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Cañon City, Colorado

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Skyline Drive Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge Royal Gorge Route Railroad, Canon City, Colorado
Red Canyon Road Scenic Highway 50


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SKYLINE DRIVE - A few miles west of Cañon City, Colorado, is the entrance to Skyline Drive, off Highway 50. It is a one-way, paved road that runs about 3 miles along an extremely narrow 800 foot high ridge and winds along following the crest of the Dakota hogback. In many locations the ridge is only as wide as the road, with sheer drops on both sides. Skyline Drive is open year round (weather permitting) but one must drive slowly and carefully!
Sometimes the road seems to disappear and drop off to nowhere, alluding to a sensation I can only describe as both scary and awesome.
"The Arkansas River has excavated much of the Tertiary piedmont deposits and cut deeply into the older Cretaceous marine rocks between Cañon City and the Kansas border. The upturned layers along the mountain front, marked by hogback ridges and intervening valleys, continue nearly uninterrupted around the south end of the Front Range into the embayment in the mountains at Cañon City". 1
I have the pleasure of viewing the Skyline Drive hogback on a daily basis since it is my backyard. See what I see each day in Photo 15 on the Skyline Drive Photos Page.

ROYAL GORGE - Visiting the Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge is a very popular thing for tourists to do. It is one of Cañon City's major outlying attractions. Not only is the surrounding landscape breathtaking, with the magnificent Sangre De Cristo Mountains within view, but the bridge itself is famous for being the highest suspension bridge in the world. And, the fact that it suspends over a steep and narrow gorge only adds to the awe and thrill of experiencing this combination of natural and man-made wonder.
So, just how high is this bridge? The bridge is over a quarter of a mile long and hangs 1,053 feet above the Arkansas River, which over time eroded this magnificent gorge.
Construction began on June 5, 1929 and was completed Nov. 1929and today it is listed on the National Historic Register.

The Royal Gorge area is a theme park with many attractions including the nearby Wapiti Western Wildlife Park. But, with respect to the bridge itself, there is much to do.
Visitors can ride the Royal Rush Skycoaster, a free-fall at up to 50 miles per hour towards the canyon floor below (definitely NOT for me), ride the Aerial Tram (world's longest single-span Aerial Tram), or take the Incline Railway car that descends 1,550 feet down to the Arkansas River, as the granite cliffs of the gorge surround you lead you.
And, of course, you can always walk or ride in your car across the bridge.

There is a train ride that leaves Cañon City and tours the Royal Gorge area, passing breathtaking scenery along the way. The train does not descend into the gorge the way the Incline Railway does, so the faint of heart may prefer to see the gorge in this manner. It is called the Royal Gorge Route Railroad and it takes passengers through 24-miles of unforgettable scenery, including through the gorge.

ROYAL GORGE ROUTE RAILROAD - The 1950's era train winds through the famous Royal Gorge in Cañon City, Colorado. "The Royal Gorge Route Railroad offers the best experience of the Royal Gorge on a breathtaking, 2-hour scenic and historic train ride on the most famous portion of the former Denver & Rio Grande Western train line".

SCENIC HIGHWAY 50 - Sangre de Cristo Mountains - The Sangres are fault-block mountains with faults running on both the east and west sides of the range, cutting through them as well. They are one of the longest mountain ranges in the world stretching from Poncha Pass, CO, in the north to Glorieta Pass, New Mexico, in the south and were uplifted about 27 million years ago.
Peaks reach elevation of 14,000 feet.
For more information visit Sangres.Com

1The GEOLOGIC STORY of The GREAT PLAINS by Donald E. Trimble, Geological Survey Bulletin 1493, United States Government Printing Office, Washington : 1980 - Back to Skyline Drive

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