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Cañon City

The old west town of Cañon City along the Arkansas River is a Colorado mountain vacation area that is mostly unknown to the random traveler. However, upon further investigation, families and visitors to the area will discover old mining and ghost towns, a railroad taking you to unbelievable views, and loads of white-water rafting, hiking, and fishing.

The Canyon

Over millennium, the river has cut down through the granite rock more than 1000 feet, creating a spectacular scenic canyon that is filled with both wildlife and amazing picturesque splendors. By far, the largest attraction to the area is the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park. Families can drive to the park or take the Historic Royal Gorge Route Railroad. This is widely considered to be one of the most gorgeous scenic train rides in North America. The bridge spans a quarter mile across the granite cliffs and is suspended 1,053 feet above the Arkansas River below. The park is home to 360 acres and 21 rides, including the Royal Rush SkyCoaster, also named the "Scariest Sky Coaster in the World." Here riders are harnessed from a 100-foot tower and then swing out over the Royal Gorge, flying at 50 miles per hour and 1,150 feet above the roaring Arkansas River. This exhilarating thrill ride gives a free-fall affect that creates and unbelievable rush. Your family will also enjoy a stroll through the new 10-acre Wapiti Western Wildlife Park featuring families of bighorn sheep, a herd of elk, and a rare white bison. Guests relax and stroll along nature paths on the south side of the Royal Gorge. Watch for wildlife—Eagles, Blue Heron, and Red Tailed Hawks soar through the canyon. There are also, wild majestic Big Horn Sheep and Mule Deer in the gorge daily.

There is also a Mountain Man encampment that shows the lifestyle of the first mountain men in Colorado and how they survived. Women and Men dress in traditional mountain clothing and are featured in authentic living quarters. 

Things to Do

Read about the history of the area and discover our favorite things to do in the area. Other thrilling attractions and activities include enjoying recreational activities in the adjacent 109,782 acres San Isabel National Forest. This area offers limitless opportunities for backpacking and hiking (over 700 miles of trails), mountain biking, camping, kayaking, canoeing, hot air balloon rides, helicopter tours, wildlife viewing, photography, scenic drives, or simply experiencing the majestic peaks and mountain meadows of the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

The best fishing in the area is in the spring and fall just west of Canon City, but fish can be caught all times of the year. There are several guided fishing tour operators to pick from or one can simply ask a guide at a local bait and tackle shop or fishing store for great location. Some may disagree with these being the top four attractions to the area so we have listed a few more popular activities and tours below.

Whitewater rafting through the spectacular gorge on the famed Arkansas River (class IV and V rapids) is an experience every person visiting Colorado should experience. Whitewater rafting on this section of the Arkansas River offers everything from a relaxing and enjoyable family raft trip through Bighorn Sheep Canyon to the world-class whitewater excitement of the Royal Gorge. Regardless of your comfort or skill level, the areas professional outfitters will provide a raft, boat, kayak, fishing boat, or canoe trip that is appropriate whether you choose to fully participate on a paddle boat or just simply hold on and enjoy the scenery from a mild oar boat ride. The nearby areas and towns of Cotopaxi and Coaldale are also popular launching pads to rafting the Arkansas River. Also fun to do is take a short drive on one of two scenic mountain byways that lead out of town.

Summer Vacation Savings

Save money with travel deals and discounts for the Colorado Royal Gorge and Canon City vacation area by looking through all the value, deals, savings and coupons for this wonderful and historical vacation destination. There are lodging deals and discounts on resorts, hotels, motels, condominiums, bed and breakfasts, cabins, inns, and camp grounds.

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Photos Courtesy of City of Canon City