Immersive Spectacular Trip on Skyline Drive

Take The Skyline Drive Spectacular Trip

Travel Skyline Drive, a one-way ridgetop, for sweeping Royal Gorge Region vistas and spectacular geological wonders. Along the way, discover Colorado's unearthed dinosaur trackway.

Skyline Drive History

During the early 1900s, local leaders planned to build a road over the sharp Hogback west of Cañon City. The unprecedented scenic thoroughfare would give visitors and residents dramatic Colorado views and allow them to touch the sky practically. In 1905, around 60 inmates from the Colorado State Penitentiary (located just east of Cañon City) were assigned to construct Skyline Drive. They finished in 1906 and the city council named designated vehicle days and horse-drawn carriage days to avoid conflicts along the narrow route.

Skyline Drive Dinosaur Tracks

The GeologySkyline Drive Dinosaur Tracks

Deposited sand and mud flowing in from the ancestral Rocky Mountains about 105 million years ago formed what is now known as the Dakota Hogback Formation. Along the roadside, you can view layers of red rock paralleling the base of the ridge, which geologists have dubbed the Fountain Formation. You can also see where dinosaur fossils were found in the Morrison Formation.

The Skyline Drive

Skyline Drive, a 2.5 mile (4 km) paved drive, lies northwest of Cañon City. It travels along a narrow razorback ridge. The descent begins with a hairpin turn and winds down the eastern side of the hogback. Not for the timid driver, there are points where both sides of the roadway drop several hundred feet.

Skyline Drive Schedule

The road is open daily during daylight hours and may close for inclement weather. Allow for about one hour to explore Skyline Drive, as this considers stopping along the way. Directions: Head west from Cañon City on Highway 50 for two miles and turn right at the entrance to Skyline Drive under the big stone archway. * Note the vehicle length restrictions.

Skyline Drive Sights Along the Way

Plenty of pullouts and parking areas make stopping and enjoying the views overlooking Cañon City, Florence, Fremont Peak, and the surrounding landscape easy. Stop to see the Gateway Arch, an entrance marker built by inmates in 1932 using a stone from all but three states in America.

Must See Interpretive Panels

Pull over near the top to view the interpretive panel and dinosaur footprint casts embedded in the cliff face. Resident and paleontology student Bill Kurtz discovered the dinosaur trackway in 1999. Another great stop to pull over is at the Floral Avenue Trailhead on the eastern side of the hogbacks. Walk north along the Greenhorn Trail to view interpretive panels on the Western Interior Seaway that once covered the whole state of Colorado and see the evidence of an extinction event (Cenomanian –Turonian Extinction) that occurred 94 million years ago.

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