Due to my fear of falling the majority of this article is going to be written by LaBre. She was the only one of us brave enough to step out on the bridge. However, I did enjoy many aspects of the experience even though I was not able to venture across the bridge. First of all the drive was absolutely amazing. Just like much of the entire Colorado trip. I honestly do not think you can take a drive through an area of Colorado that is not breathtaking.
We were staying in between Woodland Park and Divide Colorado. This allowed us to take many county roads to get to the Royal Gorge Bridge. The drive in took us through what we believe to be ranchland. The properties seemed massive and we saw almost no houses for most of the drive. We only saw large mailbox areas located at the end of long winding driveways.
What really shocked us most of all were the cattle guards on the main roads. In many areas, the cows have the ability to cross the road anytime that they want. We really do not see things like that back home in Tennessee, so we thought it was awesome. All the while we were rolling through the hills and valleys. In some areas the mountains where stacked up and seemed to go on forever. This made us feel right at home, it was like seeing the Smokies laid out in front of us at times.
Now we both got a little nervous as we got closer to the location of the bridge. The road the leads you to the bridge has a few, well sketchy looking buildings that appear to have been there for a while. An abandoned ranch sits on the side of the road heading towards the gorge. This really made us both wonder what we were going to see at the site of the bridge. Thankfully the building you gain access to with admission was very nice. It had actually been rebuilt due to a fire that swept through the area years back.
Now while I did not attempt to cross the quarter-mile bridge that sits over 1000 feet about the river. It was still an amazing site to see. Being from East Tennessee we do not really have the opportunity to view a canyon of this magnitude. It was also neat to see the river below somewhat frozen due to the frigid temperatures of Colorado. The view from almost every angle was spectacular. Like nothing like I had ever seen before.
Now for my other favorite part. Since we drove in from the Divide Colorado side we were curious as to what the drive looks like if you are coming in from the Colorado Springs side. Well, it was just as amazing as our drive in, possibly even better. Canon City is a small town that you pass through on your way. After hitting the city limits we found it was a lot larger and nicer than we thought it would be. They had both a very nice downtown area and new things popping up all over the place. We wished we had a little more time so we could have stopped in and checked it out a little more.
Unlike our drive in, this time we didn’t drive through any ranches. Instead, we drove through what we viewed as the actual old west. I can not say that this is really an old west area. However, it really looked like a scene out of an old western movie. We thought it was great. It was far different than the surroundings saw during the rest of our trip. It honestly amazed us that you could drive just a few hours and feel like you are in a completely different place. I would almost recommend that you just set your GPS to take you into the park one way and out another. Just so you can experience all the different environments that Colorado has to offer.
I will turn this back over to LaBre. So she can tell you about what the park was like from someone who actually enjoys facing death at extreme heights. Okay maybe it wasn’t that bad, but in my head, that’s what it was like.
Okay, enough about the amazing drives there and back. Let’s talk about the real reason for the post. The Royal Gorge Bridge. This bridge was completed in 1929. Which makes it even more frightening for Justin. But also makes it all that much more exciting for me. Now There have been some modifications over the years and updates after a fire. So it is completely safe for both people and cars to cross.
This bridge was the brainchild of Lon P. Piper. His sole purpose for this bridge was to give people a view of the gorge. And I for one am very thankful Mr. Piper wanted us all to be able to see the gorge. Upon arriving at the Royal Gorge Bridge, you will enter the park through their visitor center and gift shop. After purchasing your ticket (or showing your ticket if you purchased online) you can check out their cafe and from there take a gondola to the other side of the gorge.
Due to Justin’s aversion to heights, we did not ride the gondola. I could have ridden it by myself but I decided that doing so would be too stressful on Justin and opted to explore the bridge only. As you walk up the bridge there is an overlook tucked to the right side that shows you where a train once took visitors to the bottom of the gorge to explore. Me just walking over there caused Justin to have to walk away in fear of watching me fall to my demise. Do not let his fear fool you though. Everything is well secured. The railings are, if I guessed, about 5 foot high so there is not any chance that I could accidentally fall over them.
Once I got to the edge of the bridge I noticed a little sign that said they had the names of each state along the bridge. They asked that you take a picture with your state sign and post it to social media with their hashtag, #RoyalGorgeBridge. I’d planned to just venture out to the middle of the bridge them come back so that Justin didn’t have to worry about me for longer than necessary. But they’d listed the states alphabetically starting on that side so I had to walk all the way to the other side to find Tennessee.
Along the bridge, they had more signs than just the ones for each state. They had signs noting different landmarks and events. While I was walking to the Tennessee sign, I had the pleasure of having two utility vehicles and a van drive passed me. This is the only time I was a little worried about the safety of the bridge. This is solely due to the fact that I could feel the bridge shake the entire time they were on it. Now that could have been because I was the only person on the bridge at the time. I’m not sure. It shook enough for me to remember I was suspended almost 1000 feet above the bottom of the gorge but not enough for me to want to go back to solid land. I merely stopped walking until the vehicles passed and then continued my journey across the bridge.
The Royal Gorge Bridge is not only the bridge and gondola ride but they have a theater on the far side that tells of the history of the bridge. They also offer zip lines across the gorge. Sadly Justin said I wasn’t allowed to ride it. They also have a sky-coaster and childrens play area. So it really is fun for the whole family. Well at least for all those that don’t have a fear of heights that is.
Thank you so much for reading!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post! If you find yourself near the Royal Gorge Bridge, I highly recommend you checking it out! I cannot say enough nice things about it! I only wish that BroLee or DadLee had been with us so that I could have stayed longer and explored the park even more!