There are so many fun and interesting facts about the Royal Gorge Bridge. From how it began, to all of its impressive intricacies, here are a few tidbits to remember the next time you’re exploring this Colorado wonder.
Construction of the bridge began in June 1929
The bridge was built in only seven months time
The original cost was $350,000 and $100,000 over budget
A total 1,292 wooden planks make up the length of the bridge
Original builders average wage was $.50 an hour
The bridge towers stand 150 high
The bridge is 18 feet wide
The original toll was $.75 per person
The park has attracted upwards of 30 million visitors since opening
The bridge held the title of the “world’s highest” from 1929 until 2001
The total length is 1,260 feet
The original aerial tram opened in 1969
Franklin D. Roosevelt visited the site during his campaign in 1936
Millions of years after dinosaurs roamed the land that is now known as Canon City and Fremont County, Lt. Zebulon Pike explored frigid Arkansas River region in the winter of 1806. John C. Fremont, famed pathfinder and once presidential candidate, arrived to the area in 1843 and returned for multiple expeditions finding the headwaters of the Arkansas River and finding the railroad route through the Royal Gorge, still available today.
One of 17 original Colorado counties, it was home to the first-drilled oil well west of the Mississippi. Today, travelers can experience many of the same staples that helped form the country and surrounding towns. From the natural beauty of the Royal Gorge, to the rushing white waters of the Arkansas River.
Popular hiking and biking trails include the Oil Well Flats, most well-known for the discovery of intricate dinosaur bones. One of the region’s newest trail systems, it is constantly being modified and updated. Shelf Road is also a choice spot for climbers and hikers. Agriculture is also very popular here with orchards, farms and fisheries.
Odes to Fremont can be found all over, whether wandering the stacks of books inside the John C. Fremont Library, or catching a glimpse of his 20-foot statue at the entrance of Pathfinder Park. Come discover the beauty and adventure that can be found in Fremont County.
Royal Gorge Bridge Park After Dark Concert
Underneath the sun of Colorado’s summer days and clear nights, performers, dancers and artists made their way to the scenic Royal Gorge region to show off their talents at the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park. From dance troupes to Nature’s Educators, days were packed with family fun and entertainment. As the early evening hours rolled in, the Elk Park Amphitheater lawn and seats began to fill with excited fans.
Country music’s finest didn’t miss a beat in July from singer, songwriter and actress, Pam Tillis followed by John Michael Montgomery. Early August brought more country chart toppers when Wynonna Judd and Diamond Rio delighted fans from all over with their famous lyrics and sounds. Ms. Judd made it a point to catch some thrills on the SkyCoaster.
Before Atlas Genius and Dirty Heads filled the final Park After Dark series night with hits, they had to ride the country’s highest zip line. It seems heights make even rock stars nervous. After playing their final sets, the guys decided they had to pull the cord on the Royal Rush SkyCoaster, in the dark.
Met with rave reviews from guests, the final Park After Dark series closed out with a bang thanks to amazing sponsors St. Thomas More Hospital, St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center, Penrose- St. Francis Hospital and Bristol Brewing Company.
The kick-off to summer is here and Canon City is in the spirit with festivals, live entertainment and all the adventure that Colorado has to offer. Here are a few ways to play in the region this Memorial Day Weekend.
Live Entertainment at the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park
Enjoy the sounds of Deja Bluz and Exit West and Out of Nowhere at various locations throughout the park. We’ll kick-off our Nature’s Educators series at the Elk Park Amphitheater where guests can get up-close-and-personal to birds of prey, reptiles and other animals. Find a full list here.
Bridge View BBQ opens for the season. Taste the hours that go into slow roasting delicious meats like pork, brisket and more. Classic sides like coleslaw, pasta salad and beans are sure to please your palate. Don’t forget to enjoy the view from our patio.
Rafting the Royal Gorge
It’s officially rafting season and Canon City is home to the best rapids in the country, whether you’re enjoying a family float, or an adrenaline rush down the river. Book with one of our amazing partners.
Create Canon City Day Balloon Classic
Enjoy great food, award-winning wines on the grounds of The Abbey and see the works of local artisans. Watch balloon launches, glows in the evening and even skydivers. Enjoy a great music lineup or participate in races. The kids can play in the Kids’ Zone. Stay in the evening for Balloon Glows and the Abbey Glow. The Create Cañon City Balloon Classic is open to the public with FREE Admission and FREE parking.
Halloween is just around the corner and there are a few extra visitors that wander around the Arkansas region after dark. Here are a few places you may bump in to them.
A resting place for dead prisoners
Greenwood Cemetery’s Woodpecker Hill
The bluff that sits above Greenwood Cemetery doesn’t hold the revered members of society. A resting place for dead prisoners, the wooden place markers that have been damaged by woodpeckers give the eerie spot its namesake. The spot holds the remains of the last man ever executed by a “Colorado-specific” designed hanging apparatus that would often decapitate its victims.
St. Cloud Hotel
This vacant 1888 hotel location is said to be the home of some playful ghosts. previous guests mentioned seeing the ghost of a young girl playing with a ball in the hallways as well as entities liking to play tricks on those staying there.
Museum of Colorado Prisons
The museum is rumored to have some lingering spirits in the form of cold spots and scents of phantom tobacco. Cell 19 is said to be haunted by a female prisoner who passed away there. Photographs have shown ghost orbs and the sound of coughing has come from the empty cell. Extra brave visitors can even spend the night if interested with hosted paranormal investigations.
Old Glendale Stagecoach Station
The 1861 eerie ruins of the old Glendale Stagecoach Station are said to be haunted by a “gray” lady Kathleen Cooper. Katherine was singing in 1877 when gold prospector Julian LaSalle first met her, and they fell in love. But Julian had business to attend to. She said she’d wait for him. He was robbed and murdered. She fell in to despair and finally died of a self-inflicted wound. It’s been reported she haunts the location in her wedding dress.