Royal Gorge

Canon City Travel Blog

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Royal Gorge Bridge

We were having equipment problems at work today, so I suggested we cut out early and head to Royal Gorge.  I got no complaints and less than an hour later we were on our way to Canon City.  It was about an hour drive from Colorado Springs.  I had been to Royal Gorge when I was little and I remembered the gorgeous pictures my parents took when we were there, so I was pretty excited to go see it again.  Especially now that I know more about geology.

So we arrive there, with thunderstorms threatening in the distance.  We had spent part of the drive arguing as to whether you can drive across the bridge or not.

Royal Gorge Bridge - 1989
  I didn't remember driving over it when I was little, nor did I remember much traffic.  But Brad was certain you could drive over it - why would you build the world's tallest suspension bridge and not be able to drive over it?  Why would you build a bridge that goes nowhere?  In the end, we were both sort of right.

It cost an arm and a leg to get in - $23!  All we wanted to do was go on the bridge, but you had to buy this super ticket that covers the bridge, a tram, trolley, inclined railroad and carosel.  We almost didn't go in, but we wanted to go on the skycoaster - the big swing thing.   A nice gentleman ticket taker understood our dilemma and gave us a VIP coupon for $5 per person!  Well then we felt obligated to go!  So we bought our tickets and decided to hit the skycoaster first.

view to bottom of gorge from tram
 

An almost full tram was waiting to cross the gorge, so we jumped on.  We didn't want such a full car, but the next one came in 20 minutes and it turned out that being the last ones on gave us a great view at the door!  I don't remember the tram being there the last time, so it was fun.  The view of the bridge was pretty nice, too.  Next stop - skycoaster! 

We had to walk through a little zoo on top.  We joked about the altitude that deer turn into elk must be at least 6800 ft because there were elk up there!  There was an albino bison, too.  And moose - I mean, bighorn sheep.  We got to the skycoaster and were a little disappointed that it doesn't raise you up very high, so you don't swing out very far over the gorge.

Royal Gorge and Arkansas River from tram
  Again, we got the VIP tickets because we told the ticket taker we were going to do the skycoaster, so we felt obligated to do it.  But we wanted to anyway.

We watched the couple in front of us go.  They were very nervous and reluctant to go, especially the guy.  It was comical, but annoying because we wanted to go!  They had trouble getting hooked up and pulled back.  They were scared to hang in the harnesses above the platform.  Finally they go up and scream the whole time.  Well, not the whole time.  Then it was our turn!  We had no problems getting hooked up and pulled to the top.  When they said release, I pulled the cord and we swung down.  The fall down was a little scary because we were rushing straight down towards concrete.

Tram over the gorge
  But then we swung out over the gorge and got an amazing view.  It was beautiful.  What an awesome place to be flying through the air.  I couldn't get enough of looking at the rocks and river far below.  They have these things at the state fair, and I've wanted to go on it, but now I probably won't because you can't top that view.  Who wants to fly over a bunch of fairgoers?  Wow.  What fun, just that feeling of flying through the air.  I love it. 

It ended all too soon, and people in line were asking if it was scary.  How do we answer that?  Both of us have been skydiving multiple times and Brad's been bungee jumping.  So, no, it wasn't scary for us.  But for them?  They'd probably be scared, but how would we know?  We walked back over the bridge and I took my picture by the Wisconsin sign.

Rafters and train!
  I included my original picture from 1989 (I'm the one on the right).  It was mostly pedestrian traffic, with a few cars and the trolley.  The bridge would shake a little every time something drove over.  The view down was mesmerizing.  Brad wanted to bungee jump off it, but I think I might have been a little scared for that. 

The bridge was completed in 1929 and the Arkansas River is 1053 ft below the bridge.  Crazy.  That would be a really long bungee jump.  I'd be afraid the cord would break and that is a really long way to fall.  I'd much rather fall out of an airplane 14,000 ft up. 

Since we paid for the tickets, we decided we better make full use of them and took the inclined railroad down to the bottom of the gorge.

Me by Wisconsin sign - 2007
  It was really steep and we couldn't see much from the cars.  We got the back car, so at least we could see back up the tracks.  The bottom didn't have much there - a small gift shop with a ton of hummingbirds.  If you looked way up, you could see when cars drove over the bridge when the light coming through the cracks in the wood was blocked.  Scary - I don't like being able to see through the cracks on a bridge. 

There is an old water pipeline made from wood that served some town until the 1970s.  Crazy.  Now it is falling apart and unused.  The brown river often carries whitewater rafting tours, but they had all passed already.  We saw some from the bridge above.  There is also a scenic train that goes up the gorge and passes through, but again, we saw that earlier from above.

Me (right) and my sister by Wisconsin sign - 1989
  Actually, at the same time we saw the rafters!  The line back to the top was really long, so we just sat on the wall and waited through about 4 loads.  Finally we got on.  The car practically stopped halfway up.  Something about the counterweights being off or something.  We also noticed how great the rocks looked for climbing.  We probably could have climbed to the top faster that it took the train.  Or at least had more fun getting up.

By the time the train finally got to the top, we were tired, so we left.  I get sick on carosels, so we skipped that.  Maybe if I had paid full price I would have ridden it ;)

jennjeff1 says:
Posted to Bridges of the World TB Group at:

http://www.travbuddy.com/groups_home.php?id=847
Posted on: Jun 29, 2008
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Royal Gorge Bridge
Royal Gorge Bridge
Royal Gorge Bridge - 1989
Royal Gorge Bridge - 1989
view to bottom of gorge from tram
view to bottom of gorge from tram
Royal Gorge and Arkansas River fro…
Royal Gorge and Arkansas River fr…
Tram over the gorge
Tram over the gorge
Rafters and train!
Rafters and train!
Me by Wisconsin sign - 2007
Me by Wisconsin sign - 2007
Me (right) and my sister by Wiscon…
Me (right) and my sister by Wisco…
Skycoaster - going up
Skycoaster - going up
Weeeeee!
Weeeeee!
Okay, not actually us, but we did …
Okay, not actually us, but we did…
View down canyon towards tram
View down canyon towards tram
Looking down bridge
Looking down bridge
Info sign
Info sign
View out inclined railway
View out inclined railway
View up the incline railway tracks
View up the incline railway tracks
Me at bottom of gorge
Me at bottom of gorge
Arkansas River
Arkansas River
Incined Railway
Incined Railway
View up at bridge
View up at bridge
Upriver
Upriver
Canon City Sights & Attractions review
The Royal Gorge Bridge is the world's highest suspension bridge. The bridge spans the Arkansas River 1053 below. The rocks in the gorge are composed… read entire review
Canon City
photo by: kingelvis14