Sunday, November 7, 2021

The Royal Gorge Route Railroad in Canon City, Colorado



The last week in October a group of friends and my husband and I decided to take a trip on the Royal Gorge Route Railroad. Most of us drove down to Colorado Springs the day before so we could get an early start the next day to drive further south towards Canon City, where the train is located.  It was the second time my husband and I rode the train--click here--to read a prior post I wrote then in 2017. That trip we took in summer, so this time we were looking forward to seeing autumn color on our drive and along the train route.




All aboard!  We had seats in the "vista dome" and some of us ordered food and drinks to enjoy while the train was loading.

The Royal Gorge Route Railroad offers daily departures with several classes of service and dining to choose from, and first-class lunch, dinner, and murder mystery train rides. The interesting history of the original Royal Gorge Route Railroad, which began back in 1879, can be read on their website at this link.


The Royal Gorge is a 1,200-feet (365.76 m) high canyon on the Arkansas River, forming a 10-mile long gorge.  The river was running lower than when we saw it in the summer of 2017, and there were no rafters on it this time of the year, although the weather was very pleasant.  The autumn sunlight gave a beautiful glow and deep shadows to portions of the gorge walls.



We saw workers setting up the life-size "North Pole" winter wonderland village on the north side of the canyon in preparation for the special "Santa Express Trains" that runs during the holiday season.





As we ride west through the gorge, we see the Royal Gorge Bridge suspended 1,053 feet above the river! The bridge was constructed in 1929 and only took 7 months to build at $350,000.  It was the highest suspension bridge in the world for 70 years. Now it is the highest in North America.



We were outside at this time on the observation deck car to enjoy the open-air experience and 360-degree views. Notice how close to the canyon walls that the train travels at times.



This is the deepest point of the gorge and it is a thrilling sight to see the bridge above! On our last trip, my husband and I walked across the bridge--click here--to read that post. It was a thrilling experience! 


Do you see the aerial gondolas high above?   They glide 2,200 feet across the Gorge, 1,200 feet high above the Arkansas River, and bring visitors from one side of the gorge to the other side. We rode on the gondolas when we visited the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park in 2017.




A short video above that I took of the train passing near the Royal Gorge Bridge which is 1,053 feet above! You can also watch this on YouTube at this link I also have this and another video on my Mille Fiori Favoriti Facebook page at this link.  The train ride is fully narrated live the entire ride, with interesting facts and places of interest pointed out along the way.



A collage of the colorful rock walls of the Royal Gorge. The gorge's sheer walls are made of Precambrian gneiss and granite. The Arkansas River has cut into this hard rock for the past three million years, making it more steep and narrow than other canyons of the American West. 





One fascinating point of interest is this hanging bridge structure built at the narrowest portion of the gorge, literally located above the Arkansas River.  It was an engineering marvel when it was built in 1878.  When the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad was building this rail 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.




In the early years of the rail passenger service, trains would stop to allow tourists to get off and marvel at the “world-famous engineering feat.” Passengers posed for their picture standing around the train while the engine was on the bridge. President Theodore Roosevelt made history when he stopped and picnicked at the Hanging Bridge on May 8, 1905. Archives say the president was on an excursion train to Canon City, Florence, and the Royal Gorge a day after a speaking engagement in Pueblo.  The Royal Gorge Route Railroad train narrator had a photo of this event on his phone and I took the photo above of it. President Roosevelt is in the middle of his entourage and is wearing a top hat.




Another interesting sight along the way was of the now unused water pipes that once brought water into Canon City. In the early 1900s, Canon City installed a dam and pipeline in the Royal Gorge for the town’s water supply. Prisoners from a territorial prison were used to help build the pipeline, which was mostly constructed of redwood. The system was abandoned in 1973, but much of it still exists today.  An abandoned caretaker's house from that era could also be seen.



Some of the beautiful autumn foliage we saw as the train traveled back east at the end of its two-hour journey.



There are several giant old cottonwood trees located along with the railroad boarding and exit site.  I am always fascinated by these beautiful trees that are also known by their nickname of "Pioneers of the Prairie." You can read a blog post I wrote about these western trees on this link.



I asked my husband to take another photo of me standing next to one of the trees as I did in 2017which can also be seen at the end of that blog post. It's now a new tradition established for the next time we visit the Royal Gorge Route Railroad!

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39 comments:

Ruth Hiebert said...

That scenery is fascinating to say the least.

William Kendall said...

Gorgeous landscapes.

ellen b. said...

That really looks like a worthwhile ride on the railroad. Such amazing sites along the way. Fun to go with a group of friends!

