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Pictures of Teeth-Chattering Visit to the Royal Gorge in Colorado

I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).

The photo was taken years earlier by my husband when he was still a teenager on vacation with his mother at the Royal Gorge.

The photo was taken years earlier by my husband when he was still a teenager on vacation with his mother at the Royal Gorge.

The Royal Gorge

Remembering our teeth-chattering visit to the Royal Gorge outside Canon City, Colorado, in the wintertime many years ago, one might think that warmer days might be more enjoyable. I would be one that would agree with that assessment!

My grandparents liked to travel around the United States, and from their tales of having seen the attraction, it was of interest to me to someday see The Royal Gorge of Colorado for myself.

That opportunity presented itself many years ago, for which I am happy. So when the time came for a visit, the weather was not going to impede that action.

Royal Gorge in Colorado

Royal Gorge in Colorado

Zebulon Pike

A United States explorer by the name of Zebulon Pike discovered the Royal Gorge in 1806. He must have been amazed when he first stumbled upon this location!

The Arkansas River has been carving its way through this area for centuries. What has become known as The Royal Gorge is an impressive sight indeed! Mountainous cliffs frame the dramatic dropoff to the active river some 1,000 feet beneath their more lofty heights.

At times the Arkansas River can be slow and more sluggish with icy chunks on its surface as we saw it as compared with other times of the year when it is racing and offering rafters the time of their life in navigating the rapids.

World's Highest Suspension Bridge

Construction of this world's highest suspension bridge over the Royal Gorge took place in 1929. The bridge is statuesque in its posturing over the Arkansas River below. It has since lost that status, but the Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge was the world's highest for over seven decades.

Situated 1,053 feet above the Arkansas River, it is an engineering marvel. The Royal Gorge Bridge is 1,260 feet long (384 meters) and 18 feet wide (5 meters.)

The construction of a walkway using 1,292 wooden planks took place, and it originally cost $350,000 to build. The intent was never for it to be the main transport for motorized vehicles, although vehicles can cross it, but more of a tourist attraction and that it has indeed become.

Renovations lasted from 1982 to '83 and cost more than eight times the original construction price. The new engineering can now safely host hordes of tourists who wish to experience its lofty height amidst a spectacular setting for a long time into the future. That is reassuring!

Anyone afraid of heights might want to bypass walking out onto this suspension bridge. Or, if walking on it, keep gazing at the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the distance instead of peering downward.

Deer at the Royal Gorge

As one can easily see from these many photos taken of wild deer roaming the area around the Royal Gorge, these animals are abundant in their presence at this site in the winter.

We found out from people who managed a store on site that these deer truly rely upon people to help feed them during the winter when their natural food sources are less easily attainable due to snow blanketing the ground. They told us that the grocery stores and restaurants in the area never let their excess produce go to waste. They use any excess to help nourish these deer until they can more easily gather their food.

Whether that is the right thing to do or rather to let nature take its course is another subject entirely. Suffice it to say that this gathering of hungry and rather people-friendly deer becomes an attraction in itself.

We had a few crackers in the car with us that were gobbled up by the first deer approaching us. Measures to keep the deer out of the convenience store take place. They would love to walk right in and help themselves to offerings on the shelves!

Leaf lettuce and carrots were among our offerings, and foolishly I thought that we could pull off one leaf at a time and feed many of the gathered deer in our presence. We were hoping to nourish some of the smaller and thinner ones.

Temporarily I forgot about "survival of the fittest" but was taught a quick lesson. Once the deer discovered our generosity, the biggest and strongest came to the forefront and snatched the entire head of lettuce from my grasp. A bit of a frenzy occurred, and we all retreated to the safety of the car.

That was foolish on our part, and we could have been injured had one reared up and used its hooves. Live and learn! After all, as cute as these deer appear, they are still wild animals and happened to be hungry ones at that. We fed the rest of them through our car window, although the treasured lettuce had already disappeared primarily into the stomach of that one dominant deer.

