Nestled in the heart of Colorado, Canon City beckons adventurers and nature lovers alike with its captivating landscapes and myriad activities. This enchanting city, known for its stunning natural scenery and rich historical tapestry, offers a diverse array of attractions and things to see. In this article, we delve into the myriad things to do in Canon City, Colorado, a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be explored.
Royal Gorge Bridge and Park
|Walking across one of the world’s highest suspension bridges.||West of Canon City||Zipline adventures, gondola rides, and a delightful children’s play area.|
The Royal Gorge Bridge and Park is a must-visit destination for those seeking breathtaking views and adrenaline-pumping activities. This remarkable suspension bridge spans the impressive Royal Gorge, offering visitors an opportunity to walk high above the Arkansas River. The bridge is not only an architectural marvel but also provides stunning vistas of the surrounding canyon.
For the adventure-seekers, the park offers zipline experiences that take you soaring above the gorge, and gondola rides that offer a more relaxed way to appreciate the scenery. Families with children will appreciate the well-designed play area, making it a perfect spot for all ages to enjoy.
|Adventure Level||Popular Spots||Outfitters|
|Ranges from family-friendly float trips to challenging rapids.||The Royal Gorge and Bighorn Sheep Canyon.||Several local companies offer guided tours.|
If you’re craving an adrenaline rush, look no further than the Arkansas River. Canon City is renowned for its exceptional whitewater rafting opportunities, with options suitable for beginners and experienced paddlers alike. The river offers a diverse range of experiences, from scenic floats to thrilling rapids.
The Royal Gorge section of the Arkansas River is famous for its heart-pounding rapids, while Bighorn Sheep Canyon provides a milder adventure suitable for families. Numerous local outfitters offer guided rafting tours, ensuring you have a safe and exhilarating experience.
|Oil Well Flats, Tunnel Drive, and Red Canyon Park.||Diverse trails suitable for all skill levels.||Unique rock formations and panoramic views.|
For those who prefer to explore on foot or by bike, Canon City boasts a variety of hiking and biking trails that cater to all skill levels. Here are some notable options:
- Oil Well Flats: A popular hiking and mountain biking area with a network of trails winding through scenic canyons and offering panoramic views;
- Tunnel Drive: A historic trail following a former railroad route that leads to stunning views of the Arkansas River and the Royal Gorge Bridge;
- Red Canyon Park: Known for its striking red rock formations, this park features hiking and mountain biking trails that provide a unique and colorful outdoor experience.
Whether you’re a novice or an experienced hiker or biker, these trails allow you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the region.
|Drive||Unique Feature||Best Time to Visit|
|A scenic route with breathtaking views.||Dinosaur tracks visible along the way.||Sunset for spectacular views.|
Skyline Drive is a short but awe-inspiring scenic drive located just minutes from Canon City. This one-way road takes you along the edge of a high ridge, offering unparalleled views of the surrounding landscape. The drive is known for its dramatic vistas, especially during sunset, when the sky transforms into a breathtaking display of colors.
One unique feature of Skyline Drive is the presence of dinosaur tracks embedded in the rock formations alongside the road. These tracks provide a fascinating glimpse into the prehistoric past of the region.
Canon City Colorado History Museum
|Displays covering local history, geology, and paleontology.||A replica of a coal mine.|
The Canon City Colorado History Museum is a treasure trove of information about the region’s past. Located in the heart of Canon City, this museum offers a comprehensive look at the history, geology, and paleontology of the area. Here’s what you can expect:
- Local History: Explore exhibits that trace the evolution of Canon City, from its early days to the present. Learn about the people, industries, and events that shaped the community;
- Geology: Gain insight into the unique geological formations of the region. Discover how the landscape was formed over millions of years;
- Paleontology: Marvel at the fossils and prehistoric specimens on display. The museum’s main attraction is a faithful reproduction of a coal mine, offering visitors a tangible immersion into the historical reality of miners’ lives.
This museum is an excellent starting point for anyone interested in understanding the history and natural wonders of Canon City.
|Embark on a historic train journey through the Royal Gorge.||Dining and special event rides available.|
All aboard the Royal Gorge Route Railroad for a journey back in time! This iconic railroad offers a unique and immersive experience through the stunning Royal Gorge. Here’s what you can anticipate:
- Historic Train Journey: Step into beautifully restored train cars and travel along a historic rail route that winds its way through the Royal Gorge. As you journey through this breathtaking canyon, you’ll be transported to a bygone era;
- Dining Options: Indulge in a culinary adventure with onboard dining services. Enjoy delicious meals while taking in the picturesque scenery;
- Special Events: The Royal Gorge Route Railroad hosts various special event rides throughout the year, including holiday-themed trips and murder mystery dinners. Check their schedule for unique experiences.
