Anyone who is visiting in Canon City, Colorado or headed towards Colorado Springs should consider the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park. It is a one of a kind location for visitors to experience a natural wonder in North America. The park is more than 360 acres with 21 rides, shows, and attractions to explore. The park is above the actual gorge where the railroad will run through along the river.
When at the park visitors can see the views from the Suspension Bridge. This structure is 1.053 feet above the canyon and spans a quarter mile. It is a driving bridge, with a walkway on either side, so it is still possible to enjoy the view as one moves over it. To really gain an idea of what it is like there is the Aerial Tram. This will take visitors over the gorge in an enclosed car going from one side to the other of the gorge.
The Royal Rush Skycoaster is also there for a thrill. Children are able to enjoy their own brand of fun with the antique carousel, Silver Rock Railway, petting zoo, Wapiti Western Wildlife Park, and petting zoo. The wildlife park offers American Bison, Rocky Mountain Elk, and Big Horn Sheep. Also on the site for the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park are the Plaza Theatre, gift shops, and restaurants. The theatre supplies a historical display of the area. It also shows one the trails, hiking, camping, and biking areas one can enjoy.
Royal Gorge was discovered by the Native Americans who used to hunt and camp in the canyons and mountains. The Utes were the most important tribe to Canyon City. However, the Sioux, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Blackfeet and Comanche were also known to move through the area in order to follow the buffalo. In 1642 the Spanish came to the gorge as missionaries. Fur traders and trappers also came in the 1700's. Eventually in 1806 Lt. Zebulon Montgomery Pike made his way to the Gorge with a scouting party. Pike is better known for the peak named after him. The Royal Gorge saw war in 1877 when silver was found in the Arkansas River. There was a huge controversy, especially between the two railroads: Rio Grande and Santa Fe. The history of the gorge is just one reason to visit the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park.
The bridge was the world's highest suspension bridge and still is, as a matter of fact. It was constructed in 1929 over a five month period. Its length is 1,260 feet, width 18 feet, and the main span is 880 feet. The towers stand 150 feet high with 2,100 strands and NO. 9 galvanized wire. The cables weigh 300 tons. About 1,000 tons of steel was used to construct the floor of the bridge. The walkway has 1,292 planks of deck, and they usually replace 250 annually. To build the bridge they used $350,000, but it has taken $20 million to keep it in shape over the years.