Calling All Dare Devils 

Photo: Santa’s Workshop

Photo: Santa’s Workshop

Colorado’s Mountain Thrill Rides Await Your Skills

By Natasha Lovato

Rain, snow or shine, there is always a new adventure around the bend, literally. Zoom down a mountainside in these Colorado coasters or jump on another thrilling ride this summer. These high-altitude adventures will rock your summer bucket list.

Santa’s Workshop in Cascade

For more 60 years, Santa’s Workshop has been bringing fun to generations of visitors. With roller coasters, a tilt-a-whirl, merry-go-rounds, slides, mazes, magic shows, reindeer feedings and of course, visits with Santa himself, there is something for all ages at this Colorado mountainside theme park. 

“The Ferris Wheel is our most popular ride. We just did a total refurbishment and rebuild last year and it is like a brand new wheel,” said Austin Lawhorn, Santa’s Workshop marketing coordinator.

The view from atop the wheel overlooks the vintage park and the rolling mountain landscape, a view you can’t forget. 

Photo: Cave of The winds

Photo: Cave of The winds

Cave of the Winds Mountain Park in Manitou Springs

Since the first cave tour in 1881, Cave of the Winds has been open for adventure. In 2009, the Above Ground Adventures was built. One of the more popular rides is the Terror-dactyl, which consists of two people being strapped into a seat and free falling up to 150 feet and nearly 100 mph before being pulled back to the launching point. Dependent on weather, the park is open year round in an impressive combination of natural wonder and thrill rides. 

The Aspen Snowmass Breathtaker Coaster

Located mid-mountain on Snowmass and accessed via a gondola ride, the Breathtaker Coaster takes riders through a gorgeous alpine forest at a thrilling speed.

“The Breathtaker Coaster is open in both the winter and summer months, so in terms of best time, it really depends on what you are looking for because it’s great in both seasons,” said Tucker Vest Burton, Aspen Snowmass public relations manager. 

The Breathtaker Coaster features a 5,700-foot-long track with a total ride time of up to nine minutes. The coaster spans 410-vertical feet and the speed is controlled by the rider. There’s a tandem option for small children. 

Steamboat Outlaw Mountain Coaster

Depending on the setting you’re looking for - the vibrant, emerald green or snow-covered valley - the Outlaw Mountain Coaster is open for both summer and winter scenarios. 

According to Loryn Kasten, Steamboat Resort director of communications, the Outlaw Mountain Coaster is the longest mountain coaster in North America, which is certainly something to experience. 

Photo: Vail Resorts

Photo: Vail Resorts

Vail’s Forest Flyer Mountain Coaster

The best time of year to visit this wild ride is during the summer for a maximum experience. Guests can purchase an Adventure Pass, which includes access to all the possibilities, including Eagle’s Nest Tubing, the Holy Cross Adventure Course, the Bungee Trampoline, Paramount Peak Climbing Wall, Gore Creek Mini Golf and more.

Winter Park Alpine Slide

Summer is the perfect time to take a trip down Winter Park Resort’s Alpine Slide. The slide is completely user operated, which means each rider can go as fast or as slow as they please.  

“We’ve got a slow lane and a fast lane for those who want a nice leisurely ride and for those who want to see how fast they can make it down,” said Steve Hurlbert, Winter Park Resort director of public relations and communications.

Rocky Mountain Coaster at Copper Mountain

This year-round mountain thrill ride can reach up to 25 mph. But the Rocky Mountain Coaster isn’t the only thrilling choice at Copper Mountain. With tubing in the winter and a ninja obstacle challenge in the summer, there is something exciting at all times. 

Photo: Purgatory Resort

Photo: Purgatory Resort

Inferno Mountain Coaster in Durango 

Open all seasons, the Inferno Mountain Coaster track is 4,000-feet long with 300 feet of vertical drop, nine switchbacks and one 360-degree loop. Cars can roll up to 25 mph but the rider remains in control while using a handbrake to control the speed.

And as a bonus, “the valley offers fantastic views,” Purgatory Resort Marketing Coordinator Laura Haidet said. “Fall is a particularly nice time as the track winds through the aspen stands, which are usually blazing in late September.”

Photo: Royal Gorge Park

Photo: Royal Gorge Park

Royal Gorge Park- Canon City

Known for the massive suspension bridge 956 feet above the Arkansas River, there are other heart-stopping adventures to be had at this natural wonder. The Aerial Gondolas, Cloudscraper Zip line, Royal Rush Skycoaster and children’s play land offer a day full of fun overlooking the Royal Gorge. 

Breckenridge Alpine Coaster

Take a scenic ride on the Gold Runner Alpine Coaster at Breckenridge. Ride alone or with a friend on the two-seater coaster cars as you soar down 2,500 feet of elevated track throughout the year. Control your own speed through the turns, dips and twists adjacent to the ski runs.  

Castle Rock Adventure Park

Although the zip line tour is the most popular experience, according to the Castle Rock Zip Line Tours staff, there is more to offer year round between the EPIC Sky Trek, EPIC Adventure Tower and Ninja Warrior Course. A great place for the whole family, plan an all-day experience to capture the spirit of the park. Whether you feel like hiking the trails or testing your strength in the Ninja Warrior course, there is something enjoyable for everyone. 

Photo: Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

Photo: Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs

The sky is the limit at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park where you’ll experience rides that take thrills to new heights at 7,160 feet above sea level. Open year round, depending on weather, this theme park is only reachable by gondola, which is half of the fun. At the top, experience the Haunted Mine Drop, the Alpine Coaster, the Giant Canyon Swing, the Soaring Eagle Zip Ride, the Cliffhanger Roller Coaster and the Glenwood Canyon Flyer. And if you still need an adrenalin rush, check out the mazes, 4-D rides and a tour through the caves.