Royal Gorge Region Activities
Ditch the Crowds, Experience the Adventure
For those who want to experience real, rustic Colorado in all its bluebird-sky, whitewater, big adventure glory, the Royal Gorge Region is your destination. Combine the striking natural landscape with the area’s year-round mild weather and laid-back local vibe, and you’ve got the ideal Colorado vacation.
Expert outfitters are on-hand to take you, your friends and family rafting, biking, fishing, ATVing, zip-lining, and horseback riding.
Feel the power of the Arkansas River on one of the country’s most sought after whitewater rafting experiences as you paddle between the rugged rock walls of the Royal Gorge, or float the family-friendly Bighorn Sheep Canyon.
Cross America’s highest suspension bridge, go ziplining and feel the free-fall rush of the Skycoaster at the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park (www.royalgorgebridge.com).
Climb aboard the Royal Gorge Route Railroad (www.royalgorgeroute.com) for an unbelievable journey through the steep and narrow 10-mile-long canyon and be sure to visit the open-air car for wildlife viewing. Blue herons and bighorn sheep thrive here.
For cultural favorites, visit the area’s theaters, browse art galleries for paintings, prints and crafts, and explore local museums for a peek into local lore and dinosaur, mining and pioneer history.
Shop and sightsee, collect amazing antiques and delve into the countryside at a family-run orchard, pumpkin patch or corn maze. Drive the scenic Gold Belt Tour, walk discovery trails and search for fossils or have a relaxing picnic by the river.
Outdoor excursions span mellow to extreme. Hike at your own pace, take a guided fishing or hunting trip and see it all on a Jeep tour, guided horseback tour or an ATV tour through the Arkansas River Valley. Segway and helicopter tours are also ready for your next adventure.
From the forest to the canyon, the rushing river to our charming Main Streets, the Royal Gorge Region promises to feed your spirit and create everlasting memories.
Ready for fun?! From mild to wild, there’s a rafting trip for everyone!
Ride the Rapids
For a moderate trip of Class III rapids, take a half-day trip through Bighorn Sheep Canyon. This is a great trip for families with children and for those who like scenery alongside moderate excitement. For bigger adventure, brave the class IV rapids of the stunning Royal Gorge. Trips run daily throughout the spring, summer, and early fall months. See you on the river!
Whitewater Kayak & Recreation Park
Centennial Park features two surf waves for kayakers, rafters and river-boarders to surf and play. Onlookers enjoy a wading pool and sandstone sideline seating. The park hosts the annual Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival typically the last weekend in June. Located where 3rd Street meets the river in Cañon City, Centennial Park is a great place to enjoy the river.
Hiking & Biking the Royal Gorge Region
Add some adventure to your visit by checking out one - or a few! - of the Royal Gorge Region’s trails. Offering something for every ability level, the region continues to add miles of new trails each year. Stunning views, wildflowers, and unique geology are ready to greet you on your trail adventure!
Royal Gorge Park
The Royal Gorge Park trails wind through piñon and juniper trees throughout the area, boasting trails from relatively easy to advanced. The Canyon Rim Trail offers up breathtaking views of the gorge, but be aware of exposed areas as you make your way along the trail. Other area trails are generally of intermediate difficulty as they meander throughout the park, and even connect with the Cañon City East Ridge Campground.
Arkansas Riverwalk Trail
The Riverwalk Trail runs through some of the most scenic parts of Cañon City. Along the 7-mile stretch of trail, you’ll track the river’s course through the city, passing historic properties, open farmland, cottonwood groves, and city parks. The Riverwalk Trail is mostly a flat, wide maintained trail that is open during all seasons; perfect for families and cruiser bike rides!
Oil Well Flats
One of the most popular and extensive trail systems in the area, Oil Well Flats offers up about 12 miles of singletrack trails. Cruise through high desert as you ascend the Unconformity or Fire Canyon trails toward the high point of Island in the Sky for spectacular views of Cañon City and beyond to the Wet Mountains and the Sangre de Cristo range.
*For complete maps and directions to trailheads, grab a free copy of FAR’s 2018 Recreation & Trail Guide, available at the Cañon City Chamber of Commerce, Red Canyon Cycles (410 Main Street, Cañon City), and several other locations throughout the Royal Gorge Region. See www.joinfar.org/adventureguide for more information!
The Royal Gorge Region has some of the best trails in Colorado for ATV and 4-wheel fun at the Texas Creek Recreation Area. Detailed maps are available at Cañon City Chamber of Commerce, and the Visitors Center Cabin.
Clearance varies on these routes, and the network links some ATV sections with 4-wheel drive. There are miles and miles of trails and tracks. Among the most popular 4-wheel drive routes are Bull Gulch (606), Fremont County Road 27 (27), Fernleaf Gulch Connector (6020) and Reese Gulch Bypass (6024). Popular with ATVers are East Arkansas River Overlook (6025), Cut Off (6036) and Tucker Trail (6035).
Always consult maps, check weather forecast in advance; and be aware of the BLM regulations.
The Royal Gorge Region also has several guide services – a great idea for novice riders or folks unfamiliar with Rocky Mountain terrain. Visit the combined BLM/USFS regional office at 3028 E. Main Street, Cañon City for regulations, trail maps and other outdoor recreation information.
The Royal Gorge Region is no stranger to rock climbing. Boasting one of Colorado’s largest sport climbing destinations, Shelf Road, the region is a year-round destination for rock climbers. With a wealth of cliff options at Shelf Road, you will find plenty of sunny or shady climbing areas at most of the climbing sites. The lesser-known but still awe-inspiring Tanner Dome offers adventurers single and multi-pitch climbs as well as sport and traditional/mixed routes. You’ll find the climbing area by heading south on Oak Creek Grade Road, and approach via the East Bear Gulch Trail. Please note: The Tanner Dome area is closed to climbing from April 1st to August 1st for peregrine falcon nesting.
Road rides across the Royal Gorge Region offer up the opportunity to traverse some of the area’s most scenic roads as you take in iconic vistas. If hitting the pavement is your thing, the Royal Gorge Region has a ride for you. A locals’ favorite, the 30-mile Red Canyon Road Ride will treat you to historic ranches with sweeping desert views. The Hardscrabble Loop is a century test piece, taking you all the way up to scenic Westcliffe and back. Lastly, consider the 68-mile Phantom Canyon/Shelf Road ride to travel along part of the Gold Belt Byway. For complete information and maps of these rides, grab a free copy of the 2017 Recreation & Trail Guide by Fremont Adventure Recreation at the Cañon City Chamber of Commerce, Red Canyon Cycles, and other area locations. Or see the web to download your own copy: www.joinfar.org/adventureguide