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The Royal Gorge is known as the Grand Canyon of the Arkansas River. The Royal Gorge Park, located just outside Canon City in South Central Colorado, is most famous for the suspension bridge which spans the gorge.Suspension Bridge It is the highest suspension bridge in the world, hanging 1053 feet above the river. The bridge is an engineering marvel, built in 1929 for $350,000 (today it would cost over $15 million.)You can either walk or drive across the bridge. The admission to the park includes rides on the incline railway and aerial tram, as well as walks thru a wildlife park and mountain man encampment. We spent about a half day in the park and really enjoyed the experience.




Incline RailwayThe incline railway is the world's steepest with its 45 degree angle. It takes you down to the river's edge through a narrow cut in the granite walls.






Aerial TramThe tram is the world's longest single-span aerial tram. gliding more than 1100 feet above the canyon floor, it offers great views of the bridge, the gorge and the surrounding Sangre de Cristo Mountains.



We also walked around the 10 acre wildlife park where there are Bison, Elk and Bighorn Sheep on display in their natural habitat. It was especially exciting to see a baby elk nursing.Nursing Baby Elk




Train thru GorgeThe next day we decided to take the train ride through the gorge. This is a really spectacular 2 hour journey all along the Arkansas River. It was interesting to view the bridge from the train - gave a good feel for the height of the canyon.Bridge over train




Skyline Drive After the train ride we decided to take the skyline drive that overlooks Canon City. This is a narrow, one way road along a rim 800 feet above the city. A little unnerving! It was built by convict labor in 1903.





Also in Canon City is the Colorado State Penitentiary. We toured the prison museum which is housed in the old women's prison. There are some very interesting exhibits in the old cell blocks about the history of the prison, including a major prison break and some of the methods used to put prisoners to death.CO State Penitentiary







To view more photos from this area click here: Royal Gorge Photo Gallery

After 3 days in Canon City/Royal Gorge, we drove over to Colorado Springs (about an hour away). There we visited Pikes Peak, the Garden of the Gods, and Seven Falls. Click here to learn about this area: Colorado Springs


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