Royal Gorge was spectacular: the cliffs, the bridge, the river, the train and the sun. Amazing!
Nothing brings me to awe like a canyon. Whether I’m looking down into the abyss or gazing up at cliffs, I marvel at the vastness, at the colors, the sculptures carved by wind, water, frost and upheaval.
This week we took the Royal Gorge Route Railroad through another amazing canyon.
I fell in love with canyons as a boy growing up in Utah, where Dad was stationed from 1960-65. We would vacation frequently at Zion Canyon National Park and visited Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon once each. I returned with my traveling companion in 2006 to the Grand Canyon and in 2007 to Bryce and Zion. Then in 2011 we visited Canyonlands, which I hadn’t visited in my youth. That year we also rafted on white water through the New River Gorge in West Virginia.
This week we took in Royal Gorge. Whether hiking on the canyon floor, hiking along the canyon rim, riding a train or a raft through a canyon or riding horseback along the canyon rim, I am overwhelmed by the majesty of the cliffs, the mountains, the river.
Photos don’t nearly capture it all. But I try. Here are some photos of Royal Gorge, followed by some favorites from canyons past.
I can’t imagine how they built this bridge, more than 1,000 feet above the canyon floor. We got great views of it from both directions and underneath on the train ride.
I zoomed in for a closer look at the bridge.
The bridge is magnificent, especially from below.
Along the gorge wall are the remains of a wooden water main, built by 19th-century prison inmates to bring water to Cañon City.
From the train we saw prospectors (tourists, I suspect) panning for gold in the Arkansas River.
Crevices in the cliffs add to the fascination at every bend in the river.
Me on the train going through the Gorge.
Both in the tight spots and the wide spots, the canyon is breathtaking.
After riding the train through the canyon, we drove up to the rim. Royal Gorge Bridge and park were closed because of damage from wildfires. We could view the bridge and the gorge from one overlook that was open. You can see the burnt trees beyond the bridge.
A closer look at the burned trees around the Royal Gorge rim. But look closer …
Are those green shoots plants that survived the wildfire? Or is new life already returning to the canyon rim after the June fires?
The Arkansas River and the Royal Gorge Route Railroad from above on the approach to the gorge.
My traveling companion and I visited the Grand Canyon in 2006.
My favorite canyon ever is Bryce Canyon, which I visited as a child and again in 2007.
My companion and I visited Zion Canyon in 2007, too.
We visited Canyonlands in 2011.
My companion and I rode the rapids of the New River Gorge in 2011. Don’t ask whether we managed to stay in our raft.