Maybe you’ve heard about the Royal River Gorge, but are wondering once you get there what is there to do in Cañon City (pronounced like canyon). I sure was!
The truth is it’s a sleep little town and a great deal of the things to do revolve around the Gorge.
That being said, it’s a great stop for a night or two on a road trip of Colorado.
Top Things to Do in Cañon City, Colorado
Originally developed as a potential hub of commerce in 1860 thanks to it’s location along the Arkansas River, the city never really exploded the way the founders hoped.
What that means for us is a HUGE focus on the beautiful river and outdoor activities.
Royal River Gorge Park
I truly had no idea this was a place where we could in fact spend the day.
I thought we’d see the bridge, cool and move on! There is a small admission fee with a great visitors center that makes it easy to go through and understand what’s available (sorry not one of the many free Colorado things).
But there is in fact plenty to explore and fully take in the marvel of the Royal River Gorge Suspension bridge.
- Walk the bridge (a weird experience!)
- Watch the indoor film about the history of the park
- Enjoy a zip line across the gorge ($45)
- Ride the free gondola across the gorge
- Enjoy the large play areas designed for kids with things to climb on and a beautiful carousel
- Get your high flying thrills on with a swing over the gorge ($90)
- Or put in some work and go climbing on their Via Ferrata ($prices changing)
Having done the seriously awesome Zipline at the Broadmoor, we opted out of this short ride, but it’s clear people were LOVING the adrenaline rush.
Royal River Gorge Whitewater Rafting
Having never been before I was both excited and terrified for this experience.
There are a couple of different options for rafting, which will help tailor it to your experience level! We started with the Big Horn Sheep rafting that actually takes you close to the park, but does not go through it.
Once you raft through the park, you are heading in to more intense rapids and a full day of rafting.
Royal River Gorge Train Ride
This was on our list originally, but we opted for the rafting instead.
As you can see in the top photo, the train tracks run right alongside the river making for stunning views. In fact, if you do both the ride and the Royal Gorge Bridge you get a true idea of the scope of the canyon and the power of the water below.
Not actually a drive, but a great crushed gravel path that you can walk (or in my case run) along for 2 miles out. It winds along the river and takes you through at least 2 long tunnels and a number of arches.
It was absolutely gorgeous and we saw plenty of others on the trail, so you don’t feel secluded.
There is a good parking lot at the trailhead, but you can also take the paved path in from town if you’re looking for a nice long run.
Arkansas River Walk
I LOVE finding murals and this river walk has many of them on the underpasses. It made for some fun hunting to see what would be next.
We parked at huge park next to the Botanical Gardens and discovered as we walked up to the path that there was a also a great Frisbee Disc Golf course.
You’ll find a pretty flat path for a long run or a bike ride, to just have an easy day of exploring. Then stopping for a picnic at a park.
Feel like you need just a few more views before you head out?
There’s a short 2.6 drive you can take that’ s a ONE WAY road about 9 miles from the Royal River on the way in to the city which will provide some panoramic views.
This is a drive with sheer drops on each side, so know your comfort level before heading out. It has plenty of spots to pull over for great photos as well.
Looking for more Colorado Adventures:
- Birthday Ideas for Denver
- Best trails near Denver and Boulder
- Colorado Sand Dunes
- Things to do in Grand Junction
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