Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is about three hours drive from Denver through a beautiful but mountainous route that ideally requires both a good car and an alert driver. We covered a large portion of the route after nightfall yesterday, when we had neither, forcing us to drive more slowly than we'd have liked. At one point in the journey the temperature fell to just above freezing, in sharp contrast to the daytime peak of 30°C.
The park has a very unusual policy of requiring all visitors to sign a liability release prior to using any of the rides. This document passes sole responsibility for any accident to the participant, no matter what the cause. In short, Glenwood Caverns does not want to be held responsible if shoddy maintenance on a ride causes injury or death. To the best of my knowledge the park has not had any major accidents, but if they ever do it will be interesting to see if this document holds up in court. Finding that out within the grotesque American legal system will no doubt generate substantial fees for a few lawyers.
Once the required paperwork has been signed, guests take a cable car from the ticketing area at ground level up to the park itself, which is located on top of a mountain. This journey takes about fifteen minutes, and as one might expect, the view is spectacular. The last minute or so of the journey is above the distinctive track of a Wiegand Alpine Coaster, one of about a dozen in the United States, which snakes its way back and forth across the mountain.
Our first stop was at the Cliffhanger, a ride relocated from the former Celebration City. The view from on board now is just a little better than the bare concrete parking lot in its former home, and the track handling is also noticeably smoother than before; one presumes some refurbishment was performed during the move. After a few laps we'd had our fill, and we relocated to the Wild West Express (#1916), also a relocation but in this case a new credit for me.
We had to queue for almost thirty minutes to ride the Soarin' Eagle, an attraction best described as a hybrid of a zip line and an inverted roller coaster. Riders here sit two across in a car that hangs from a cable, and though the ride is fun, it is far less thrilling than a more traditional zip line. We were much more taken with the Canyon Flyer alpine coaster, which was loaded with airtime, a rarity on this type of ride.
Our favourite attraction in the park, by several orders of magnitude, was the Giant Canyon Swing. I wrote earlier this week that Screaming Swing rides no longer thrill me that much, but this one broke the mould thanks to its unique location on the very edge of a steep cliff. Looking straight down well over a thousand feet from a thrill ride was an incredible experience, albeit not one I'd recommend for vertigo sufferers. We managed a total of six rides, and would probably have done more if we'd had time.