Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado

I drove across Royal Gorge Bridge on the long ago longest Roadtrip of my Roadtripping career. The day before had been spent driving up Pikes Peak. The day after Royal Gorge headed in the direction of Carlsbad Caverns National Park, eventually making it to the second interesting bridge of this Roadtrip, that being London Bridge. And a hike down the Grand Canyon from the South Rim. Eventually ending up in Yosemite for the first time.

The Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge is pretty much a bridge to nowhere. It was built by the town of Canon City to be one of the tourist attractions in what amounts to being a theme park. Royal Gorge Bridge is the world's highest suspension bridge, hovering 1,053 above the Arkansas River.

In the Royal Gorge theme park you can ride the world's longest single-span Aerial Tram across the gorge. The tram travels 2,200 feet at 1,178 feet above the Arkansas River.

Traveling at a 45 degree angle Royal Gorge's Incline Railway is the steepest in the world. You ride it 1,500 feet to the canyon floor. When you get off the Incline you are hit with spray from the Arkansas River's Class 5 rapids.

Suspension bridges are designed to move a bit. Royal Gorge Bridge did some moving as vehicles crossed it. Walking across is a bit exciting for anyone with any degree of acrophobia.

Animals, like deer, wander around the park. For kids there is a carousel and the Royal Gorge Silver Rock Railway. For the really adventurous there is the Royal Flush Skycoaster, it being one of those bungee jump type things with a line attached to a tower that lifts you up high and then lets you swing. In this case you swing out 1,200 above the Arkansas River.

There are plenty of feeding opportunities at Royal Gorge, ranging from BBQ to Mexican food, to classic American fare to homemade ice cream.

There are several shopping opportunities in the park. Stryker Rich Trading Post is on the left before you cross the bridge. Royal Village Shirts is on the other side of the bridge. Colorado Country Shop is inside the Cliff Terrace. Eagle's Nest is outside the south side terminal of the Aerial Tram. Prospector Pan is at the bottom of the Incline Railway.

Tickets cost $24.00 for adults, kids 4-11 are $19.00, seniors are $21.00. You can get an annual pass. The admission ticket includes all park rides, shows and attractions, except for the Royal Flush Skycoaster and horse riding.

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