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Royal Gorge| The grand canyon of the Arkansas

 When we were planning our Colorado trip, one attraction we were particularly attracted to was the Royal Gorge in Cañon City. There seemed to be a lot to see...

Royal Gorge, Canon City, Colorado

 When we were planning our Colorado trip, one attraction we were particularly attracted to was the Royal Gorge in Cañon City. There seemed to be a lot to see and do at the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park. We were travelling with my ‘bestie’ and her family and it seemed like a great place to go to if you had some ‘company.’

We wanted to see the gorge, the suspension bridge over it (it used to be the world’s highest suspension bridge for several years), the aerial tram, the railway ‘along’ the gorge and the incline railway here at the Royal Gorge Park.

Now the biggest attraction here is the Royal Gorge itself, for me, at least. This gorge owes its being to the Arkansas River that trickled down from that part of the Rocky Mountains in central Colorado and decided to flow through this rocky surface. Today, millions of years later, this gorge is one to have a look into. It’s over a 1000 ft deep, said the person who manned the aerial tramway that took us to the other side of the gorge. What sets this canyon apart from its cousins in the United states is that it is not as wide as them. The Royal gorge is just about 40-50 metres wide and perhaps that is why it looks as precarious as it does. You should see this picture I took from a little gap in between two planks of one of the highest suspension bridges in the world!

Royal Gorge Bridge - one of the highest suspension bridges
Royal Gorge - the bridge
Now if you have no acrophobia, this is something to do on this really ‘high’ suspension bridge–peep down.
Royal Gorge
The sight down below — a pic from one of those gaps between the planks on the bridge.
You see the Arkansas river and the railway tracks that run along the river.

One of the first few things we did as we got to the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park was to take a ride in its famous Incline Railway. The cars of this railway are placed like steps and they go up and down an inclined path travelling at a 45 degree angle. As we waited to go on the trip to the bottom of the gorge, we happened to be the first in the line and so we had the privilege of getting into the first car at the bottom. And this gave us the best possible (the scariest. if you have a fear of heights) view of the trip down this steep track. In a little over 5 minutes we were at the lower end of the tracks where were got to get down and look up at the majesty of the Royal Gorge. While we were down there, we also got to see the Arkansas River up close.

We also saw the tracks that took the train along the canyon bed. Since it was a weekday and not exactly holiday season yet, the train was not in operation. That was pretty unfortunate but we were not really upset because California Zephyr did take us through some massive Canyons and we also got to drive through some of these rocky structures when we drove down from Denver to Aspen.

Incline Railway, Royal Gorge, CO
Royal Gorge’s ‘Inclined Railway’
Incline Railway, Royal Gorge, CO
Downward Bound!
The view from the Incline Railway, Royal Gorge, CO
All the way to the bottom of Royal Gorge.
The view from the first car of the Inclined Railway

After the ascent back up on the winch, we had a quick lunch and got into the aerial tramway that took us over the gorge. They call it one of the longest single span aerial trams. From this tram we could see the full depth of the gorge and the striking suspension bridge that connected the two sides of the canyon. From the quick chat I had with the gentleman who took us across, I learnt that the gorge was over a 1000 ft deep and over 2000 ft wide at the top, and that the cable car took 4 minutes to get to the opposite side of the gorge.

Aerial tram, Royal Gorge, CO
The tram is said to be 1178 ft above the Arkansas River.
And it runs a good 2200 ft to get to the other side of the canyon.

He also told us that he could take us back to where we came from or we could chose to walk over the bridge. We chose the latter option which was the 1270 ft long and 18 ft wide suspension bridge. On our way to the bridge we walked through a Wapiti Park which was made of enclosures that housed bisons and elks. We also had a quick look inside a Mountain Man camp.

 The walk on the bridge was a great experience.  There was more time — compared to the crossing on the cable car — to take in the surroundings and have a nice long look into the deep ravine. I’d also like to remind you about that peep through the planks of the bridge and the amazing view of the gorge down below and the Arkansas River that flowed through. Wait there’s one more thing you should experience while walking on this bridge — try to stay on it till a vehicle drives by. We stood by as an SUV came that way and wasn’t it exciting to feel one plank go down after the other as it passed by!

Royal Gorge Bridge, CO

 

If you are visiting in the peak season — you could take the train along the gorge, try zip lining across the bridge, even feel the adrenalin rush as a catapult throws you in the air — just above this deep gorge.
There will also be men in costumes in the Mountain Man camp to give you a history lesson or two about the ancient men who once lived in these areas and took refuge among these rocky structures when the strong winds blew past. By the way if you are there when the winds are doing what they do best, the tramway services might be suspended.

Royal Gorge history
A little Royal Gorge history
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66 Comments on this post.
  • genie
    16 November 2015 at 8:43 pm

    I love looking at the bright red tram, but there is no way in this lifetime I would get in that thing, Your pictures of the gorge and the bridge are impressive. I am glad you took them instead of moi.

