Night Lights: A Holiday Tradition in Glenwood Springs
For a holiday that’s merry and bright, there’s no better place to be than Glenwood Springs, Colorado. The seasonal cheer begins this month with lighting festivities at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park and Hotel Colorado.
Like elves working hard behind the scenes, two of the most iconic attractions in Glenwood Springs—Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park and Hotel Colorado—are feverishly decorating for the holidays. Both are putting on the finishing touches to warmly welcome thousands of guests for a memorable start to the holiday season.
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park: Bright Lights and Big Fun
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park has been closed for nearly two weeks while employees scurry to string miles of colorful lights throughout the mountaintop theme park. The attraction reopens on Nov. 11, and on Nov. 19 Winter on the Mountain officially kicks off with live music, a giant Christmas tree playing favorite holiday tunes and multiple opportunities for children to visit with Santa.
Only Glenwood Caverns can compete with the night sky. At Christmastime the adventure park transforms into its own radiant galaxy atop Iron Mountain! This year, a new tunnel of lights will mesmerize visitors as they walk beneath a canopy of brilliant color. For years, the park has bedazzled trees, buildings and thrill rides with twinkle lights. What started as a tribute to the holidays has become a full-on extravaganza with a half-million decorative lights that turn the theme park into a magical winter wonderland for kids of all ages. The lighting theme continues underground. Take one or both cave tours to see spectacular cave formations in a whole new light this season.
For peak holiday fun, the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park also keeps the rides rolling. The Soaring Eagle Zip Ride lets riders feel the freedom of flying like a bird over snow-covered terrain. The Alpine Coaster is another winter winner. On this ride, guests take control of the throttle to speed down the mountain and race around curves. Other attractions that are a blast of fun in winter include the 4D Motion Theater and indoor Laser Tag Arena.
Hotel Colorado: Holiday Star of Glenwood Springs
One of Glenwood’s most anticipated holiday happenings is the annual Hotel Colorado Lighting Ceremony that takes place on Friday, Nov. 25, the day after Thanksgiving. The celebration takes place on Sixth Street in front of the hotel, with additional holiday activities inside and in the courtyard beginning at 3 p.m. Guests can visit with Santa in the Devereux Ballroom, pose at the photo booth in the Garden Room, view a live ice-carving performance in the courtyard and gingerbread house display in the Roosevelt Room, and listen to Symphony of the Valley performing in the Colorado Ballroom. Onstage outdoor entertainment starts at 6 p.m. followed by the countdown with Santa for a grand fireworks display at 7:05 p.m. from the Hotel Colorado bell towers.
The festive tradition got its start in 1893, the year Hotel Colorado opened. Because of its beauty and elegance, the hotel was nicknamed the “Grand Dame” of Glenwood Springs and no expense was spared to lavishly decorate the lobby and exterior for the holidays. Since then, the process has grown to include more than half a million lights adorning the hotel exterior, lobby, dining areas, banquet rooms and more than 60 decorated Christmas trees.
Over the decades, the hotel began to add new traditions. A truly sweet one started in 2010 with the creation of a large-scale gingerbread house near the suite at the northeast end of the hallway on the ground floor. Visitors were so charmed by the structure that the following year, Legends Coffee and Gift Shop became the focal point. Every year since, it has been transformed into a life-sized gingerbread house with 311 pounds of gingerbread and eight gallons of frosting. Constructing the giant gingerbread surround is a feat that takes a crew of four approximately one week to bake and build.
Other traditions are centered around special meals served in Hotel Colorado’s remodeled banquet spaces. These include a Thanksgiving Day buffet and Breakfasts with Santa in December, where families can enjoy a delicious buffet and children can tell the jolly old elf their Christmas wishes.
Brighten up your holidays in Glenwood Springs. Learn more and make plans to visit today!
Download the official Glenwood Springs Travel Guide