Last month on a visit to Colorado we had the opportunity to spend some time at Cave of the Winds Mountain Park in Manitou Springs. We had a great time!
We’ve visited many caves around the world including Karchner Caverns State Park in Arizona and Natural Bridge Caverns in Texas. So why you may ask would we want to visit yet another cave? After all if you’ve seen one cave you’ve seen them all, right?
Not so, every cave is unique, each one a natural wonder, and all are beautiful. Some feature rivers that run thru them like the Underground River in Palawan, others like Marvel Cave in Missouri have underground waterfalls, and all of them have unique rock formations.
Colorado’s Cave of the Winds offers 3 different tours making it easy for just about everyone to go on a cave adventure.
The Discovery Tour is an easy 45 minute guided walk thru the more “developed” part of the cave, no crawling involved.
The Lantern Tour for the more adventurous is an 1 1/2 hour tour that takes you deeper into the cave where some areas are lit only by lanterns.
And then there’s Caving 101, a 2 hour tour that takes one crawling and climbing thru the undeveloped parts of the cavern.
We went on the Discovery Tour, it was the only one we could take with 2 year old Jett. This is probably the most popular tour, groups leave every 20-30 minutes in the summer time.
This tour started at the meeting point by the Caver’s Café. Our guide led us to the cave entrance where we stopped to have our photos taken, you have the option to buy your photo at the end of the tour.
Chris, our guide, was very amusing and knowledgeable. He amused us with “cave” jokes while pointing out cave features as he walked us thru the different areas of the caves.
We pretty much got a crash course in caving. We learned the difference between stalactites and stalagmites. I always get them confused! Stalactites are the cave structures that hang down from cave roofs like icicles; stalagmites are the structures that rise up from cave floors. And when both structures meet and join you end up with a cave pillar.
He gave us a cool way to remember the difference, “watch out for stalagmites because you might just trip and fall over them”.
The sections of the cave system the Discovery Tour went thru were very developed. The paths were smooth and had handrails which you’re encouraged to hold on to for your safety. The only climbing we had to do was up and down some narrow metal stairs in some areas. We also had to duck when we went thru low passageways and squeeze thru a few narrow ones.
All of that was just part of the adventure!
At one point the lights were turned off and we experienced total cave darkness. Boy that was dark!
If you’re claustrophobic this may not be an activity for you. If you want to give it a try you can rest assured that should you feel uncomfortable at anytime during the tour someone will be called to escort you out of the cave.
We had a great tour. The 45 minutes went by very fast. Before we knew it we were back where we started and were exiting the cave. The tour exits by in the gift shop at the counter where you can view the photo taken at the beginning of the tour. Of course we had to buy our photo! In fact I purchased the thumb drive that also came beautiful stock photos. I think I paid $15 for it.
The Discovery tour cost $12 for kids 6-12, $20 for adults, and kids 0-5 are free. This is the only tour younger kids are allowed on. Kids 6+ can go on the Lantern Tour, and kids 13+ can go on Caving 101.
Click here for pricing and to reserve your tour!
Once you’re done with your cave tour you don’t have to go just yet. There’s more things to do at this mountain park.
If you’re into Extreme activities you can try out the Terror-dactyl. A free fall ride into beautiful Williams Canyon. You begin perched 200 feet above the canyon on the cliff edge and are launched off at 100 miles per hour.
This was way too extreme for us, but it did look fun.
This ride cost $50 and you must be 12+ years old, at least 48″ tall, and weigh between 100 – 250 pounds.
Check out the video I took in the gift shop![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
Or this one from the park!
For something not quite as daring try the Bat-A-Pult. Fly high along Williams Canyon on this roundtrip zip line attraction.
This attraction cost $20 for unlimited rides on the Bat-A-Pult and unlimited access to the Wind Walker Challenge. You must be at least 48″ tall, and weigh under 300 pounds.
The Wind Walker Challenge is a 3 story obstacle course for adventurous folks of all ages. The course is perched on the edge of the cliff and is equipped with steel beams, ropes, and ladders. The cost is included with the Bat-A-Pult pass I mentioned above. Course requirements are the same as the Bat-A-Pult. [spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
For younger kids and those of us who aren’t very daring there’s Time Freak a life sized arcade game that allows you to be part of the game and Panning for Gemstones. These activities were more my speed. Specially the Gemstones!
And then of course there’s eating and shopping, my two most favorite activities!
You can grab a meal or snack at Caver’s Café then load up on some cool souvenirs at Pickett’s Mercantile Gift Shop. We did!
A couple of things to remember when heading out:
Cave temperature is a constant 54◦ so dress appropriately or bring a light jacket.
Wear comfortable shoes, there’s a lot of walking.
If you going on the Latern Tour or Caving 101 be prepared to get your shoes and possibly clothes a bit muddy. For Caving 101 bring a flashlight or headlamp.
We had a great time at Cave of the Winds Mountain Park. It’s a great area activity for the entire family. You can spend half a day just like we did or make a day of it and try out their extreme activities!
I’d like to thank Diana Jones, Group Sales Supervisor for Cave of the Winds Mountain Park, for providing my family with guest tickets to the Discovery Tour. We had a blast!
Here’s a video we made of our cave tour!