Exploring Royal Gorge


Exploring Royal Gorge
There are many majestic natural landmarks in Colorado but few can match the grandeur of Royal Gorge. This regal canyon sits just outside Cañon City and offers a host of activities for all. Along with many fun activities is the splendor of the gorge and many ways to enjoy the gorge. Royal Gorge is a great place to spend the day when visiting Colorado.

What is Royal Gorge?

Royal Gorge is a large canyon just west of Cañon City, Colorado. The Arkansas River sits at the bottom of the canyon. At its base, the canyon is 50 feet wide while at its top, it stands 300 feet wide. IT stretches for six miles while sporting a depth of 1,250 feet.

Royal Gorge Directions

Royal Gorge sits south of The Hotel St. Nicolas in Cripple Creek, Colorado. The trip is about 45 miles but will take about an hour to drive. To get there, take Teller County Road 1 for about nine mile before turning onto Teller County Road 11. Follow that road for about 23 miles before turning onto Colorado Road 9. After about 9 miles, you'll arrive at U.S. Highway 50, which you will follow for about a mile and a half before arriving at Royal Gorge.

The gorge is also about 54 miles west of Pueblo; 58 miles southwest from Colorado Springs; and about 145 southwest from Denver. 

Royal Gorge Bridge and Park

One great way to experience the canyon is through the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park. There's a lot of great activities including The Royal Gorge Bridge, Via Ferrata rock climbing, Royal Rush Skycoaster and Cloudscraper Zip Line. The park also offers gondolas and the Tommy Knocker Playland for children. There are also plenty of hikes near Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, allowing you to experience the canyon at your own pace.

The Royal Gorge Bridge stands 956 feet above the Arkansas River and is only open to pedestrians. The bridge spans the width of the canyon and offers spectacular views of the area. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The park is open year round but the summer months are considered the best time to visit. Tickets cost $24 for adults (13+) and $19 for children 6-12. To purchase tickets or to learn more about the park, visit its website

Royal Gorge Train

Royal Gorge Route Railroad offers a great experience for those visiting the canyon. It launched in 1998, seeking to recreate the historical experience of riding on the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. Riding on the trail includes a top-notch dining experience. There are four departures including breakfast, lunch and dinner trains as well as an afternoon train. There are also various holiday rides throughout the year. Ticket prices range and do not include dining options. For specific prices and information, check out the train's website.

Royal Gorge Ziplines

One of the more exhilarating options available at Royal Gorge Bridge and Park is the Cloudscraper Zip Line. Visitors can take the gondolas across the gorge from the visitors center before soaring back via the zipline. The zipline has you flying 1,200 feet above the Arkansas River. The cost is $48 per rider. 

Royal Gorge Rafting

The Arkansas River offers a bevy of opportunities to go river rafting through the Royal Gorge. There are numerous outfitters that offer rafting trips that will take you underneath the iconic bridge. The rapids are challenging and there is a lot of wildlife to see on your aquatic journey.

Royal Gorge's Via Ferrata

Another popular attraction at Royal Gorge Bridge and Park is the Via Ferrata. This is a newer attraction that allows visitors to hike and climb the granite walls of the Royal Gorge. Trained mountain guides lead the expedition, allowing visitors to experience unique and spectacular views.