    • dNambiar
      18 November 2015 at 12:46 am

      Hi Genie,
      That tram is quite a sight in that canyon. I understand the height might be a bit uncomfortable for a few people.
      Thank you so much, Genie. 🙂

  • Jackie Mc Guinness
    16 November 2015 at 8:43 pm

    This looks very cool!

    • dNambiar
      18 November 2015 at 12:47 am

      It is.
      And I can't get enough of places like this.

      Thank for coming by, Jackie.

  • Jane Hards Photography
    16 November 2015 at 10:09 pm

    I'd love to photograph from the red tram, but no way would you get me up there.

    • dNambiar
      18 November 2015 at 1:25 am

      Jane, I'm sure you get some fab photos too. 🙂

  • mick
    16 November 2015 at 11:14 pm

    Great photos of the gorge and all the attractions for visitors around there. However, I am quite happy to look at your photos and NOT to stress out my very poor head for heights!!

    • dNambiar
      18 November 2015 at 1:27 am

      I see you don't like heights too. I thought the tram and the railway were not too scary. I wouldn't do the zip lining there. 🙂
      Thank you for visiting, Mick.

  • Sallie (FullTime-Life)
    17 November 2015 at 4:39 am

    You are brave!

    • dNambiar
      18 November 2015 at 1:38 am

      Haha!
      You think so? Thank you.
      Thank you for coming by, Sallie.

  • Prasad Np
    17 November 2015 at 6:10 am

    Amazing place and never heard of it before.. that railway line does look scary but exciting.

    • dNambiar
      18 November 2015 at 1:53 am

      Amazing indeed. I love geographical features like this.
      The incline railway moves very slow so it's not as scary as it looks.

      The gorge is one to see, Prasad. The best view is from the bridge; when you look right down. 😉

  • Bikram
    17 November 2015 at 1:24 pm

    wow wow wowow .. and you did that excellentttttttttttttttt 🙂

    Bikram's

    • dNambiar
      18 November 2015 at 1:54 am

      It's a great place.
      But not the zip lining, eh. 🙂

      Thank you, Bikram. 🙂

    • Bikram
      4 December 2015 at 11:23 am

      hmm well next time do the zip tooo 🙂

    • dNambiar
      7 December 2015 at 4:58 am

      Hmm… I'll need a drink for that, I guess. 😉

  • Ruth Rieckehoff
    18 November 2015 at 2:29 am

    How amazing is this place! To be honest, I will be a bit scared because of the heights. But, I will take that tram anyway.

    • dNambiar
      20 November 2015 at 9:33 am

      It is.
      Ruth, it really isn't as scary as it looks.
      Oh yeah — the tram ride is so worth it. 🙂

  • Arun Prasadh
    18 November 2015 at 4:05 am

    The bridge and the gorge looks beautiful. Train track nicely captured.

    • dNambiar
      20 November 2015 at 9:33 am

      It is a very interesting landscape.
      Thank you, Arun. 🙂

  • Indrani
    18 November 2015 at 4:10 am

    This is one place I wish to visit some day.
    Thanks for these glimpses. Looks like good arrangements there.

    • dNambiar
      20 November 2015 at 9:36 am

      You are not confusing it with the Grand Canyon in AZ I hope.
      This is super cool too, as you can see.
      Thank you, Indrani. My pleasure. 🙂

  • RWorld
    18 November 2015 at 4:36 am

    Great to read, Amazing photos

    • dNambiar
      20 November 2015 at 9:36 am

      Thank you,
      Welcome here, RWorld.

  • rupam sarma
    18 November 2015 at 4:39 am

    Amazing photos, Great post

    • dNambiar
      20 November 2015 at 9:37 am

      Thank you so much, Rupam.

  • magiceye
    18 November 2015 at 6:55 am

    Wow!! Such an exciting trip!!

    • dNambiar
      20 November 2015 at 9:38 am

      It was.
      The landscape was the most exciting part of it. 🙂

  • Shrinidhi Hande
    18 November 2015 at 9:02 am

    Another item to my pending list …

    • dNambiar
      20 November 2015 at 9:38 am

      I'm already looking forward to reading about it e nidhi. 🙂
      You should see it.

  • Chaicy Style A Pastiche
    18 November 2015 at 10:03 am

    You shared some Truly beautiful pictures, I'm gonna add this one to my bucket list as well.

    xoxo
    Style.. A Pastiche! – styleapastiche.com

    • dNambiar
      20 November 2015 at 9:48 am

      Please do.
      If you love rocky formations, you will love this place.

  • Maitreni Mishra
    18 November 2015 at 5:42 pm

    Beauty at it's primitive best 🙂 Superb clicks dear!

    • dNambiar
      20 November 2015 at 9:48 am

      Thanks a ton, Maitreni. 🙂

  • Rajesh
    19 November 2015 at 3:41 am

    Cool trip and images justify it.

    • dNambiar
      20 November 2015 at 9:49 am

      Nice to hear that.
      Thank you Rajesh. 🙂

  • Rajneesh K Jha
    19 November 2015 at 5:22 am
    • dNambiar
      20 November 2015 at 9:49 am

      Dhanyavad, Rajneesh.

