The place where adventures begin
The Royal Gorge Bridge & Park is more than just your average park. It’s an intricate part of Colorado’s history. While bridge construction was completed in 1929, the Gorge itself is millions of years in the making. No act of nature or mankind can stop the fun and excitement from happening for years to come!
The Royal Gorge Bridge & Park: Combining God’s Splendor with Man’s Ingenuity.
The Earliest Visitors
From stegosaurus to Sioux, the Royal Gorge has seen many kinds of visitors throughout its long history. Over 100 million years ago, dinosaurs roamed the Royal Gorge region, including allosaurus, comptosaurus, stegosaurus, and the mighty brontosaurus. Paleontologists have made fossil discoveries of these ancient species less than three miles from the Royal Gorge Bridge.
Many, many years after the dinosaurs lived here, the Native American Indians arrived, hunting and camping in sheltered canyons throughout this region. In fact, the Ute Indians, a mountain tribe, often wintered in the Royal Gorge to escape the wind and the cold. And a number of Plains Indian tribes, including Sioux, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Blackfeet and Comanche, followed buffalo herds down into the meadows in the warmer months.
When you visit Royal Gorge Bridge & Park, you’re following in the footsteps of prehistoric dinosaurs, Native Americans, and fearless explorers!
The Royal Gorge Railroad War
The Royal Gorge hasn’t always been as peaceful as it is now. Back in 1877, a war broke out over the rights to silver deposits along the Arkansas River. After months of dynamiting each other’s construction and exchanging bullets, two rival railroad companies finally brought in some hired guns.
The Rio Grande Railroad vs. the Santa Fe Railway
On one side, the Rio Grande Company, former Governor A.C. Hunt and his 200-man posse. On the other, the Santa Fe Railway, legendary gunfighter and U.S. Marshall Bat Masterson and his Kansas posse. Eventually, after a final six-month battle in the courts, the Rio Grande was named the victor.
Interested in more history? Visit our Plaza Theater & Historical Expo to see it come to life!
The Royal Gorge Fire
A phoenix story
On the afternoon of June 11, 2013, a wildfire started west of the Royal Gorge Bridge. Not long after, the flames jumped to the walls of the Gorge itself. All guests and employees were safely evacuated, but most of the buildings, rides, attractions and landscape surrounding the Bridge were damaged or lost in the fire. In fact, 90% of the 360-acre Park was destroyed, except our historic 1929 Bridge, which survived with only about 100 scorched boards (which have all been replaced).