In life, one has a choice
to take one of two paths: to wait for some special day--or to celebrate each
Visitors to the Royal Gorge Bridge could be forgiven for hurrying past the sign pointing the way to Canyon Rim Trail on their way to the spectacular main attraction -- but this trail gives visitors a chance to explore the park further and experience what may be a very different kind of terrain than they are used to. The trail head is located on the road to the bridge across from the main picnic area. The Canyon Rim Trail is a wonderful addition to the park and worth exploring. You'll be treated to overlooks of the river and incredible views of the Wet Mountains and the Sangre de Cristos in the distance. Coming from Appalachia, the plants and southern Colorado terrain fascinate me, it's all so different. It was HOT the day I went -- very glad to have a wide-brimmed hat, water bottle and sunscreen! There's not much in terms of elevation gain in the first section, so that part was helpful. While much of the trail is inland from the actual canyon gorge, there are many overlooks you come to along the way. No fences or guard rails ... so be careful with kids and pets. The trail ends at the East Ridge Campground.
Directions: From Cañon City, take US Hwy 50 West to the turnoff for the Royal Gorge (County Road 3A). Turn left and continue on 3A for ~3.5 miles until you reach a picnic area on the right side of the road, park here. The trailhead is across the road, at the fork, go left.
To see stunning views of the gorge and the bridge, take the right fork at the trailhead for the Overlook Loop Trail.