Incline Railway

Experiencing the incline railway was the teeth-chattering part of our visit! Ground-level, as one can see from the photos, snow was on the ground. It was also windy, but the sun shined brightly, and with our outer apparel, we were comfortable.

The Incline Railway was constructed in 1931 by the same engineers that worked on the suspension bridge, and it is another engineering marvel at the Royal Gorge. It has been taking people to the bottom of the gorge for decades now in assured safety.

There are backup emergency devices such as a diesel engine to use and also 19 manually controlled stopping devices that could be put into place if ever needed.

Like the Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge, the Royal Gorge Incline Railway is on the National Register of Historic Places.

One sits in a metal cage of sorts. It was icy metal the day we rode in it! A mechanical mechanism drives the string of enclosures holding tourists down a 45-degree steep incline to the bottom of the Royal Gorge and back up again. The descent progresses at a speed of three miles per hour.

As one goes down this incline of 1,550 feet (473 meters), one sees close-up views of the rock formations on this journey, which takes about five and a half minutes to complete one way.

Once down at the bottom, one gets a close-up view of the Arkansas River and the towering cliffs surrounding the river. The Arkansas River continues its scouring action, ever-deepening the gorge over time.

As my mother, niece, and I began our descent, few other tourists were doing the same. The view presented is spectacular, but as we descended lower and lower into the gorge, the temperatures dropped more than just a notch or two on the scale. Wishing that we had worn warmer outer clothing, there was nothing we could do but shiver and shake, trying to stay warm in that cold metal cage.

We did not linger at the bottom after seeing the chunks of ice on the Arkansas River but took the first returning cage lift back to the top and much warmer temperatures. It was so cold down there! I guess we were about as well prepared for that part of the Royal Gorge experience as we were in feeding the deer! Ha!

Afterthoughts

Would I do it again? Would I take a ride on the Royal Gorge Incline Railway? Absolutely, but in warmer weather. We would also use better discretion regarding how to act around the deer if they are still a part of the scenery at the Royal Gorge. One is never too old to keep learning!

The actual address of the Royal Gorge is 4218 County Road 3A, Canon City, Colorado 81215. The general location is about two hours south of Denver or about forty-five minutes southwest of Colorado Springs. The telephone numbers are 719-275-7507 or 1-888-333-5597.

Other Attractions at the Royal Gorge

There are 360 acres (1.5 km) of what is now a theme park at the Royal Gorge. These include such things as the following:

  • An Aerial Tram
  • The Incline Railway
  • The Royal Gorge Train is a 24-mile round trip journey at the bottom of the canyon along the Arkansas River.
  • The Royal Rush Skycoaster
  • Horseback riding
  • Petting zoo
  • Mule team wagon rides
  • Cliff Walk, and more.

Most of these things are available during spring, summer, and fall. During the winter, some of these attractions are more limited for obvious reasons.

I hope you enjoyed this post about our teeth-chattering visit to the Royal Gorge and that stupendous Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge in Colorado. If you are ever there, check it out for yourselves, especially if the weather is a bit warmer. It is a spectacular attraction and offers many things to enjoy.

Wonder what it is like whitewater rafting at the Royal Gorge?

Sources:

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 14, 2014:

Thanks Au fait,

I enjoyed your article as well. Happy to include your link here. ☺

C E Clark from North Texas on July 13, 2014:

Didn't realize until now that you had written an article about this too. And thank you for the link. Very much appreciate it.

I've given you 5 more stars, voted this up and BAUI, and placed a link to this article in my similar article on this subject, and will share with my followers. Also pinning to Awesome HubPages.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 27, 2012:

Hi unknown spy,

We did walk out onto that Royal Gorge suspension bridge but not all the way across it. I figure that if it has lasted this long, the engineering must be pretty good. The height would be a negative factor for those afraid of heights since it is the tallest suspension bridge in the world. Appreciate your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 26, 2012:

Hi Mary,

The engineering to achieve building the Royal Gorge Bridge must have been something! It would have been interesting to see it during the building stage! It is a dizzying height when looking down upon the Arkansas River. Thanks for your comment, votes and share.