Unknown said...

Your pictures are fabulous! And your story interesting with facts I was unaware of. Linda and I enjoyed being with you on the trip. A great time was had by all.

Tom said...

...I walked across that bridge, it scared the you know what out of me!

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

trains are fun and I can imagine the spectacular scenery in the Colorado mountains

Life Of 2 Snowbirds said...

This looks like so much fun. I made a note of it and will definitely do this when I am in your neck of the woods.

Angie said...

Pat - I love trains, and it's a bonus when they run through such scenic areas as the Gorge! What fascinating history and feats of engineering. I hope to ride this train some day! Thanks for sharing with everyone at Mosaic Monday!

eileeninmd said...

Hello Pat,
The train ride looks fun, beautiful scenery with the gorge and river. I love the big old Cottonwood trees. The video is great and I enjoyed your photos.
Have a great new week!

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

That looks like a wonderful train ride!

Barbara R. said...

We drove through similar canyons...along the highway which goes into Canon. It was pretty but I was very glad my friend was driving.

Rajani Rehana said...

Beautiful blog

Hena Tayeb said...

Wow this looks like quite an incredible train ride.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

What a great time of year to go! I would be more afraid of the heights now than I was years ago. Nice to get a photo of you by the tree...look how tiny you are! Lovely colors that are going fast now!

NCSue said...

Beautiful scenic views along this train ride. What a lovely jaunt!
Thanks for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2021/11/more-monarchs.html

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

We visited Royal Gorge a few years ago because of your post/recommendation! I hope I remembered to thank you back then. What a perfect place to celebrate Colorado's Autumn beauty! Just one of the amazing scenic places in your amazing State that are as great as any National Park but instead are State or even City/County ones!

Phil Slade said...

Wow. Next time you go I want to come along too. Great photos and an entertaining and informative narrative Pat. An amazing trip for sure.

stevebethere said...

What a beautiful place lovely photos looked like fun too thanks for the tour :-)

Have a railroadtastic week 👍

Jeanie said...

Spectacular, Pat. Not only glorious photos of the breathtaking scenery, but history too. I'd love to do this if I ever get to your state!

Lowcarb team member said...

Oh my ... your photographs and mosaics are wonderful.
How nice to enjoy a visit like this with a group of friends.

All the best Jan

Joanne said...

That looks like an incredibly train ride. What amazing views!

Veronica Lee said...

Love the rugged vistas.

It would be an exhilarating experience to ride this train.

Happy Tuesday, Pat.

Aletha Oglesby, M.D. said...

How fun and exciting. We have been to Royal Gorge but not on the train; we will next time for sure.

Donna @ Modern on Monticello said...

This would be such fun. Gorgeous photos as always. Thanks for linking up this week. #HomeMattersParty

NatureFootstep said...

you made quite a trip. So much to see and experience here.:) Thanks for sharing.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

I do love a train trip and your is a dandy. Amazing that such things got built so long ago and they still last today. I walked across that bridge way back in 1978 or so. It was a thrilling walk.
I love all the photos of the fall foliage. I can't get enough of that.

dee Nambiar said...

Gorgeous colors of the season. Thank you for these views from the canyon floor. I've only seen it from the top -- from the Royal Gorge Bridge, a few years ago.
Thanks again.

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

I love this view from down in the gorge. I've only seen the top view. Now you've inspired me to take that train ride!

Spare Parts and Pics said...

Something else I'll have to add to my bucket list. What an amazing and beautiful sight! The rocks are beautiful. I'm intrigued by that A-frame bride.

Barb said...

Great photos,Pat - the scenery is spectacular. We visited Royal Gorge over 30 years ago when our sons graduated college and Bob's parents were with us. We didn't ride the train.

Jim said...

Good shots.

Michelle said...

The landscape is stunning! This is something I would like to do. Thanks for linking up and have a great weekend.

Photo Cache said...

Oh how fun is this! I am jealous.

Worth a Thousand Words

Light and Voices said...

Greetings and Salutations! I really enjoyed the cyber tour by train. Impressive views.

Amy Johnson said...

Wow! Amazing! I've been to Colorado several times, but I didn't get here...yet. Definitely on my bucket list!

Treat and Trick said...

What a gorgeous photos and wonderful experience, thanks for sharing...

betty-NZ said...

I just said 'Wow!" with each photo they are just fabulous to see!

Thanks for sharing your link at My Corner of the World this week!

Linda said...

I like trains and geology so I appreciate this post. :-)

PaulaShort said...

I love trains. Thank you for sharing this adventure. Blessings.