Royal Gorge

Visit This Fantastic Attraction Near Cañon City Colorado

The Royal Gorge is situated near Cañon City Colorado. It is an amazingly deep gorge formed by the Arkansas River as it cut its way through the granite rock of Freemont Peak. In places the steep cliffs rise almost vertically to a height of 380 metres. (1250 feet)

In some places the bottom of the gorge is only fifty metres wide and through it races the swirling, icy waters of the Arkansas River. So narrow is the gorge at its base, that you would think that the river would completely fill it from side to side. Incredibly the famous Royal Gorge Railroad runs beside the river, "caught between the rock and a wet place!" Of all the Colorado train rides, this has to be the most dramatic.

The story of how the railroad was built through the gorge is one of high drama involving years of courtroom battles and gunfights

In 1929, the nearby Cañon City Colorado. authorised the building of a structure that was to make the Royal Gorge one of the most famous gorges in the world.

This was the Royal Gorge Bridge which was to be the the highest bridge in the world for 70 years.
It held that record until 2001 when several newly built bridges in China surpassed it.

To this day, the authorities in Cañon City Colorado own the bridge and the park area surrounding it. They charge a fee to enter the area, cross the bridge and enjoy all the other attractions.

The bridge was planned purely to provide an amazing view of the gorge and the Arkansas River, Colorado that flows a 1,000 feet below.
It`s just a very dramatic viewing platform, it doesn`t actually go anywhere!

The Royal Gorge Bridge was completed in 1929. When it was finished George Elmer Cole, the engineer and contractor, went on to start another project close by. This was a funicular railway up the side of the gorge. Opened in 1931 it climbs a distance of 473 metres(1550 feet) at a 45 degree angle.

This makes it the longest and steepest funicular railway in America. The journey from the rim of the gorge to the bottom takes five and a half minutes. The construction is so highly thought of that it is listed in the National Historic Register.

If you want a ride on the funicular - or incline railway as it`s more often known - the cost is included in your admission ticket to the park.
If you are planning a trip to the Royal Gorge bear in mind that during the winter off-peak season some of the attractions may be closed.

The bridge and the incline railway proved to be so popular that further attractions were planned and then built.
In 1969 an aerial tram was constructed. This is very similar to a cable car,
its thirty five passenger cabins travel across the gorge suspended from the wires.

A truly amazing view of the Royal Gorge Bridge is given to those brave enough to take the 670 metre trip from one side of the gorge to the other.

Also the Royal Rush Skycoaster has been added to the attractions. This is a swing ride that pulls you up off the ground and throws you out over the gorge. I`m told it is really thrilling - and it is safe, but you wouldn`t catch me on it!

Other things to see and enjoy include a theatre, concert pavilion, a zoo, miniature railway, various rides and a gift shop.

However, the main attraction, even after all these years, is still the bridge. You can drive vehicles across but it is mainly used by pedestrians. The swaying motion as you cross can be a little disconcerting! And ladies are recommended to wear flat soled shoes. The surface of the bridge is planking and heels may get caught in any gaps in the wood.

Like the New River Gorge Bridge in West Virginia, once a year BASE jumpers are allowed to legally make jumps off the bridge. An event called the Go Fast Games is held on the last weekend in September. You can also Bungee Jump if you have the nerve to step out into the void!

One of the greatest activities associated with the Royal Gorge is to take one of the Colorado whitewater rafting trips.

It can be a real adventure trip riding the rapids of the Arkansas River, Colorado as it rushes between the thousand feet high walls of the gorge! Whitewater rafting in Colorado has become extremely popular in recent years and there are a number of outfits in Cañon City Colorado that run Arkansas River tours.

Whatever it is you do when you make your trip here I hope you have fun!

If you are looking for exciting places full of history and fun, while you are visiting the Royal Gorge area, then I highly recommend the town of Cripple Creek
An old gold-mining boomtown, Cripple Creek just to the north of Canon City Colorado, is well worth a visit This great site will tell you everything you need to know about this historic town.

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