Life Under Construction from Neverland on July 26, 2012:

Wow! Breath-taking view! But i think I wouldn't dare cross that bridge :) Too scared of heights :)

Mary Hyatt from Florida on July 26, 2012:

I have never been to Colorado; it's on my "bucket list". There is just NO way I would walk across that Royal Gorge bridge! I'm not fond of heights! I got dizzy just looking at the photos.

Thanks for the trip to this marvelous bridge. I can never figure out how in the world something like this is ever constructed in the first place.

I voted your Hub UP, etc., and will share.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 02, 2011:

Hi Don,

That is probably the safest thing to do as long as cars behind you see what you are doing. That is rather sad to hear that the deer are multiplying to that extent. It means that more of them will be competing for the smaller amounts of food readily available in the winter months and many may starve. Too bad about the lack of a camera at the right moment. Happens to all of us at times! Thanks for your comment.

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on December 02, 2011:

I think I have seen more deer in the last few years in Wisconsin than anywhere before. A few days ago we were driving down by the lakes in the town of Rome,Wisconsin and there were four young deer crossing the road. One had alrady crossed and the rest hesitated.I figure the best thing to do is just stop the car and wait. After a few minutes they all wandered across.I never have my camera handy at times like that.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 15, 2011:

Hello Pinkchic18,

The Royal Gorge Bridge is for certain an incredible place. Hope you get to visit there in person someday. Thanks for your comment.

Sarah Carlsley from Minnesota on July 15, 2011:

This looks incredible, I'd love to visit there someday!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 09, 2010:

Hi Tony,

The Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado really is a spectacular site. Glad you liked the pictures. The ride down to the Arkansas River REALLY got cold! Brrr!!! Of course we weren't wearing the warmest of clothing either. We were really happy to return to the surface again. Thanks for the visit and comment.

Tony McGregor from South Africa on December 09, 2010:

A really beautiful visit to a wonderful looking place. Thanks for the guided tour - and sorry about the chattering teeth!

Love and peace

Tony

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 11, 2010:

Hi barbergirl28,

The Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado will still undoubtedly be there when and if you wish to visit it in the future. It is quite a place!

Stacy Harris from Hemet, Ca on October 11, 2010:

I actually lived in Colorado Springs back in 2001... I worked on the Fort Carson Mountaineer as one of the staff writers. I was in the Army and therefore got to do alot of traveling. I remember one of the ladies I worked with did a piece on the Royal Gorge. These pictures are beautiful. I wish I would have taken the time to visit this place!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 11, 2010:

Hello again William,

You are probably correct in that bridges such as the one crossing the Royal Gorge in Colorado are unlikely to be built today. More pressing priorities with more limited funding and mountains of debt in the U.S. would keep things like this in the dreaming stages instead of becoming reality. Thanks for coming back and enjoying the views again. I agree with you about the "nerves of steel" comment.

William F Torpey from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on February 11, 2010:

I just had to come back for another visit, Peggy, to look again at the photos and videos. Somehow I think it unlikely a bridge like this would ever be built in today's America. It seems that folks decades ago had a more adventurous spirit than we do today -- or at least they had better priorities. That guy David Kirke, who bungee jumped the span, must have had nerves of steel.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 10, 2010:

Hello Tony,

Happy to hear that you enjoyed this peek at the Royal Gorge in Colorado. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Tony McGregor from South Africa on February 10, 2010:

What a wonderful place this must be! Thanks for describing it so fully and entertainingly.

Love and peace

Tony

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 29, 2010:

Greetings mimran,

The views of the Royal Gorge in Colorado are certainly great ones. Thanks for reading and commenting.

mimran on January 29, 2010:

WOW! It looks like some great hiking and views.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 17, 2010:

Hi habee,

It IS rather daunting to be that high up over Colorado's Royal Gorge on that suspension bridge. I did venture out a bit although not that far as it was a bit icy with the wet snow on those boards. Thanks for the comment.

