Welcome to the Royal Gorge Region of Colorado.

Royal Gorge & Cañon City, Colorado Visitor Information

Welcome to the Royal Gorge Region and Cañon City, Colorado.  The Royal Gorge Region is located just 2 hours south of Denver and 45 minutes southwest of Colorado Springs.  The Royal Gorge is host to a number of world-class activities and attractions, including the Royal Gorge Route Railroad, Colorado’s premier scenic train that offers the very best view of the dramatic Royal Gorge.  Besides offering breathtaking scenery, the Royal Gorge Route is rated as one of Colorado’s top onboard restaurants, serving its guests delicious entrées for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Colorado’s most popular holiday train, Santa Express runs from November 14th through the end of December with up to four daily departures.  We’ve all seen the movie and read the book!  Now experience the train that takes you to meet Santa Claus himself at the magical North Pole.  The Santa Express Train is a winter wonderland, where children of all ages are encouraged to wear cozy pajamas and relax with family and friends on a journey you’ll treasure year after year.

The region also offers the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, just 15 minutes from Cañon City where the views are spectacular.  While you’re here, stop in at the Winery at Holy Cross Abbey to do a wine tasting, available year-round.  Be sure to visit our downtown historic district, and remember that rock climbing, mountain biking, and other activities await you in the Royal Gorge Region.

Top Attractions and Activities in the Royal Gorge Region

The Royal Gorge Region of Colorado has much to offer, and we want you to know which attractions to see and why.  We’ve combed through reviews of top attractions, visited them, and listed them below to make it easy for you, our valued guest, to choose how to spend your time.

The Royal Gorge Route Railroad

Listed as One of America’s Top Train Rides

Why?  This is THE train to take in Colorado.  The reviews are as amazing as the ride.  Just when you think that the scenery can’t be beat, you’ve got the option of dining aboard WHILE enjoying the breathtaking scenery of the Royal Gorge.  The train is owned and operated by a Colorado family company that is widely respected in the tourism industry for providing a quality experience, and it shows.  This is not a tourist trap and is not associated with the Royal Gorge Bridge.
Straight Scoop: The train takes you THROUGH the Royal Gorge.  Besides rafting the class V rapids of the Arkansas River (not suitable for families or those with health issues), this is your best option to really see the entire Royal Gorge and the wildlife found within the canyon.  You don’t want to miss this “Grand Canyon” of Colorado.  The train offers six classes of service and is Colorado’s only train (and one of the few in the nation) to offer outstanding dining options.  The Royal Gorge Route offers world-class views and service with over 100,000 guests riding it each year!

Trains are running daily at 12:30 pm!

First Class Dinner Trains

If you’re into amazing food and wine, try the Royal Gorge Route’s Dinner Train where they offer a three-course dinner, white linens and all.  Their food is not just good; it’s outstanding.  It is obvious that time and money has been spent on training staff members, as all are treated as valued guests on this train.  The train also offers delicious, prepared-to-order entrées for breakfast and lunch.  If you’re a “foodie,” this is your place!  The staff focuses on sourcing Colorado ingredients in order to offer  good food that’s good for you!
Insider Information: Every class of service offers an open-air car.  If you’re in coach, head out there early to have unobstructed views of the Royal Gorge.  If you’re doing lunch, vista dome, etc., head out after you order.  The staff is well-trained and it shows.  No tacky tourist stuff here, just a truly memorable experience.  Think high quality at affordable prices.

The train is owned by a Colorado family that gives back to the community, continues to provide emergency services to the rafting community, has worked to clean up the river for safer boating conditions, and believes in quality customer service.

Vitals: Royal Gorge Route Railroad
RoyalGorgeRoute.com | 888.724.5748 | 719.276.4000
Santa Fe Depot | 1 block south of 3rd and Highway 50 West, Cañon City, CO 81212
Review: Check out the review

Rafting the Arkansas River

Why? The Royal Gorge region is fortunate in that Colorado’s most popular river, the Arkansas River “runs through it” offering exciting trips for all ability levels.  From mild to wild, you’ll have a blast battling Colorado whitewater.
Straight Scoop: Choose a company that has its act together and can provide you with all the safety gear necessary for an enjoyable trip.  When you speak to a representative, do they sound professional?  Remember, there is risk involved with anything in life, and rafting is no different.

Insider Information: Make sure you’re choosing a trip that is within your ability level.  Are you in shape?  If you’re not, don’t pick an advanced trip (Royal Gorge section) that will place you or your fellow passengers at risk. Rafting is a blast.  Whether you prefer a family outing or a real class V whitewater-in-your-face experience, you’ve come to the perfect place for adventure!  Remember, the Royal Gorge section is not for the faint-of-heart, those with health issues, or families with small children.  Rafts can and do flip, people swim, and this is fast moving whitewater.  The train continues to provide help for injured rafters and kayakers in the Royal Gorge who seek immediate evacuation every season.

