Last spring we took a trip to Cañon City, Colorado. This small town is located Southwest of Colorado Springs. Cañon City’s main attraction is the Royal Gorge, an extraordinary river gorge that cuts through the Royal Gorge Hills and extends almost 1000’ deep. The Royal Gorge Railroad route was first established in 1878 and is still active to this day.
We picked a nearby RV boondocking spot in Penrose Colorado knowing there were many must-see places in Cañon City. The area offers tons of attractions for visitors, most of which are based around the Royal Gorge itself. The Royal Gorge Bridge and Park is a 360-acre park at the top of the gorge. They have an incredible suspension bridge that extends over the gorge, a cliffside Via Ferrata, Royal Rush Skycoaster, and of course the Cloudscraper Zip Line. We opted for the Royal Gorge Train ride which begins in Cañon City, Colorado and winds 12 miles upriver and then back down the canyon. Visitors will find breathtaking views of the river, canyon walls, and old mining sites.
This 1950s-era train takes a winding scenic route through the bottom of the gorge, deep into the Colorado Rockies. It follows the Arkansas River beneath the Royal Gorge Bridge before coming to a stop to begin the return journey. The total railroad train ride takes about 2 hours round-trip. The Royal Gorge Route Railroad has a varied menu on the train, offering breakfast, lunch, afternoon, and dinner rides. We highly recommend a dinnertime ride because the canyon views at twilight were incredible. Of course, they also offer a full bar serving beer, wine, and cocktail options. After enjoying food and drinks at our seats, we headed to the outdoor train car.
The Royal Gorge Route Railroad experience has three main ticket types available: Coach Class, Vista Dome, or Club Class. We opted for the Vista Dome car that gives you endless 360 dome window views with booth-style seating. Although if we were to do it again we would opt for Coach Class, because we spent most of our time on the outer deck enjoying the fresh air. The fully open-air train cars are standing-room only and are accessible with any class ticket, so we spent most of our time with the breeze in our hair and drinks in hand.
TIPS FOR A GREAT EXPERIENCE
- Buy your tickets in advance. Although you can not choose your exact seat, it does guarantee you a seat on the train.
- Budget-concious visitors will want to opt for a Coach Class ticket. All visitors can access the outdoor train car
- Who doesn’t like a good sunset and romantic lighting? We think the dinnertime train ride is a must, especially if you like to enjoy a good cocktail and fresh air. April-October is the best time to visit.
- Royal Gorge Route Railroad runs year round. We visited in late April and discovered perfect temperatures for an evening ride.
Next time we visit this area we plan to walk over the Royal Gorge Suspension bridge. But who knows, we are always up for a great train ride!