Historic Royal Gorge Railroad Train Ride
There is perhaps no better symbol of Colorado’s rich history than railroads. In the 19th-century, industrialists and miners toiled to build vast stretches of railways across the Rocky Mountains. In doing so, they connected different parts of Colorado in ways previously unimagined.
When passing through Colorado today, you can rest assured that many highways follow paths made by railroads during the original mining days. Even more, certain parts of the state such as Leadville, Georgetown, and Durango still honor this legacy with steam-powered trains and narrow-gauge railroads.
The Royal Gorge train near Canon City, CO is another railway from Colorado’s mining days. Today, the train now serves as an important tourist attraction for the Colorado Springs region. The train takes over 200,000 people per year deep into the iconic Royal Gorge, where they enjoy sweeping views of the Arkansas River.
Railroad History of Cañon City, CO
Like most of the important railway regions in Colorado, the history of Canon City begins with a mining boom. In the 1870s, miners discovered large silver deposits near present-day Leadville. In order to transport silver-laden ore out of the high Rocky Mountains for processing, a railway was needed.
Building the historic Royal Gorge Railroad with the technology of the 19th-century was no small feat. In order to run a train through the 1,000 ft deep Royal Gorge, it took the ingenuity of engineers and the backbreaking work of laborers alike.
Where Does the Royal Gorge Train Go?
The Royal Gorge train departs multiple times daily, with trips running in the morning, afternoon, and evening. Due to the different levels of service at each time of the day, each Royal Gorge train ride takes anywhere from 1.5 hrs. to 3 hrs. in length.
Each Royal Gorge Route Railroad train leaves directly out of Canon City and runs about 20 miles to the east, before finally crossing beneath the famous Royal Gorge Bridge. Once the train reaches this amazing suspension bridge, it stops for a while so guests can get out and take pictures.
After spending some time at the bridge, the train ride through the Royal Gorge follows same route back that it originally took from Canon City.
What Type of Things Do I See on a Royal Gorge Train Ride?
The Royal Gorge is famous for its abundant wildlife, fascinating geology, and rich history.
Whether it be eagles, deer, or falcons, you are sure to see some of the finest animals anywhere in the Rocky Mountains. Keep a careful eye on the cliffs above and you might even see a family of bighorn sheep!
Due to the sheer depths of the Royal Gorge, the region has some of the oldest rocks found anywhere in North America. In fact, the “Idaho Springs metamorphic complexes” are an incredible 1.7 billion years old.
The railroad also gives an up-and-close view of the Royal Gorge Bridge. From the train, you have the rare vantage of seeing the bridge from below – where you can soak in the fine details of this engineering marvel.
What Kinds of Amenities are on a Royal Gorge Railroad Trip?
If it’s amenities you’re after, the Royal Gorge Route Railroad has something for everyone. The train is renowned for its excellent food service and they offer different menu options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
For morning and afternoon trips, guests tend to enjoy snacks and light lunches along with some awe-inspiring sightseeing. When it comes to the evening time, many more people come to the Royal Gorge Route Railroad with dining in mind. The dinner menu on the train includes prime rib, salmon, osso bucco, and more.
To learn more about the different menus and train trips, please visit the Royal Gorge Route Railroad website.