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Traverse City, Michigan
March 4, 2003
The Royal Gorge is located 12 miles west of Cañon City, CO, on US Highway 50 about an hour from Colorado Springs. Just know that oversized vehicles are not permitted on the bridge.
The park is open, weather permitting, from 10am till 4:30pm weekdays and 10am till 5pm weekends and holidays.
General admission price for the Park: $18 for adults, $14 for children ages 4 –11, and children under three are free. On weekends and holidays, you get a second ticket for half price. Weekdays (Bridge Only Pass): $10 for adults, $7 for children ages 4 –11, and children under three are free. For your convenience, VISA, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover cards are accepted, and an ATM is available at the Visitors Center. For more information check the Royal Gorge out on the world wide web Royal Gorge Bridge and Park. On the website, you can learn about the history, geology, and all facts about the construction of the bridge.
After parking your vehicle and securing your tickets, look for the shortest lines and go to that attraction first.
The Bridge. Walking across this bridge is a feat in itself. The wooden planks that make up the surface of the bridge have large gaps between them, and they rattle and bounce as cars travel over the span. You can stop at your leisure as you walk the bridge. Be sure to look through some of the larger gaps (see picture below taken through a gap) or over the side to view the Arkansas River, a mere 1,053 feet below. As the bridge sways, the planks rattle, and someone in your family nudges you as a joke, make sure your heart is still beating!
Once across the bridge, walk over and ride the Aerial Tram back over the Gorge. For a little added sense of security, find a place in the center of the tram. But I’d recommend getting next to a window and taking all the sites in, which are mostly down.
After the Tram, the Incline Railway to the bottom of the Gorge should be next on your list. Riding the incredibly steep railway to the canyon’s floor to view the raging Arkansas River up close and personally is definitely worth it. You may catch some rafters or kayakers trying to navigate the river.
A good alternative for those afraid of heights, is The Plaza Theatre and the 12 minute multi-media presentation which highlights all the attractions and bridge history.
Before leaving the park consider riding the train, eating at the Royal Grill or Cliff Terrace, and be sure to pick up a souvenir from the Gift Shop.
From journal CO Springs - Natural Beauty and Human Achievement
October 14, 2001
Welcome to the Royal Gorge of the Arkansas River.
Twelve miles west of Canon City, Colorado, and an hour’s drive from Colorado Springs, the gorge is a spectacle to be seen twice: once from the bottom and again from the graceful ‘Hanging Bridge’ above it. (The park that controls entry to the bridge also operates an inclined railway to the canyon floor, but seeing the gorge only from the small clearing at the lower terminal can’t compare to actually taking a train through it.)
This is an experience that needs to be described through pictures, not words. Suffice it to say that, when the legendary Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad carried passengers over the line, they named their train ‘The Scenic Limited’.
As passenger railroading lost its luster, and larger, stronger competitors swallowed up the Rio Grande, the Royal Gorge Route gradually lost its economic value. Not long after the special convention train pictured below ran, the then-current owners applied to abandon service and tear up the track. Fortunately, the State of Colorado bought the most scenic portion, and, with the help of the Canon City business community, brought the trains back in 1999. In summer 2001, there were three trains daily departing Canon City for the two-hour round trip through the gorge. For winter, mild in Canon City, there are to be one noontime departure every Saturday and Sunday.
Train fares are currently $26.95 adult, $16.50 for children aged 3-12. If you’re a serious train fan or photographer, you can ride in the locomotive cab for $95. (The company’s website says this option sells out rapidly.) For more, go to www.royalgorgeroute.com.
The park at the top of the gorge, of which the suspension bridge is a part, requires an admission of $16 adult, $13 per child older than four. This includes unlimited use of the bridge and buses across it, the inclined railway to the bottom of the gorge, the aerial tramway, a miniature train, and several other attractions. Warning: during my 1997 visit here, on a group tour, the lines at the inclined-railway station were too long for me to ride during the hour or so allotted for our stay. This is a popular place in summertime! Find current information at www.royalgorgebridge.com.
I wasn’t able to return to the Royal Gorge during my 2001 Colorado trip, but I’ve ridden trains through it twice and spent an hour or more photographing it from the top on earlier visits. I’ve GOTTA believe it’s still as magnificent now as it was then.
From journal Colorado Springs: Walking Through the Garden of the Gods