CAÑON CITY — Need a little thrill in your life but you want to stay in southern Colorado? Here's some reasons why you should check out the Royal Gorge Bridge located just outside Cañon City!
Highest Suspension Bridge in the United States:
Built back in 1929, the Royal Gorge Bridge once held the title as the highest bridge in the world for 70 years! Losing that title to the Liuguanghe Bridge in 2001, the Royal Gorge bridge remains the highest bridge in the United States.
Standing at 955 feet, the Royal Gorge Bridge towers over the Arkansas River with a total length of 1,260 feet, which is just shy of a quarter mile. To give that a little perspective, the bridge would still be taller than the top floor of the Eiffel Tower by about 50 feet. The bridge was built in 6 months between June and November for a cost of 350,000 dollars. Adjusted for inflation, that would come out to a little over 5.2 million dollars today!
Royal Gorge Wildfire:
Back in 2013, a man made wildfire erupted west of the Royal Gorge Bridge. Soon after, the fire spread out of control, spreading across the park and even the gorge walls themselves for four days until the fire was contained. All guests and employees were safely evacuated, but 90 percent of the 360-acre park was destroyed, including most buildings, rides and attractions. The historic bridge remained mostly untouched, except for about 100 boards scorched by the flames. Rebuilding began about a week after the fire, with the ground breaking for the new visitors center happen just over a year later on January 31st, 2014.
What to do when you visit?
It's not just a bridge, there are tons of activities to do at the park, as long as you can handle the thrills!
One of the best ways to get a view of the bridge, park, and surrounding mountains is to take the aerial tram across the gorge! Standing even higher than the bridge at 1,200 feet, the tram will give you stunning 360° views as you glide 2,200 feet across the gorge. The ride is weather dependent and can close temporarily for the safety of the guests.
Want to ride across the gorge with a little more speed? Get a nice adrenaline kick on America's highest zip line, the Cloudscraper! State of the art harnesses and an advanced braking system give riders a hands-free ride 1,200 feet above the Arkansas River! A waiver must be signed before riding and the ride is weather dependent.
If you feel the need to get a little bit more up and personal with the Royal Gorge, give the Royal Rush Skycoaster a chance! Suspended by bungee cords with 1 to 3 people harnessed together per ride, the Skycoaster will launch you momentarily 1,200 feet over the gorge at a speed of 50 mph. Like most rides at the Royal Gorge, a waiver is required before riding and the ride itself is weather dependent.
Tommy Knocker Playground & Carousel:
Need something a little more tame for you and the smaller kids? Try going over to Tommy Knocker Children's Playground, or go get something to remember the trip in the air conditioned visitor center. Want a family photo to remember the trip by, try some scenic lookout spots like Point Sublime or Perimeter Point. More lookout locations can be found by clicking here.
Take the Train!
Want to see the Royal Gorge in style? Grab a train ticket on the Royal Gorge Route Railroad! Enjoy delicious food and drink with tremendous views as you are pulled through the gorge and under the bridge for 2 to 2.5 hours. More information on the train and tickets can be found here.
Take a Jeep Tour!
Another way to enjoy the Royal Gorge Bridge and the surrounding vistas is to book a tour with Colorado Jeep Tours! One of the most popular rides is the half day Royal Gorge Tour. Not only does your Jeep actually drive across the bridge, you'll climb 1,500 feet out of Canon City to the south rim of the gorge and eventually up to Fremont Peak to take in the stunning views! Click here to book a tour and find more information.
Share pictures of your trip with KOAA!
We hope we've given you at least a few reasons to go visit the Royal Gorge! If you do, please be sure to share pictures of the landscape and your trip by posting to the KOAA Facebook Page , or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.