Whether you’re a history buff or simply seeking a memorable scenic ride, the Royal Gorge Route Railroad offers an unforgettable journey through the region’s natural beauty.
|Interactive Attractions||Ideal For|
|Life-size dinosaur replicas and hands-on exhibits.||Families and dinosaur enthusiasts.|
If you have a fascination with dinosaurs, the Dinosaur Experience is a must-visit attraction in Canon City. This interactive museum is designed to captivate visitors of all ages. Here’s what you can look forward to:
- Life-Size Dinosaur Replicas: Encounter life-size dinosaur replicas that will transport you to the prehistoric world. These meticulously crafted displays provide a realistic glimpse of these ancient creatures;
- Hands-On Exhibits: Engage in hands-on activities and educational exhibits that allow you to learn about paleontology and the science of dinosaurs in an entertaining and interactive way.
The Dinosaur Experience is particularly well-suited for families and individuals with a keen interest in paleontology. It offers a unique opportunity to connect with the ancient past and learn about the incredible creatures that once roamed the Earth.
Culinary Delights and Local Shopping
Wineries and Breweries
Canon City is home to a burgeoning wine and craft beer scene, with wineries and breweries that offer delightful tasting experiences. Here are a couple of popular choices:
- The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey: Located in the serene setting of the Holy Cross Abbey, this winery offers a wide range of wines to tantalize your taste buds. Whether you’re a fan of reds, whites, or something in between, you’ll find a wine to suit your preferences. The winery often hosts tastings and events that allow you to sample their exceptional offerings;
- Royal Gorge Brewing Co.: If you’re more inclined toward craft beer, the Royal Gorge Brewing Co. is a must-visit. This brewery crafts a variety of beers, from hoppy IPAs to rich stouts. Enjoy a tasting flight to explore their diverse beer selection, or savor a pint of your favorite brew while taking in the laid-back atmosphere.
The wineries and breweries in Canon City provide an opportunity to savor locally crafted beverages and appreciate the flavors that define the region.
Downtown Canon City is a charming hub for local shopping, featuring an array of artisan shops and boutiques. Here’s what you can expect during your shopping excursion:
- Local Artisan Shops: Stroll along the streets of downtown and explore the unique artisan shops that showcase handmade goods, including jewelry, clothing, and home decor. You’ll find items that reflect the creativity and craftsmanship of local artisans;
- Souvenirs Reflecting Heritage: Canon City’s heritage is rich and diverse, and you can find souvenirs that pay homage to its history and culture. Look for items such as pottery, artwork, and traditional crafts that capture the essence of the region.
Exploring downtown Canon City’s shopping scene is not only an opportunity to acquire distinctive mementos but also a chance to support local businesses and artists.
|Spring||Parades, music, and local food.|
The Blossom Festival is a beloved springtime celebration in Canon City that has been a tradition for decades. Here’s what you can expect from this vibrant event:
- Parades: The festival kicks off with colorful parades that wind their way through the city streets. These parades feature various themed floats, marching bands, and community organizations, creating a lively and festive atmosphere;
- Live Music: Throughout the festival, you can enjoy live musical performances showcasing local talent. From rock and country to jazz and classical, there’s a musical genre to suit every taste;
- Local Food: Explore a wide array of culinary delights at food booths and vendors offering local and international cuisine. Savor everything from classic fair food to gourmet treats.
The Blossom Festival is a perfect occasion for families and individuals to come together, celebrate the arrival of spring, and enjoy the lively atmosphere of Canon City.
|Summer||Rafting competitions, live music, and family fun.|
The Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival is a thrilling summer event that highlights the adventurous spirit of Canon City. Here’s what you can look forward to:
- Rafting Competitions: Watch as skilled rafters navigate the challenging rapids of the Arkansas River during exciting rafting competitions. It’s a fantastic opportunity to witness the thrill and skill of whitewater rafting up close;
- Live Music: Groove to the sounds of live music performances that add to the festival’s lively atmosphere. Local and regional bands often take the stage to entertain attendees;
- Family Fun: This festival is family-friendly, with activities and attractions for all ages. From kids’ zones to vendors offering a variety of goods, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
The Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival is not only a celebration of the region’s outdoor recreational opportunities but also a chance to witness the impressive skills of rafters as they tackle the challenging waters of the Royal Gorge.
Canon City, Colorado, is a destination rich in natural beauty, history, and adventure. Whether you’re seeking thrilling outdoor activities, a dive into the past, or simply a peaceful retreat in nature, Canon City’s attractions offer something for everyone. Its unique blend of scenic wonders and cultural experiences makes it a must-visit for anyone exploring the heart of Colorado.
Q: What is the best time of year to visit Canon City?
A: Canon City, Colorado, is a year-round destination. Summers are perfect for outdoor activities, while spring and fall offer milder weather and vibrant foliage.
Q: Are there family-friendly attractions in Canon City?
A: Absolutely! From the Dinosaur Experience to gentle rafting trips and interactive museums, there are plenty of family-friendly things to see in Canon City, Colorado.
Q: How far is Canon City from major Colorado cities?
A: It’s approximately 45 miles southwest of Colorado Springs and about 115 miles south of Denver.
Q: Do I need any special equipment for outdoor activities?
A: It depends on the activity. For rafting and ziplining, most equipment is provided by tour operators. For hiking and biking, bring appropriate gear and stay prepared for changing weather.
Q: Can I find accommodations near the attractions?
A: Yes, Canon City offers a range of accommodations, from hotels and motels to camping sites, close to major attractions.