  • Leena Walawalkar
    19 November 2015 at 8:17 am

    Divya, you are crazy, girl! Wow, not just amazing shots, but the one you've taken through the gap is gorgeous!

    • dNambiar
      20 November 2015 at 9:52 am

      It's not as scary as it seems in the pictures, except maybe if you were actually crazy to look through that gap between the planks. 😀

      Thank you so much, Leena.

  • Sangeeta Reghu
    19 November 2015 at 2:32 pm

    Dee – Stunning shots !!

    • dNambiar
      20 November 2015 at 9:53 am

      Thank you, Sangeeta. Long time!

  • Rahul Bhatia
    20 November 2015 at 3:34 am

    Very enticing post Divya with beautiful pictures woven with equally fascinating write up!

    • dNambiar
      20 November 2015 at 9:54 am

      Thank you so much, Mr Bhatia.
      Haven't I missed you around here. 🙂

  • Ranjana’s craft blog
    21 November 2015 at 4:51 am

    You had all the fun! The steep train track looks exciting. But only five minutes ride :(. Photos are awesome!

    • dNambiar
      21 November 2015 at 3:34 pm

      I know — by then we get to the bottom of the canyon. 🙁
      Thank you so much, Ranjana. 🙂

  • R Niranjan Das
    21 November 2015 at 8:38 am

    Such a thrilling experience, Divya. Well written and captured.

    • dNambiar
      21 November 2015 at 3:36 pm

      Thanks Nomad.
      Another of those rocky destinations; totally my-kind-of-place, you see. 🙂

  • Parul
    21 November 2015 at 1:52 pm

    Wow! Absolutely loved your post, the description and the perfect pictures that made it so real for me. Loved the place and so tempted to put in on my list of places to travel 🙂 Thanks for sharing D.

    • dNambiar
      21 November 2015 at 3:36 pm

      Go ahead, Parul. 🙂
      Thank you so much, my dear girl. Have a fab weekend. 🙂

  • Alok singhal
    21 November 2015 at 5:02 pm

    At some parts it does look menacing, but then 'Darr ke Aage Jeet Hai 🙂 '. I am glad you took this trip and pictures, so we could get inspired to visit such places too!

    • dNambiar
      22 November 2015 at 4:51 am

      I swear it's not as scary as it looks. When you're there, you're probably going to be filled with awe, looking at the depth of the gorge and thinking about the work the river has been doing, there.
      Thank you so much, Alok.
      Have a great Sunday, you two. 🙂

  • Mike
    22 November 2015 at 4:01 pm

    Awesome! I was there many years ago – when it still was the highest suspension bridge! Didn't realize it no longer was. Great photos and glad you had a great trip.

    • dNambiar
      7 December 2015 at 4:46 am

      That must have been so cool.
      Too bad it isn't the highest suspension bridge anymore. Lovely views of the gorge from up there, right?

      Thanks a ton, Mike. Nice to see you here again. 🙂

  • Shweta Dave
    23 November 2015 at 3:54 pm

    super post D, peeping down the bridge looks scary and so does the car at 45 deg angle….the pictures and information is superb 🙂

    • dNambiar
      7 December 2015 at 4:48 am

      That was a fab sight from the bridge, it told us where we'd land should we fall. 😉
      And the ride in the inclined railway was fun.

      Thank you so much, Shweta. 🙂

  • NC Sue
    24 November 2015 at 10:33 am

    I'd be scared stiff on that bridge! These are great photos, though, and they allow me to experience a sense of the place without quaking in fear!
    Hoping to see you at this week's Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) :
    http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2015/11/chicago.html

    • dNambiar
      7 December 2015 at 4:51 am

      Actually the views are great so the fear would have to move to the backstage, I'm sure.
      Thank you Sue.

      Thank you also for the invite, I'll try to join in from next month on. I'm without proper internet these days.
      Thanks again.

  • joshi daniel
    25 November 2015 at 6:16 am

    that should be thrilling 🙂

    • dNambiar
      7 December 2015 at 4:53 am

      It was more awe-inspiring because of the views.

      Thank you for coming by, Joshi.

  • Mridula
    26 November 2015 at 6:05 pm

    Ziplining is certainly what I would like to do!

    • dNambiar
      7 December 2015 at 4:54 am

      Over that gorge?
      Brave girl!! 🙂

      Go Mridula! 🙂

  • Krishna/കൃഷ്ണ
    28 November 2015 at 4:35 am

    Great photos

    thanks for sharing

    • dNambiar
      7 December 2015 at 4:55 am

      You're welcome and thank YOU, Krishna. 🙂

  • My Unfinished Life
    28 November 2015 at 7:55 am

    Amazing place!! Great shots!!

    I am totally awed by gorges… it kind of puts us humans into perspective…how tiny we are in the scheme of things!!

    http://www.myunfinishedlife.com

    • dNambiar
      7 December 2015 at 4:56 am

      Thanks Sush. Long time eh! 🙂

      Me too — love places like this!! I swear, these destinations tell us how tiny we really are.

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