Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado




Would you take a walk across the highest suspension bridge in the United States, that crosses a gorge 955 feet high above the Arkansas River in Colorado? A bridge that is only 18 feet wide, composed of wooden planks and spans 1,270 feet from one edge of the gorge to the other edge?   


(All photos will enlarge for easier viewing if clicked on)


If so, then welcome to the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park located in Canon City, Colorado!  The bridge was built in 1929, by Texan Lon P Piper, as a tourist attraction to give visitors a view of the Royal Gorge.


In my last blog post--click here to read--I showed you our visit to nearby Canon City and our ride on the Royal Gorge Railroad that travels below in the gorge along side the Arkansas River.  After the train ride we drove to the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park to visit this attraction. There is so much we want to see and do in our new state, and visiting the railroad and the bridge was high on our list, so we were happy to have a beautiful day to visit both attractions.

 Please click on to enlarge

If you visited this area before June, 2013, you might notice from my photos that many of the attractions that are part of the park look different. That is because there was a devastating wildfire in this area on June 11th, 2013, that destroyed 48 of the park's 52 buildings, plus the aerial tram and the funicular. Fortunately, there was no loss of life and the bridge sustained only slight damage to its wooden deck. The park was rebuilt for a cost of 30 million dollars, and had a grand re-opening in May, 2015. It now has a brand new Visitor's Center, Aerial Gondolas, Water Clock, and a new Cloudscraper Zip Line, which crosses the gorge on the east side of the bridge, the Royal Rush Skycoaster, a new Tommy Knocker Children's Playground, and a new Plaza Theater and Historical Expo


After we paid our general admission fee --some attractions have an extra fee--at the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park's Visitor Center, we took the included gondola ride, that traverses 2,200 feet across the gorge. We planned to walk back to the visitors center by walking across the bridge.  The views looking down the gorge from the aerial gondola were astounding!


If you take the gondola ride to the south side of the gorge, you will find the walk to the bridge an easy downhill trek with some beautiful views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range in the distance.  You also get more views of the deep 1,200 foot gorge.


The bridge and the incline railway were listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, and underwent extensive renovations between 1980-84 where new cable anchors and suspension rods were installed to stabilize it.


Usually there are no cars allowed to cross the bridge, except for an occasional car club that prearranges a scheduled ride.


My husband and I began our walk across the bridge feeling very safe.  It was somewhat windy, but the bridge felt steady and secure.

 Please click on to enlarge
There were interesting informational placards along the walls of the bridge to read--click on to enlarge.


We were visiting late in the afternoon, so there were not many people on the bridge, and we were able to take our time to look at all the sights.


We noticed there were small gaps between the wooden planks that line the bridge, and if you looked carefully you could see all the way down to the river below!


We could see the 100 or so new plank boards that had to be replaced after the wildfire. It was miraculous that the bridge survived when 90% of the surrounds burned!


The Royal Gorge Bridge is lined with all the 50 state flags of the United States, and my husband and I took photos of both New York, our original hometown state, and Colorado, our new one!


Our favorite thing to do on the bridge, of course, was looking down at the amazing views!   Click on the photos to see them enlarged to see the Arkansas River which begins near Leadville, Colorado and flows eastward all the way to the state of Arkansas and into the Mississippi River.


The river is estimated to cut the gorge lower one foot every 2,500 years.


If you click on this photo collage to enlarge it, you can see an engineering feat for the Royal Gorge Railroad below, called the hanging bridge.  In 1878 when the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad was building this line they found one portion of the gorge narrows to 30 feet width. The railroad would have to travel over the river at this point and a 175 ft plate girder suspended on one side by "A" frame girders spanning the river and anchored to the rock walls.



There were also other signs to see along the bridge walls. Bungee jumping is no longer allowed



Towards the end of our walk, at the north side of the bridge, we could see the new cables that now anchor the bridge, plus wind cables underneath. 


Visitors who traveled across the bridge before this work was completed in 1983 said the bridge would sway in high winds.  Now it feels very secure.


