Royal Gorge Bridge & Park

Cañon City, Colorado | C.1929

Photo Credit: Accidentally Wes Anderson

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Huddled together like three tourists with a fear of heights, these gondolas run parallel to what was once the highest bridge in the world. Spanning across a deep canyon, the Royal Gorge Bridge was an engineering marvel upon its construction, completed in only 7 months – and primarily made of wood . While it may be an awe-inspiring view, it’s a 955 ft drop to the Arkansas River below. *Gulp* 

Unlike many bridges across the globe, this one wasn’t constructed for necessary transit, but rather simply for the beautiful view. Having a dream to construct a pedestrian viewing bridge for visitors to access the naturally beautiful Royal Gorge, Texas businessman Lon Piper’s vision came to fruition with the completion of the 1,260 ft long bridge in 1929. Its formidable steel towers would carry the weight of the world’s highest suspension bridge until 2001 when it was surpassed by the Liuguanghe Bridge in China.

Over the years, different attractions were added to the surrounding park area in an effort to promote the massive structure. A restaurant, zipline, aerial trams, and even a funicular to the river below were constructed for any thrill-seeking sightseer to enjoy. 

In 2013, a powerful wildfire swept through the parkland area, destroying every attraction in its path but  the steel-rodded bridge evaded destruction and remained fully intact. Even the 1,292 wooden planks that cover the pathway survived, with only 100 of them getting slightly singed. Reopening two years later with a brand-new visitor center (displaying all 100 damaged planks on its entry facade), zip line, and gondola system, the park and its world-famous bridge is back once again daring you to look down through the walkway planks. On that note–we triple-dog dare you. 

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