The Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge is the highest bridge in the United States and held the title of tallest bridge in the world from it’s completion in 1929 until 2001.
After visiting High Steel Bridge, I started to research the tallest bridges in the world and found the Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge near the top of that list. Since I was planning on going to the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, I decided a little trip down to see this modern marvel would be worthwhile.
Built over 5 months in 1929, the $350,000 project was completed without a death or serious injury. The bridge was built mostly as a tourist attraction. Their best year was actually 2015, with 350,000 visitors. They estimate that 29 million have visited in total.
The first thing you notice is that it’s pedestrian-only. With the exception of a few over-sized golf carts shuttling people from side to side, you’re free to take your sweet time roaming on the deck of the bridge taking photos and uneasily peeking over the edge. Passenger cars are able to cross the bridge outside of the park’s operating hours.
When you look over, you’ll notice all kinds of activity happening 955 feet below you. There is the Royal Gorge train which travels the length of the gorge giving you a view of the bridge from the riverside. That would have been great, but I didn’t have time for that. So, I’ll just look all the way down to the train.
You’re also likely to see whitewater rafters making their way through the rapids of the Arkansas River below.
If peering over the edge doesn’t do it for you, you can always peer between the 1,292 wooden slats of the bridge deck.
Make no mistake, 955 ft is a long way down. Why, that’s taller than Columbia Center, Seattle’s tallest building.
Making it all possible are the hard-working suspension cables. Additionally, they’ve added some wind cables that help prevent swaying during high winds. I would have liked to have seen how much the bridge swayed without them, because it was rocking pretty well in the wind today.
In June 2013, the park faced off against a wildfire that jumped the gorge and burned through 3,218 acres. The bridge held firm, sustaining damage to only 100 deck planks. Unfortunately 48 of the park’s 52 buildings burned away, meaning a total rebuild would be necessary.
At a cost of $30 million, the park was mostly rebuilt with many new attractions. The gondola, zipline and sky coaster are all things I’m sure original planners didn’t have in mind at the turn of the century.
Photo of Uncle Brian for scale.
All along the bridge, each state flag waves in the considerable breeze. Naturally, I had to capture a shot of my home state’s flag.
Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge is in Canon City, about an hour and a half from Colorado Springs. For the scenic minded, I highly suggest taking the longer way along Route 24. Visit the official website for hours and admission fees.
Hello, there! GREAT post and pictures. I was wondering if I might be able to use a couple of the pictures in a slide show at a Church function in a week or two. If this would be possible, please let me know. My e-mail is email@example.com. Thank you!
Go for it – tell your congregation to come and visit me! Thanks for reading!
I was there 11 years ago, before the fire. Glad to see they rebuilt it, and great pix of your visit.