A placard explaining how the Gorge earned its "royal" name.


The ruins of the funicular--the incline railroad-- that once brought visitors to a platform at the bottom of the gorge.  It was damaged in the 2013 fire and as of now there are no plans to rebuild it.


We really enjoyed our visit to the Royal Gorge bridge and Park and all the sights we saw there. Now we are part of the many millions that can say they walked across the high suspension bridge in the United States!



Before I finish this post, I have to show my youngest grandson's recent 6th birthday party! He wanted to have a "cooking party" and so a young chef came to his house to teach my grandson and his friends how to make ricotta pancakes and a fruit salad, and also how to decorate their cupcakes. The boys really enjoyed eating their creations, and we had one very happy birthday boy!


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62 comments:

Villrose said...

Hmmm. I have got fear of heights!

Marleen said...

Bridges like this one always amaze me, they are ingenious structures! And I would love to take a ride with a gondola and enjoy the views. Your photos are beautiful!

Daniela said...

Oh my word, I'm feeling breathless after having watched the Gorge Bridge, ... I've never seen it before, what a grand work men have done !!!

Always amazed at your stunning shots, I'm sending blessings on your new week just begun, Dearest Pat, always grateful for what you share !

XOXO Dany

Tanna said...

Breathtaking!! And, I LOVE the "cooking party"!! How original is that! They are growing up so quickly! Have a wonderful week, Pat. blessings ~ tanna

eileeninmd said...

Hello Pat, happy belated birthday to your grandson. I would like to walk across this bridge. But, not on a windy day LOL. I am glad the place was rebuilt after the fire. Awesome photos, thanks for sharing your visit. Happy Monday, enjoy your day and the new week ahead!

Elizabeth Day said...

I found you on Amaze Me Monday and so glad I did. I enjoyed my return visit with you to the Gorge after having been there many years ago. Such an amazing sight. I was glad to see there is no longer bungee jumping allowed as it literally took my breath away to watch a couple jumpers when we were there. I will return for another visit.

Maggie said...

Pat, you are one brave lady.
In answer to your question No! I would not like to walk across the Royal Gorge bridge or take a ride in the aerial gondola. But I'm glad that you did or otherwise I would have missed all that stunning scenery.
Happy Mosaic Monday.

Sarah said...

I remember doing this as a child. What an adventure! Thanks for sharing all these amazing photos.

Taken For Granted said...

Great shots capturing the feel of this park. I have walked across this bridge. It was fun.

Gentle Joy said...

Wow, that would be an amazing walk! I'm sure I would take MANY pictures also. It was so nice to see your photos of the area. Thank you. :)

Mersad said...

I have been researching this bridge for a potential visit to Colorado in the future. Thanks for your post and images. It's really nerve wracking to see it :D

Tamar SB said...

I love that bridge!

Mary K.- The Boondocks Blog said...

Pat that bridge is quite a marvel. And the views are breathtaking. My only question is how did you take those shots of the bridge from above? They look like aerial shots and are spectacular.

Happy Birthday to your grandson. Inviting a chef was such a fun idea.

Poppy said...

Hi Pat,

Spectacular pics of your visit to the Royal Gorge bridge and park. I don't think I'd be brave enough to walk across the former after reading your description of what lies below from such heights!

Your grandson's party looks and sounds like a lot of fun! Happy 6th birthday to him!:)

Poppy

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

We walked on it years ago....when my boys were just kids. I have photos but I'm surprised I did it. I'm so afraid of heights but it didn't seem scary. Love your photos and the fun party! Hugs, Diane

Gemma Wiseman said...

Stunning views of this wonderful gorge. I could never walk the bridge, no matter how tempting the view. But I maybe could take the gondola ride. I have a terrible fear of heights.

Fun60 said...

Don't think I could walk across that bridge.

carol l mckenna said...

Our country is so magnificent and you have captured one area so well with your photos ~ thanks so much ~ Happy Birthday to your grandson ~ ^_^

Wishing you delightful days in your week ~ ^_^

jeannettestgermain said...

