aspect of the tramway, all at a cost of about $2 million.

But the Iron Mountain Tramway brings more to Glenwood Springs than views and access to the caverns. Visitors now have a wider range of activities to choose from and may extend their stay. Local residents will be able to lounge on the deck with their families at sunset, enjoying the magnificent vista.

This very special city already makes a good impression. We score points on location alone. Add in the famous Hot Springs Pool, a welcoming downtown, an abundance of recreational activities and the passion of a community that has grown closer in the aftermath of two devastating wildfires, and we have a winning combination.

Thank you, Beckleys and Petersons, for your vision and for following your dreams. You rose to the occasion, and lifted Glenwood up along the way.

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