When we were planning our trip to Colorado, many people recommended that we visit the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park. It was a bit off of the path we had decided on traveling, which almost caused us to skip it. I can speak for everyone when I say that we are so glad we didn’t skip it!
Hanging high above Colorado’s wild Arkansas River, the Royal Gorge Bridge is America’s highest suspension bridge and a legendary feat of engineering renowned the world over. Built in 1929 for $350,000, the cost today would easily exceed $20 million. It was a world wonder then and still is today. For those who venture across it, whether walking or driving, the experience is priceless.
The journey up the mountain to the park was along quiet and narrow, winding roads. Most of the trees and plants were destroyed in the fire. Once we reached the top, the road opened into a parking lot filled with hundreds of cars.
The Visitor’s Center is huge, clean, and packed full of cute and unique souvenirs. There are large screens showing the history of the bridge, along with updates on the recent fire. There is a nice cafe adjacent to the Visitor’s Center that has some amazing gourmet sandwiches.
The Visitor’s Center opens almost directly onto the bridge. General admission includes unlimited gondola rides across the gorge. A gondola is a small car that travels across the Royal Gorge via a cable. Each car holds approximately 6 people and is filled with windows so that you can view the Arkansas River- 956 feet below.
I’m not usually scared of heights, but I am often considered the scaredy cat of our family. I tend to do nothing dangerous, but decided that I was going to step outside of my comfort zone for this trip. The gondola was one of my favorite stops of the entire vacation.
My guys are fearless and my daughter is a bit more cautions, but she will try almost anything once. While my daughter was too light to ride the zipline, my husband and son anxiously exited the gondola and got in line to ride the zipline back across. The zipline is taller than the gondola cables, and it takes you back across the entire gorge. They really enjoyed it and thought that would be the adrenaline rush of the afternoon- boy, were they wrong!
There is also a Skycoaster, which they thought would be a mild ride in comparison to ziplining across. In fact, I had to convince them to give it a shot. Up to 3 people lay on their stomachs in a harness. They are hoisted 100 feet in the air and then dropped into a free fall to swing out over the Royal Gorge at up to 50MPH. Needless to say, when they were finished with the ride, they were begging to go again. My husband admitted that it was one of the scariest rides he’s ever been on.
I am so glad that we decided to visit the Royal Gorge, and it’s on our list of places to visit on our return trip. At first glance, it doesn’t seem like a budget friendly stop for a large family, but we spent all afternoon there and practically had to drag ourselves out at closing time.
*We received a family pack of tickets to the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.