That bridge impressive, and at the same time scary when you look at the depths below!
What a fun idea for a party! It's heart warming when kids have already specific interests at such a young age! Many thanks for sharing with ALL SEASONS! Have a great week, Pat:)

Snap said...

Don't look down!!!!! Happy Birthday to your grandson.

Holly Myers said...

Wow! Thanks for the post. Have to add this to the 'places to visit' list! Great photos!

Jeanne said...

I have been here , but before the fire, so know there are significant changes. I walked across the bridge with my daughter and she just froze in place. I had to coax her across. Your photos are lovely!

happywonderer.com said...

I wonder if I'd get dizzy. Looks like a great excursion. What a fun idea for a birthday party that your grand wanted. Not your typical 6 year olds party. I like it.

Tom said...

...Oh man, I walked across this bridge years ago and it scared the hell out of me! Thanks for stopping by, stop back again.

mick said...

Magnificent scenery but I am very happy for you to walk the bridge and for me to look!

Al said...

Beautiful - I love that place. I drove my old Ford Explorer across that bridge, it used to be allowed.

Linda W. said...

Very cool bridge! Thanks for the photos and story.

Ann said...

I do love the Royal Gorge was there a few years ago. In fact we were in Colorado last week visiting our Sons family. We took our grandson to Copper Mountain for Woodview Park.
Ann

Ruth Hiebert said...

Thanks for sharing these pictures. Years ago my parents, sister and I were near the Royal Gorge.Dad wanted to go there and walk across it, but Mother would have no part of that and persuaded him not to go any nearer.

Sally Wessely said...

The Royal Gorge Bridge really is an amazing place. I drive by it nearly every year, but I haven't been over to it for years. We should made a trip and go again. I have traveled under it many, many times as a young girl on the train. We lived in Leadville, and I would go on the train to Pueblo to see my friends.

Ruth Rieckehoff said...

Wow! This place looks so impressive in pictures. I can't imagine how much more stunning it will look in real life. I am afraid of heights and I am sure I would be very nervous if I visit. But, I do not care. I will stop by anyway! #WordlessWednesday

Rue said...

You're a brave woman, my friend. No way would I cross that bridge lol

Happy Birthday to your beautiful grandson!

xo,
rue

Rhonda Albom said...

That is a very impressive gorge and bridge. I think I would walk across it but I'm not sure if I'd want to be in one of those special car events where you drive across. It is amazing that they were able to save the bridge from the wildfire.

Lady Fi said...

What amazing and dizzying scenery!

Florence said...

How interesting! I think I would really enjoy visiting the park. Is it handicapped accessible? Your photos are wonderful. And happy birthday to your grandson; I think a cooking party is a fabulous idea!!

Rajesh said...

Wow! a great bridge. I would love to walk on it.

Molly said...

That is quite some gorge and I think that bridge might be a bit much for my fear of heights

Mollyx

Photo(Geo)grapher said...

Wow! What an impressive and spectacular construction! Great photos

Felicia said...

It is a beautiful area. We visited here in the early 90's and I'm not even sure it was open to foot traffic then. If it was we may have arrived too early in the morning and they weren't open yet, seems i remember it that way. Even so they did not have all the other stuff then.

Barb said...

Spectacular photos, Pat! We last visited the bridge in the 90's with Bob's parents. Isn't it amazing how long Nature takes to build such stunning displays? I see you have a pastry chef in the making...

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I loved both posts on Can(y)on City and the Royal Gorge Bridge and train... I cannot wait to visit there -- hoping we get to Colorado this summer on our way home ... and hoping we'll have time to do a little traveling. Maybe our kids will be able to go with us if we're really lucky. This place looks and sounds absolutely amazing.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Wow Pat - That is quite a sight! I would like to think I would do what you did, but it does look a little scary, even though the views are magnificent.

Kalantikan said...

