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shelter in the gorge and explored the area, descending on horseback over the frozen Arkansas River. Nearby Cañon City was founded in 1860 to exploit possible mineral deposits in the area. Discovery of silver and lead near Leadville in 1877 prompted a race to build rail access to the area. Royal Gorge was a bottleneck along the Arkansas too narrow for both the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway and the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad to pass through, and there was no other reasonable access to the South Park area. Both railroad crews thus took to fighting the "Royal Gorge Railroad War", two years of essentially low-level guerrilla warfare between the two companies. Federal intervention prompted the so-called "Treaty of Boston" to end the fighting. The D&RGW completed its line and leased it for use by the Santa Fe.

In the 1890s Royal Gorge was used as a passenger route for transcontinental rail travel. As many as four trains per day went through the gorge, though in time the establishment of alternate routes through the mountains made the Royal Gorge fall from favor for transcontinental use, and passenger train service on the main line was discontinued in 1967.

A sightseeing train now follows the route through the gorge. The Royal Gorge Route Railroad now operates excursion trains through the Royal Gorge throughout the year. The train travels 12-miles through the canyon from Cañon City, Colorado to Parkdale and return. In 1929 Cañon City authorized the building of the Royal Gorge Bridge, which at 955 feet (291 m) above the river held the record of highest bridge in the world from 1929 to 2001. The bridge forms the kernel of Royal Gorge Park, a theme park owned and run by the city.

Ref: DP660

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The Narrow Gorge

Royal Gorge


United States.


The Narrow Gorge - Royal Gorge

The Royal Gorge (also Grand Canyon of the Arkansas) is a canyon on the Arkansas River near Cañon City, Colorado. With a width of 50 feet (15 m) at its base and a few hundred feet at its top, and a depth of 1,250 feet (380 m) in places, the 10-mile-long canyon is a narrow, steep gorge through the granite of Fremont Peak. It is one of the deepest canyons in Colorado. Before European settlement, Native Americans of the Ute people wintered in Royal Gorge for its protection from wind and relatively mild climate.

The Comanche, Kiowa, Sioux, and Cheyenne used Royal Gorge on buffalo hunting expeditions as an access point to mountain meadow regions such as South Park Basin. Colorado's Rocky Mountain region fell under Spanish claims, and conquistador expeditions of the 17th century or fur traders may have seen Royal Gorge in their traversal of the area. he first recorded instance of a European arrival, however, is the Pike expedition of 1806. Zebulon Pike’s group built a crude