Holle Abee from Georgia on January 17, 2010:

NO WAY would I get on that bridge!!!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 13, 2010:

Hello Greg Cremia,

I think that you will enjoy Colorado's Royal Gorge if you get to visit in person. Thanks for the visit and comment and you are most welcome.

Greg Cremia from Outer Banks on January 13, 2010:

This looks like another place to add to my bucket list. Thanks for sharing.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 08, 2010:

Hi David Alan Carter,

Those wooden planks were still a part of the Royal Gorge Bridge when we visited only there was snow on them as well. Quite an experience! Thanks for adding your memories to this hub.

David Alan Carter on January 08, 2010:

Oh, this brings back memories. Went there with the family when I was a teen. Rode the Aerial Tram, but the main memory is walking across that bridge. Wooden planks for chrissakes, and the whole thing shook when a car rumbled past. Somewhere out there about the middle, you did some serious bargaining with God. Thanks for the great article. --David

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 08, 2010:

Hello CMHypno,

Glad you enjoyed this look at the Royal Gorge in Colorado. It would look substantially different without snow and ice. Thanks for the visit and comment.

CMHypno from Other Side of the Sun on January 08, 2010:

Hey Peggy W, the Royal Gorge in Colorado looks beautiful if a bit chilly! Gorgeous photos especially of the deer!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 05, 2010:

Hello Nicks,

Instead of bungee jumping from the Royal Gorge Bridge they have that other attraction called the Skycoaster where people are strapped in and swing back and forth high above the Arkansas River. I believe the last video shows it. Thanks for the visit and comment.

Nicks on January 05, 2010:

Coloardo looks fantastic and the Royal Gorge Bridge awesome. Can you bungee jump off it?

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 05, 2010:

Hello ralwus!

Sorry about making you dizzy and wet while visiting the Royal Gorge. :-) Well...dry off now and enjoy this brand spanking New Year. Thanks for the visit and comment.

ralwus on January 05, 2010:

You have made me most dizzy and wet too. Great hub. I enjoyed the pictures. Happy New year! CC

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 05, 2010:

Hello agusfanani,

You are the first person to comment on all the deer at the Royal Gorge in Colorado. There were so many of them! In National Parks and other areas people are told NOT to feed the wild animals but at the Royal Gorge it was different and the deer readily knew it. Thanks for the comment.

agusfanani from Indonesia on January 04, 2010:

It's a great, informative hub Peggy W, yes it seems that animals everywhere around a tourism area also get benefit for their food supply from visitors.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 04, 2010:

Hi Candie,

Ha! Ha! So your Dad likes to make suspension bridges bounce. Has he ever been to the Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver? He could do a REALLY good job of making that one bounce and sway as compared to the more stable Royal Gorge Bridge.

Candie V from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure! on January 04, 2010:

Wow! Peggy!! Glad to know my memories of the Royal Gorge on right on target! If you go again, take me and I promise not to bring my father cuz he'll make the bridge bounce just for fun! (his not mine/yours)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 04, 2010:

Hello The Old Hack,

It is definitely cold at the Royal Gorge this time of year (winter for those that read this hub later). Cold in all of Colorado for that matter! The Royal Gorge truly is incredible to see no matter what time of year. Thanks for your visit and comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 04, 2010:

Hi Hello, hello,

Thanks for the virtual visit to the Royal Gorge in Colorado. It would be even more of an experience when the weather would be warmer...of course it would also be more crowded with tourists. Thanks for the comment.

The Old Hack on January 04, 2010:

Great hub. Looks like an incredible place and makes me feel cold just looking at it. Thanks for sharing.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on January 04, 2010:

According to those pictures and your hub it definitely was an experience. Thank you for sharing.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 03, 2010:

H bearclawmedia,

So happy that you appreciated this hub about Colorado's Royal Gorge. Happy New Year to you and thanks for the comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 03, 2010:

Hi Truth From Truth,

Yes, the view from the Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge is amazing! So high up and such a long way to the view below. What amazed me more than anything was the engineering feat of accomplishing building that bridge! Thanks for the comment.

bearclawmedia from Mining Planet Earth on January 03, 2010:

GGGReaaate - Great Hub mate! Loved the narrative and pictures this was like an on line Christmas movie. What a wonderful gift for the new year. Thanks Peg

Truth From Truth from Michigan on January 03, 2010:

The pictures are wonderful. The view from the suspension bridge must have been breath taking. Thanks.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 03, 2010:

Hi Candie,

The Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge still had the wooden planks when we were there. Wow! That would have been scary with a low guard rail!!!

