10 Amazing Facts about the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park
1. It only took 7 months to build the Royal Gorge Bridge…
A team of about 80 brave men constructed the Royal Gorge Bridge in just seven months! Starting on June 5th, 1929, the men began building what would be at the time the world’s highest bridge at 956 feet above ground. The Royal Gorge Bridge was open to the public in December of 1929.
2. …and it was very expensive
The original cost to build the bridge was $350,000 and was reportedly $100,000 over budget. Current replacement costs are well over $20,000,000. Here are some quick stats on the Royal Gorge Bridge:
-The bridge towers stand 150 feet high.
-The bridge is 18 feet wide.
-The total length is 1,260 feet.
-Original builders’ average wage was $.50 an hour.
-The original toll was $.75 per person.
3. The Royal Gorge Bridge is the highest suspension bridge in America
The Royal Gorge Bridge currently holds the title of America’s highest suspension bridge, and is the 7th highest bridge in the world. It was officially trademarked as “America’s Bridge” in 2018 as an honor to American workers. While this bridge is not your typical roadway, the purpose of the Royal Gorge Bridge is to serve as a place for people to take in the timeless beauty of the geological phenomena that is the Royal Gorge.
4. A devastating fire damaged most of the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park
On June 11, 2013, the Royal Gorge Bridge withstood the devastating Royal Gorge Fire. While 90 percent of the park was destroyed, the Royal Gorge Bridge was only minimally damaged. One hundred wooden planks of the bridge were burned and needed to be replaced. The Royal Gorge Fire burned for five days. The flames ultimately scorched 3,218 acres and destroyed 48 of the 52 structures at the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park. Thankfully no injuries or deaths occurred from the fire, which is assumed by officials to be human-caused. The Royal Gorge Bridge and Park rebounded, rebuilt, and reopened to the public in August of 2014.
5. Yes, the Royal Gorge Bridge is very safe
If you’ve walked across the Royal Gorge Bridge, it is possible the thought of your safety came to mind. The construction of the Royal Gorge Bridge was led by Chief Engineer, George Cole, who designed the bridge to be impressively strong. The bridge can hold more than 2,000,000 pounds with its 100 tons of steel that support the deck. In 1982, the bridge was refurbished with new anchor cables, the abutments were updated, and a wind cable system was installed. The cable system is designed to allow the bridge to withstand up to 125 mph winds. A total of 1,257 wooden planks make up the length of the bridge, end to end. Approximately 300 planks are replaced each year.
6. Many iconic movies were filmed in the Royal Gorge Region
With our region’s vast landscapes, mountainous horizons, and the beautiful Royal Gorge, it is no surprise that dozens of iconic movies were filmed here. For example, western icon True Grit had scenes filmed in the Royal Gorge Region. Several of these movies included legendary actors such as John Wayne, Sam Elliot, Jane Fonda and more. Read more about movies filmed in the Royal Gorge Region here.
7. The Royal Gorge Bridge crosses a famous river
We can thank the Arkansas River for carving through the granite rock that has formed the Royal Gorge. This has taken millions of years and continues still to this day. The Arkansas River is the waterway you see from above on the Royal Gorge Bridge. The river is renowned for its fishing, rafting, and fresh Rocky Mountain water. It serves as a major tributary to the Mississippi River and is the 6th longest river in the United States.
8. Millions of people have visited the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park
We all know Colorado is a very busy state, but it is worth mentioning that nearly 30 million people from around the world have visited the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park.
9. You can have the ultimate Colorado adventure here
The Royal Gorge Bridge is one of our main attractions, but there is plenty more to experience at our park! We have 360 acres of enjoyment for families and visitors, including amazing views, thrilling rides, and a Via Ferrata. Our attractions include the Cloudscraper Zip Line, Royal Rush Skycoaster, and Aerial Gondola. The park also features a historic carousel, playland, and theater. The Via Ferrata tour is a one-of-a-kind adventure that lets you conquer the Royal Gorge by safely scaling its sheer walls. Our activities and breathtaking views offer the ultimate Colorado adventure.
10. The Royal Gorge Bridge is a Registered Historic Site
In September of 1983, the Royal Gorge Bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.