It is amazing they were able to maintain it for that length of time, specially with the fire. It really looks scary for us afraid of depth, height and water, but if i were there i will also try. Hanging bridges that move much or sway are more scary for me, but if it is steady then i can try. Maybe i will go back if i cannot get through. You have wonderful lovely photos as usual.

Susan Anderson said...

Wow, that is quite a gorge! I think I would feel fine walking across the bridge, and I'm glad it wasn't damaged in the fire.

Looks like a fun birthday party!

=)

Light and Voices said...

Enjoyed the cyber tours of the bridge and the gorges below. Enjoy the rest of the week.

Salmagundi said...

Thanks for highlighting my town and its amazing attractions. Those of us that have been around this area for many years take it all for granted, but it really is spectacular. My mother, as a 10 year old, went to the opening of the bridge with her grandparents in 1929. It scared her so that we could never convince her to go back!! My family's favorite attraction was the incline -- so sad that it burnt in the fire. We keep hoping that with a lot of money needed, it will be rebuilt. Our son worked on the incline for 4 summers during high school and collage; and our daughter worked at the front gate for 2 summers. Lots of memories!! Thank you for sharing your trip. Sally

handmade by amalia said...

What a feat of architecture! An amazing bridge.
Amalia
xo

Velva said...

Colorado is a beautiful state to visit. The gorge is stunning.

Velva-Tomatoes on the Vine

Sue/the view from great island said...

I'm a scardy-cat when it comes to heights...but for that scenery, I'm there!

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

It sounds like I'm not the only one that wouldn't walk across that bridge…no way! You are a brave lady, either that or I'm just a total scaredy cat. :D

Pamela Gordon said...

Wow! You can count me out for that bridge walk or even the cable car ride!! I'm too afraid of heights. Spectacular photos though Pat.

Jann Olson said...

Wow, what a bridge! I think I would have to walk across it although since I've gotten older I am a bit afraid of heights. Thanks for sharing with SYC.
hugs,
Jann

Michelle said...

I would walk across, but no zipline for me! I think the cooking party for your grandson's birthday is such a great idea. I hope his interest in cooking continues. Thanks for linking up and I hope to see you back again next week. Have a great weekend!

Jan Robinson said...

That is a truly amazing bridge. I've never heard of it before this. I'm not sure if I would walk over it. I'd make that decision when I was standing in front of it. I have a feeling my answer would be no lol. Thanks for sharing this wonderful site.

Karren Haller said...

I think I would get dizzy walking across that bridge so it a was great way to experience it your pictures, thank you for sharing on Friday Features this week!
Have a great weekend!

Lowcarb team member said...

Oh Pat, what a simply amazing post.
I loved seeing your photographs and reading the information you've shared, thank you.

Belated Birthday wishes to your gorgeous grandson, and what a great idea to have a cookery themed party!

Good wishes for the weekend

All the best Jan

Mother of 3 said...

That is amazing! I'm not sure I could cross it... I'm not a huge fan of heights but I would love to see it in person. I used this post as a mini geography lesson with my boys calling them over to check it out too. They were quite impressed with how high it was.

Lyn Lindfield said...

I would happily walk across the bridge but there is no way on earth my husband would do it.

Michelle Leslie said...

Oh yay, I'm so glad you put these up Pat. After reading about the train ride it's fascinating to see the bridge from another angle. Although I must say you're very brave to walk across, but those views are worth it. Stunning

Rambling Woods said...

Happy 6th birthday.. My grandson will be two this week... Wow that is quite the walk. I don't know with my fear of heights (new), I could do that. But what a view...Michelle

Jim Vail said...

I would absolutely love to walk across this bridge, better yet would be to arrange the drive! Thanks for linking in this week, #wkendtravelinspiration!

Pat Tillett said...

Okay, looking at the first photo only, I would walk across that bridge. By time I looked at the second and third photo, no way! However, it does look a very interesting place with lots to see. I didn't become uncomfortable with heights until about ten years ago. Great post and really nice photos. Also, a lot of interesting info.