Candie V from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure! on January 03, 2010:

The guard rail wasn't so high back then.. if I remember right the bridge was made of wood too. Part of me thinks it bounced a bit as you went over it. The tram wasn't there back then either, and I'm with you "No thank you!!" I don't do heights anymore!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 03, 2010:

Hi Micky Dee,

Hiking across the Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge high over the Arkansas River is certainly not the usual form of hiking but interesting for sure. Thanks for the visit and comment.

Micky Dee on January 03, 2010:

Looks like some great hiking and views. Thanks

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 03, 2010:

Hello sarovai,

Happy to have introduced the Royal Gorge in Colorado to you with the photos and descriptions. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 03, 2010:

Hi dahoglund,

You should write about your trip in the VW camper to Denver and wherever else it took (or did not take) you. Sounds like that would be an interesting hub! Thanks for taking a peek at the Royal Gorge via this hub and leaving a comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 03, 2010:

Hi Ethel,

Yes, the Royal Gorge is impressive and would be even more fun to experience when the temperatures are more moderate than when we saw it. Thanks for coming along on this visit.

sarovai on January 03, 2010:

Very nice to hear about this place with wonderful photographs.Thank u for sharing.

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on January 03, 2010:

Great travel piece. I've we went to Denver once in an old VW camper which itself was interesting. The vehicle never made it to the top of Pikes Peak. At the time I was hoping to find a job at the government printing office but nothing came of that.There are so many interesting things to see, I envy your travels.

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on January 03, 2010:

What an impressive place Peggy

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 02, 2010:

Hi Pete,

No way would I get on that tram! My husband and I took the one in Albuquerque and I was never so happy to disembark up at the top. Problem was, we still had to take it to get back down the mountain! At least the Incline Railway has many emergency stopping things put into place if something breaks. A cable breaking while one is dangling in a cable car...ugh! Rather not think about it! No mules, eh? How about the carousel horses? Ha! Thanks for the comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 02, 2010:

Hi Candie,

Thought that the poll was getting long enough. Ha! Oh well...better said in the comments anyway with more details about your family's visit to the Royal Gorge when you were kids. I would not lean way over the bridge either! At least the guard rail is nice and high. Thanks for the comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 02, 2010:

Hi William,

Yes, I believe they have added even more attractions since our visit there. Of course many of them would not have been operating in the dead of winter...so not absolutely sure. The Royal Gorge is quite a site! Don't blame you for not getting nearer the edge. It is a looooooooooong way down if a misstep would happen to take place. Thanks for the first comment.

Pete Maida on January 02, 2010:

It looks like quite a sight. I don't know about that tram, maybe I'd that. I don't trust mules.

Candie V from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure! on January 02, 2010:

Hey Peggy! For the first time (I believe) you don't have a 'have you been to the Royal Gorge'? category.. and I soooo wanted to mark 'YES'!! We went as kids (we lived in Denver at the time) and it was breathtaking! Dad and I leaned waaaay over the edge of the bridge. Wouldn't do that now!! No siree!

Thank you for the memories of a beautiful place!

William F Torpey from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on January 02, 2010:

Wonderful hub, Peggy W. When I was stationed at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs in 1957 some friends and I stopped near the bridge and walked toward the edge of the Gorge (the closest I could get was about 100 feet -- it was really scary!) We didn't try to go over the bridge, we were just headed for a local pub somewhere. It appears they've made a lot of tourist attractions. I very much enjoyed the information and the videos. Thanks.

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