The Haunted Mine Drop is USA TODAY's Best New Amusement Park Attraction of 2017

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  • The Haunted Mine Drop is USA TODAY’s Best New Amusement Park Attraction of 2017

The world’s first underground drop ride, located in Glenwood Springs, Colo., earned the number one spot on the 10Best Readers’ Choice travel award contest. This is the second USA TODAY accolade for the Haunted Mine Drop, which was named one of the 12 Most Anticipated New Theme Park Rides of 2017 last February.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (Jan. 5, 2018) — The voters have spoken, and they chose the Haunted Mine Drop at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park as USA TODAY’s Best New Amusement Park Attraction of 2017. The Haunted Mine Drop, which opened in July of 2017, is the world’s first drop ride to go underground, dropping riders 110’ down—reaching 4Gs of acceleration—inside Iron Mountain in Glenwood Springs, Colo. It earned the number one spot on the 10Best Readers’ Choice travel award contest from a pool of 20 candidates selected by an expert panel made up of nationally acclaimed writers and editors covering the theme park, amusement and travel industries. The list included attractions from renowned parks including Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort, Six Flags America and Dollywood.

“I’m elated by this news. As a small, family-owned park, we were humbled just to be in the running for this award alongside such icons in the amusement industry,” Nancy Heard, general manager of Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, said. “To come out on top? Well, that just means so much to us.”

The Haunted Mine Drop, which was named one of USA TODAY’s 12 Most Anticipated Theme Park Rides of 2017 last February, maintained the lead spot throughout most of the four-week voting period. Getting out the vote was a company- and community-wide priority, with outreach through traditional and social media, email newsletters and word-of-mouth. Heard went so far as to send out daily email reminders to 300 people, and the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association and Glenwood Springs Post Independent encouraged community members to vote daily as well.

“This really is a tight-knit community. On numerous occasions, I encountered people around town who’d wave and let me know that they’d voted that day,” Heard added. “I’m so proud of our team at the park who worked with local construction crews, the ride designer Stan Checketts at Soaring Eagle and theming company Creative Visions to develop a world-class attraction that’s garnering national attention. Our true reward since opening day has been to hear our guests laughing and screaming on the ride, and to see their smiling faces as they exit.”

The ride experience begins in the queue as guests learn they’ve arrived for their first day on the job at the Glenwood Mining Corporation, which has just reopened after a grisly mining accident more than a century ago. Theming inside and out by St. Louis-based Creative Visions creates an old mine atmosphere, with a wood and rusted tin exterior and moving gear visible in the upper section of the building.

Once inside the building, the storyline continues with mining relics, vintage signage and video effects until the new employees enter the drop room where they’ll be lowered into the mine. A Pepper’s ghost, an illusion technique invented by Professor John Henry Pepper and English engineer Henry Dircks in the 1800s, appears to tell the real story behind the mine’s closing so many years ago.

The Haunted Mine Drop ride was constructed by Stan Checketts’ Soaring Eagle in Logan, Utah. Checketts has created some of the top thrill rides in the world, including the park’s cliffside Giant Canyon Swing and the Stratosphere Tower Big Shot in Las Vegas.

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is no stranger to USA TODAY’s travel awards. In addition to the two honors for the Haunted Mine Drop, the Giant Canyon Swing was named one of the 10 Most Extreme Theme Park Rides in the USA, Glenwood Caverns and the Historic Fairy Caves was named one of the 10 Best Caves and one of the 10 best Places to Go Underground, and the Alpine Coaster was named one of the 10 Best Roller Coaster Rides of Your Life.

More information about the park, including hours of operation and a list of which attractions are open, can be found at or by calling 800-530-1635 or 970-945-4228, ext. 0.


See USA TODAY 10Best list here:

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Mandy Gauldin



About Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

51000 Two Rivers Plaza Road, Glenwood Springs, CO 81601 | 800-530-1635 | | @GlenwoodCaverns |