Just an hour away from Aspen, near Glenwood Springs, deep underground is the home to fairies, or so they say. It could be the flash of light upon pools of water, or the glimpse of fairy wings on the cave’s wall, or simply one more example of the magic hidden in and around the Rocky Mountains.
In 1895 Charles W. Darrow placed his homestead on top of Iron Mountain. Mr. Darrow had heard the rumors of Colorado gold, and hoped to find his own pot under the mountain; instead he found a 4 million year old fairy cave. Realizing the magic just beneath his feet, Mr. Darrow almost immediately opened his cave up to tours, lighting the cave and building walkways. His company, Fairy Cave Company was brought to life in late 1895. He also blasted a tunnel open 1,200 feet over the Colorado River, creating Exclamation Point. For about twenty years Mr. Darrow happily lead tours of his fairy cave, until World War I caused a pause in the tourism industry. Unfortunately, Mr. Darrow did not protect his fairy cave very well, and while it was silent, thieves and vandals crept in to steal pieces of Mr. Darrow’s fairy cave.
Finally in 1960 three members of the Colorado Grotto intervened and purchased the Fairy Caves. Together they rescued the Fairy Cave, and discovered an even more breathtaking room, The Barn, by secretly working through a previously undiscovered passage. This impressive room is more than five-stories high and filled with even more fabulous cave formations.
Although the Fairy Caves were now safe from vandals, they were locked and hidden from public view until 1999, when Steve Beckley, a student at the Colorado School of Mines and his wife Jeanne Beckley and Phil Kriz purchased the caves. Not only were they committed to sharing it with cavers, scientists and the general public, they were also interested in trying to restore the cave from the damage caused to it by dry air. Together they have brought the Fairy Cave back to life by restoring the proper humidity levels, installing airtight doors, and monitoring humidity, evaporation and temperature.
In addition to tours of the Fairy Caves, an entire Adventure Park has been built around them. Complete with roller coasters, a 4D motion theater, a climbing wall, a restaurant and snack shack, a visit to the Fairy Caves today is an all day event.
If you need a break from the bright, high mountain sun, or just a touch of magic in your summer, take a quick day trip to Glenwood Springs. A 70-minute tour of the Fairy Caves in the cool, moist air will give you a hiatus from the sun and heat. You never know, you may be one of the lucky few to catch a Cave Kiss, a tiny droplet of water falling from the cave’s roof, it is a sign of luck and a splash of 4 million years worth of history.
In every corner, nook and cranny of the Rocky Mountains there is magic and mystery waiting to be discovered. Come to Aspen and Snowmass Village and the Rocky Mountains, find your own fairies! Click here to see homes, residences and condos in truly the world’s most magical place!