Facts You May or May Not Know About Colorado’s Royal Gorge Bridge
If you're afraid of heights, the Royal Gorge Bridge in Canon City, Colo. was once the highest bridge in the world. If you've never visited the Royal Gorge Bridge, either you're scared or just missing out.
Built in 1929, by Lon Piper of San Antonio, Texas and the president of the Royal Gorge Bridge and Amusement Company as a tourist attraction. The bridge spans the 1,250 feet deep Royal Gorge carved by the Arkansas River, resting 955 feet above the rushing whitewater.
While the main attraction of the area is the massive bridge, the "amusement park" also features rides for kids, a zipline across the gorge, gondola rides and of course, walking across the bridge. Automobiles can drive across the bridge before the attractions are opened or after they are closed.
The Royal Gorge Bridge wasn't built as a thoroughfare. While you can drive across it, once you get the other side, you have to turn around and drive over it again. It was really built as a tourist attraction.
Built for $350,000 -- $20 million in today's money -- the Royal Gorge Bridge came in $100,000 over budget.
We're not saying everything (or everyone) in Colorado is high, but the Royal Gorge Bridge sure is. It once held the title of highest bridge in the world until 2001. Then it held the world's highest suspension bridge until 2003. It's still the highest bridge in the US and in the top 20 highest bridges in the world.
Started on June 5, 1929, the bridge only took six months to build, finishing in November 1929. There were no deaths or serious injuries during construction.
The Royal Gorge Bridge is 1,260 feet long and covered by wood planks. 1,292 of them to be exact. Think about that the next time you want to drive across the bridge.
In 2013, a wildfire raged through the area over 2,000 acres of the bridge property. During the wildfire, 48 of the 52 outbuildings were destroyed. Amazingly, only 100 of the more than 1,200 wood planks were destroyed.
It cost a total of $30 million to make repairs to the park and bridge.
If you're afraid of heights, but still the adventurous type, there are whitewater rafting trips that run through the canyon below. These trips offer a very different vantage point of the bridge.