The Cave of the Winds

The Cave of the Winds

The Cave of the Winds: A Journey into Colorado’s Underground Wonder

If you are looking for an adventure that will take you deep into the heart of Colorado’s natural beauty, you might want to visit the Cave of the Winds Mountain Park. This attraction features a variety of cave tours, activities, and experiences that will appeal to all ages and interests. Whether you want to explore the ancient formations, learn about the legends, or enjoy the thrill of the rides, you will find something to love at the Cave of the Winds.

The Cave of the Winds is one of the oldest and most famous caves in Colorado. It is located in Williams Canyon, a few miles northwest of Colorado Springs. The cave is estimated to be between 4 and 7 million years old, and the limestone rock that surrounds it is even older, dating back to 500 million years ago. The cave was formed by the erosion of the limestone by water and carbon dioxide, creating a network of chambers and passages that are decorated with stunning speleothems, such as stalactites, stalagmites, flowstones, and helictites.

The cave was first discovered by two brothers, George and John Pickett, in 1880, when they noticed a gust of wind coming from a crevice in the canyon wall. They crawled through the opening and found a large cavern that amazed them with its beauty. They soon returned with candles and ropes to explore further, and became the first known explorers of the cave. However, some legends suggest that the cave was known to the Native Americans long before the Picketts. The Apache tribe believed that the cave was the home of the Great Spirit of the Wind, and the Ute tribe camped and hunted near the cave entrance.

The cave was opened to the public in 1881 by George Washington Snider, a stonecutter from Ohio who came to Colorado in search of fortune. He excavated several passages and discovered more rooms, including the spectacular Canopy Hall. He also named many of the formations and features of the cave, such as the Bridal Chamber, the Devil’s Kitchen, and the Fat Man’s Misery. He began offering guided tours by candlelight, and soon the cave became a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike.

The cave has undergone many changes and improvements over the years, such as the installation of electricity, the construction of a bridge and a road, the addition of new tours and attractions, and the removal of graffiti and vandalism. The cave is now owned and managed by El Paso County Parks, which aims to preserve and protect the natural and cultural heritage of the site. The cave also hosts educational programs, special events, and scientific research.

The Cave of the Winds offers a variety of tours and experiences for visitors to choose from, depending on their preferences and abilities. The most popular tour is the Discovery Tour, which is a 45-minute guided walk through the main sections of the cave, suitable for all ages. The Lantern Tour is a 90-minute adventure that takes visitors to the deeper and darker parts of the cave, using only hand-held lanterns for light. The Caving 101 Tour is a 2-hour exploration that requires crawling, climbing, and squeezing through tight spaces, ideal for thrill-seekers and experienced cavers.

The Cave of the Winds also features several attractions and activities above ground, such as the Wind Walker Challenge Course, a three-story obstacle course that tests your balance and courage; the Bat-a-Pult, a zip-line that launches you over the canyon at 40 mph; the Terror-Dactyl, a ride that drops you 200 feet into the canyon at 100 mph; and the Via Ferrata Canyon Tour, a guided hike along the canyon walls using iron rungs and cables. These attractions are not for the faint of heart, but they offer an exhilarating and unforgettable experience.

The Cave of the Winds is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. The admission fees vary depending on the tour and the attraction, but they range from $23 to $49 for adults, and from $18 to $44 for children. The park is located at 100 Cave of the Winds Road, Manitou Springs, CO 80829. For more information, visit their website or call (719) 685-5444.

The Cave of the Winds is a must-see destination for anyone who loves nature, history, and adventure. The cave is a wonderland of geological formations and a treasure trove of stories and legends. The park is a playground of fun and excitement for all ages and interests. The Cave of the Winds is more than just a cave, it is a journey into Colorado’s underground wonder.

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