Need help planning your Royal Gorge vacation?
There is so much to see and do in the region, planning a trip can be overwhelming. Knowing the area attractions and activities, we’ve put together some action-packed single-day itineraries that will make the most of your time. Looking for an adventure that you might not see listed below? Contact us.
Day 1: Royal Gorge Highlights – Jeep, Train, Bridge & Wine
Day 2: Family Fun at Royal Gorge – Bridge & Riverwalk
Day 3: Active Thrillseekers – Rafting & Bowling
Need a place to stay? See the Hotels & Homes and Campgrounds pages for our recommendations.
Day 1 – Jeep, Train, Bridge & Wine Tasting
Royal Gorge Highlights
MORNING: Take a Royal Gorge region 3.5 hour off-road Jeep & Zip Line Tour with Colorado Jeep Tours, 8am check-in, back at Noon. Includes a zip line ride over the Royal Gorge during the jeep tour. See the famous Skyline Drive on your way back into town.
TIP: You’ll bypass the Cloudscraper Zip Line waiting line (and not be standing in the sun), by riding the zip during a jeep tour, since you’ll already have an advance reservation. Also, it’s generally best to ride the zip in the morning, as passing thunderstorms and high winds can close down the rides on summer afternoons.
Bonus: Royal Gorge jeep tours with Colorado Jeep Tours include FREE admission tickets to the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park to be used within 24 hours of the jeep tour. Go back the same evening or the next day. When you return to the Royal Gorge Bridge you can see the Visitor’s Center, check out the theater and historical Royal Gorge exhibits, ride the gondola and carousel, and take the kids to the Playland, all at no extra charge.
NOON: Ride the Royal Gorge Route Railroad, on the 12:30pm departure. The Depot is located 10 minutes west of Colorado Jeep Tours. Take a 2-hour train ride along the Arkansas River at the bottom of the Royal Gorge. Enjoy a gourmet lunch on the train by executive chef Jeremy (order onboard from the friendly servers). See the rafters floating by on the river. Spot gold miners panning on the riverside. Watch for wildlife on the side of the gorge rock walls. The train returns to the Depot at 2:30pm.
Lunch aboard the Royal Gorge Route Railroad: Enjoy a Basil Chicken Panini or grass-fed angus & buffalo burger. Pair with a glass of beer or wine, or enjoy a cocktail from the full bar.
TIP: Book the VIP Dome car on the train for the biggest window views and most comfortable dining table seating! However, if you have mobility issues and cannot climb a short flight of stairs we recommend the Club car, which provides room for wheelchairs under 24″. The train offers a lift device that will raise anyone on to the train who is unable to climb the exterior 5-7 stairs, but the Dome car is not accessible to wheelchairs or individuals who cannot navigate stairs.
AFTERNOON: Book a 3pm VIP Wine Tasting at the Winery at the Holy Cross Abbey (located 10 minutes east of the train depot) with a private hostess on the covered patio or on the picnic tables at the winery, overlooking the grassy yard under the trees near the grape vines.
Enjoy a sampling of all Abbey wines, including reserves, along with selected artisan cheeses, breads, fruits and chocolates that best accompany each wine. Allow 2 hours to enjoy the experience. Complete your tasting at 5pm and go to dinner.
TIP: Browse the winery’s gift shop for upscale, locally-made and wine-related souvenirs that you’ll actually use (and drink) when you get home.
EVENING: For dinner, enjoy wok-made grilled entries or the full sushi bar at Mo Mo’s, located in the heart of Cañon City, about halfway between the train depot and Abbey Winery. Or, if you have time…
Drive back to the Royal Gorge Bridge for dinner at Cafe 1230 overlooking the Royal Gorge to watch the sunset. Use your free tickets provided from your jeep tour for admission to the park. Be sure to have your bridge tickets validated for FREE next day re-entry to the park before leaving!
Day 2 – Bridge & Arkansas Riverwalk
Family Fun at Royal Gorge
MORNING: Visit the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park first thing in the morning with the FREE general admission tickets received from Colorado Jeep Tours after the previous day’s Royal Gorge jeep tour. (Note: That’s a $28/person savings from admission buying tickets separately!). The park’s Visitor’s Center, rides and attractions open at 10am.
TIP: Ride the red gondola first when you arrive at the Visitor’s Center, to the south side of the park. It’s included in your admission, and you can ride as many times as you’d like. Experience the extreme rides on the south side of the park – if you dare – (at an extra charge) then walk DOWNHILL back across the bridge to the Visitor’s Center. You’ll enjoy the park more if you do this, especially on hot summer days.
NOON: Have lunch at the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park – at Cafe 1230 at the Visitor’s Center on the north side of the bridge, or Bridge View BBQ on the south side of the bridge. Both Bridge restaurants are excellent, but the BBQ brisket is arguably to die for. You’ll not only enjoy a wonderful meal at either, but the views of the gorge from both simply can’t be beat.
AFTERNOON: Hop on a Segway near the Royal Gorge Bridge in the afternoon, on your way back to Canon City, for a ride on the dirt track. It’s the only one of its kind in the world, featuring BMX-style hills, dips and lots of off-road thrills. A fun time for everyone in the family. Easy to learn and exciting to ride.
EVENING: Dinner at Pizza Madness, located in the historic downtown Cañon City district. Enjoy award-winning, handcrafted pizza, fresh salads, made to order calzones and fresh baked sandwiches in the eclectic dining room, filled with unique artwork and even a few arcade games to keep the kids entertained while you dine.
TIP: Order the really big pizza and have leftovers for those late-night munchies or as an on-the-go snack the next day.
Walk off your pizza feast by taking a stroll on the tree-lined dirt trail of the Arkansas Riverwalk, that runs for several miles through Cañon City. We suggest that you park near the duck pond at Centennial Park where you’ll have plenty of lighted parking and restrooms. Walk over the historic bridge, past the Railroad Depot for some trainspotting, and continue walking East.
For added adventure during your walk, download the Geocaching.com app and search for geocaches along the trail. There are a number of really fun ones! Before heading to the Arkansas Riverwalk, be sure to stop by You Scream Treat Emporium for your favorite coffee drink or ice cream to enjoy during your stroll.
Day 3 – Whitewater Rafting & Bowling
Active Thrillseekers Adventures
ALL DAY: Get your heart pumping on the third day of your Royal Gorge region adventure by booking a full-day rafting package from Raft Masters, available from mid-May through Labor Day. You’ll shoot the rapids in the morning, enjoy a riverside lunch of sandwiches, chips, fresh fruit, vegetables, and drinks, then head back out on the river for an afternoon for more thrilling whitewater rafting on the Arkansas River. A day of adrenaline and family memories you won’t soon forget!
TIP: Since you booked the full day Raft package, your lunch is included, saving you time and money on your full-day adventure with Raft Masters.
EVENING: After an awesome day of whitewater rafting, you’ll need some time to chill and wind down after an adrenaline-packed day. Bowl a few games with your family and friends, fill your belly with delicious pub-grub, and relive the memories of the day. Enjoy a casual grilled meal at Cañon City Lanes while you bowl and wind down.
TIP: Looking to wet your whistle later into the evening? Cañon City Lanes has a full bar and a seasonal outdoor patio.