Whether you’ve come to the royal gorge region on family vacation or for an extended stay, you’re sure to be delighted at every turn.
This is the place to find that antique music box for your favorite aunt or to enjoy in wine tasting at a local vineyard or The Winery at the Holy Cross Abbey. Ride your mountain bike through our spectacular backcountry, walk across America’s Highest Suspension Bridge or take a scenic train ride through the Gorge. Raft the rapids of the Arkansas River. Stroll through an apple orchard or pumpkin patch. Fish Gold Medal waters. Salute Old Glory as the Blossom Festival Color Guard passes by. Stand in awe as hot air balloons lift gently into our impossibly blue skies. In short, there’s truly an activity or an event that will stir your spirit – and all that limits you is your imagination.
Visit the World-Famous Royal Gorge Bridge and Park
Like the mythical phoenix, our beloved Royal Gorge Bridge and Park rose from the ashes of 2013’s wildfire and is once again thrilling visitors all year long. You can walk across the highest suspension bridge in the U.S. Be sure to check royalgorgebridge.com for updates on new rides and attractions. And be ready to oooh and aaah at the vistas that unfold before you – the rushing Arkansas River 1,200 below, the glistening Sangre de Cristo Range in the distance and the abundance of flora and fauna that flourish in this ruggedly beautiful terrain.
Ride the Rails
Few experiences can relax and exhilarate simultaneously, but that’s exactly what the Royal Gorge Route Railroad, Colorado’s first and most scenic full-service streamliner, accomplishes. Offering six classes of service, excursions aboard the Royal Gorge Route are tailored for every budget and appetite. Locally-sourced, chef-prepared breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu items are available anywhere on board. An extensive list of Colorado microbrews and top-rated wines are sure to please even the most discerning palette. After your meal, be sure to step outside on the open-air car to enjoy the sights as the train rolls along tracks that give view to the tumbling waters of the Arkansas River and the towering cliffs of the magnificent Royal Gorge. For a true memory-maker that melds fine dining and wine with a scenic rail ride, consider our lunch or dinner trips– or splurge for both. Your seasonally-inspired meal will be served in the dining car or Vista Dome, and our extensive wine list boasts Colorado’s best. Be sure to take advantage of the open-air car for a 360-degree view during your trip.
Peek into the Past
For an entertaining, educational afternoon, spend time in our museums. The Museum of Colorado Prisons is the actual site of the state’s first women’s prison, and the cells and artifacts reflect life behind bars. Our Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center is located in the city’s original 1920s municipal building, and you can explore the rich history of the Royal Gorge Region and peruse genealogy information on regional families in the History Center. At the Fremont Center for the Arts you can enjoy monthly shows and special events.
Florence, Colorado’s Antique Capital
Main Street Florence is a world unto itself, where more than two dozen antique stores line three blocks of the colorful, historic street. No two stores are alike in décor or merchandise, which elevates antiquing to an Olympic-caliber event. There’s no end to interesting treasures in this sweetheart of a small town.
Taste Award-Winning Wines
It’s no wonder the Winery at Holy Cross Abbey draws wine connoisseurs from around the world to its tasting room – since 2002 this jewel has been winning awards, and today it is one of Colorado’s largest and most successful wineries. In 2014 alone the winery brought home more than 50 medals in international competitions. The tasting room and gift shop are open year-round, and special tours and VIP tastings are available.
Wild Cañon Harvest wine is made from grapes grown by local growers and picked by local growers and picked by local non-profit groups who use the proceeds to support community charities. Growers who contribute grapes and workers who help with the harvest have their names on the annual label as part of “The Wild Bunch.” To celebrate this wine, the Winery at Holy Cross Abbey hosts an annual three-day Harvest Fest in late September, with music, art exhibits and delectable food. For dates, check the winery’s web site, www.abbeywinery.com.
Leisure 4 Day Itinerary
|8:00 AM||Breakfast, Tour Downtown Cañon City, Historic Walking Tour|
|12:00 PM||Lunch, Royal Gorge Route Railroad|
|5:00 PM||Dinner in Cañon City|
|8:00 AM||Breakfast, Riverwalk Trail, Farmers Market (Tuesdays only)|
|12:00 PM||Lunch, Take a dive over Skyline Drive, Visit the Winery|
|5:00 PM||Dinner in Cañon City|
|Day 3||A Day in Florence|
|8:00 AM||Breakfast in Florence, Shopping & Antiquing in Downtown Florence|
|12:00 PM||Lunch, Bike along the river, Art Galleries|
|5:00 PM||Dinner in Florence|
|8:00 AM||Breakfast, Drive along the Scenic Gold Belt Byway, Phantom Canyon Road, High Park Road|
|12:00 PM||Lunch, Golfing or Fly Fishing|
photos courtesy > Char Lindner