Popular Option: Another popular option is the Raft and Train package offered by several different companies combining a raft trip and railroad journey through the Royal Gorge.  The train is pretty picky when it comes to choosing partners, so if you want to experience both, give this a shot as it’s fun!  Go to Raft and Train.

Vitals: Rafting Adventures
Rafting Outfitters

The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey

Why? Colorado wines are now being compared to the best California wines, and for good reason!  Jeff Stultz is the winemaker at the Abbey. His expertise and attention to detail shine through with many award-winning wines.
Straight Scoop: Several of the wines produced at the Abbey are made using the juice of local grapes and apples grown in the Fremont County Region, which makes these wines a part of our local flavor.  This winery is rockin’ all year-round and has gained a stellar reputation for producing quality wines.

Insider Information: The tasting room and adjoining gift shop are first- rate.  In addition to tasting wine, you’ll find a variety of gifts that you just won’t find anywhere else.  They obviously take pride in what they do and really make sure you feel comfortable tasting wine.  That’s why you’re there, right?  If you have the time, call about their VIP winery tour.  This is a “must do,” and if you’ve got kids, they can play outside on the beautiful grounds.

Vitals: Winery at Holy Cross Abbey
AbbeyWinery.com| 719.276.5191| 877.422.9463
3011 East Highway 50, Cañon City, CO 81212

Royal Gorge Bridge and Park

Why?  This is the highest suspension bridge in North America, and the views are impressive.  Included activities are a walk across the bridge, a gondola, children’s playland, carousel, and Plaza Theater. For an extra fee, guests can experience the Royal Rush Skycoaster and Cloudscraper Zipline.

Straight Scoop: The Royal Gorge Bridge is owned by the City of Cañon City and run by a concessionaire out of Dallas, Texas.

Vitals: Royal Gorge Bridge and Park
RoyalGorgeBridge.com | 888-333-5597 | 719-275-7507
4218 County Road 3A | PO Box 549, Cañon City, CO 81212

Discover Downtown Canon City

Download our Historic Home Walking Tour
Download our Historic Downtown Walking Tour

Why? Downtown has so much to offer, from great watering holes to some of the best pizza on the planet (Pizza Madness) – no kidding.  Many visitors simply miss historic downtown because it’s located just one block north of Highway 50, and that’s a shame.  Cañon City’s downtown area is listed on the National Historical Register for its abundance of turn-of-the-century architecture.  Immerse yourself in the ambiance of a bygone era as you enjoy local dining, boutiques, music, and art galleries.

Straight Scoop: Downtown is totally “walkable” and not to be missed.  From the train station at the Santa Fe Depot (west end of town), just cross Highway 50 driving north, park, and wander.  The architecture is really classic, and not many Colorado downtowns have this historic flavor.  Download the PDF files above for historical walking tours.

Insider Information: We mentioned Pizza Madness, but there is also Royal Gorge Brewery pub which has some great brews.  If you’re looking for high- end, delicious French cuisine, try Le Petite Chablis located at 512 Royal Gorge Blvd.  We love this place!

Outdoor Activities in the Royal Gorge Region

Download the Royal Gorge Region Trails Map

Why? The Royal Gorge region offers so many options for outdoor enthusiasts with the difference that this part of Colorado is uncrowded.  For starters, some of the best rock climbing in the state is located just north of town up Shelf Road.  For you cyclists, it gets even better as you can ride for miles on dirt or paved roads to Cripple Creek and enjoy amazing scenery along the way.  The Arkansas River offers outstanding rafting, kayaking, and fishing opportunities either on your own or with an outfitter.  If you enjoy running, try Tunnel Drive or the Arkansas River Walk where you’ll have miles and miles of trails off the beaten path.

Straight Scoop: The Royal Gorge Region isn’t Summit County with a Starbucks on every corner and a gazillion travelers to compete with.  The Royal Gorge Region offers up what Colorado used to be years ago with less crowds, no attitude, and friendly locals ready to help.  It really is like taking a well-deserved step back in time.

Insider Information: If you’re into kayaking, ask about the local “play wave” located in town that is amazing during spring run-off.  Red Canyon Park, located just north of town, is like the Garden of the Gods (sans crowds), and Shelf Road is a pretty spectacular place to explore.  A challenging mountain bike ride is to head south on 1st street toward Temple Canyon Road, circle around toward Parkdale and bike back to Cañon City on Highway 50.  You can also check with the Royal Gorge Bridge to see if you can cycle across the bridge from the south side and cut off some miles.  Phantom Canyon Road is another favorite place to mountain bike.  Enjoy!