Trail Name: Arkansas River Canhon Rim Trail
Location: West of Carson City, Colorado
Date: January 12, 2020
Time at the Trail Head: 9:30 am
Trail Length: 5.4 miles
Elevation Gain: 610 feet
Elev. at Trail Head: 6,740 feet
# of Hikers Passed: 2
# of Mnt. Bikers Passed: 0
# of Horses Passed: 0
I started looking farther away from Denver and Colorado Springs to find an interesting trail that would have some incredible views and may even be different from other trails I have been hiking recently.
I found this trail using AllTrails near the Royal Gorge over the Arkansas River. The trail is rated as easy but it looks to have some different, beautiful pictures of an incredible canyon and the suspension bridge over the Royal Gorge.
This is only a 1 hour and 45 minute drive from Castle Rock, so it was far enough out to get away from the thousands of hikers in the Denver area but not too far to require an extremely long day or an overnight stay, which may have been nice.
Drive to the Trail
The drive to the trail took us from the south side of Denver, through Colorado Springs and on to Colorado State Highway 115. This drive is beautiful but begins to get into a more arid section of Colorado, near Pueblo.
We turned west to head through Canyon City and then on to the Royal Gorge park to our trailhead. This is a pretty drive but not as beautiful as the drive we took home through Cripple Creek, which I show you pictures of at the end of the trail review.
Our Day on the Trail
The trailhead has a nice parking lot and bathroom facilities, however, there looks to only be about 8 or 10 parking spaces.
It didn’t take long to get some great views of the canyon and we also found some interesting cacti along the trail.
Most of the trail was dry but there were patches of ice and snow. We never did put on our ICETrekkers but one member of our hiking group did find himself on the ground from a slip on the ice during the hike. If you don’t own something like ICETrekkers, take a look at these below and make sure you have them as part of your hiking gear.
- Shoe grips designed to provide aggressive traction in winter walking conditions
- Made of case-hardened steel alloy and strung on steel aircraft cable
- Riveted to tough rubber sling that fits tennis shoes, boots and dress shoes
- Sling remains elastic even in subzero temperatures to keep grips secure
- Self-clearing design prevents snow and ice buildup
The trail is easy to walk for most of the trail but near the east end, the trail does climb 400 to 600 feet to a nice view of the canyon, especially looking back to the west.
We went off trail a little to get to a higher vantage point and were rewarded with some great views of the area.
We were also able to see some incredible views of Pike Peak looking at it from the south side.
We found ourselves on the end of a ridge halfway through the hike where we were able to have 360 degree vies of the canyon and surrounding mountains. It was a little cold on this January day but the views were spectacular.
It wasn’t long before we found ourself near the end of the hike but make sure you finish the hike as you will get some incredible views of the canyon and the suspension bridge over the Royal Gorge.
If you look closely, you can see 6 gondolas, 3 traveling in each direction, passing each other high above the Arkansas River over the Royal Gorge.
The suspension bridge is one you need to experience and there is a restaurant and gift shop there as well.
I believe there is also a zip line course that takes you near the edge of the canyon or over part of it. You can read more about it here. Click on the image below.
It was a great trail to hike and the views of the canyon and the Royal Gorge Bridge were impressive, however, the drive home through Cripple Creek may have been my favorite part of the trip.
Drive from the Trail
We finished our hike and had a little extra time so we decided to see if there was a different way home. It didn’t take me long to find a drive through Cripple Creek on Colorado Highway 11.
There were so many spectacular views, and this was my first time to visit this area. Let’s just say it won’t be my last time.
We drove through the town of Cripple Creek, where there are some old mine buildings and a new, massive mine on the mountain north of Cripple Creek. I believe it is a gold mine.
You can read more about Cripple Creek by clicking on the image below.
We ended up driving on a gorgeous highway 67 heading north from Cripple Creek, along the west side of the Pikes Peak National Park.
This was spectacular to say the least and an area of Colorado that is easy to reach and one you should put on your to do list.
Have I ever told you how much I love living in Colorado? Well, I do, and this is a trail you need to visit and a drive you need to take. It is absolutely breathtaking here.
Check out this short video of the Arkansas River Canyon Rim Trail on YouTube.
I would love to know if you have had any experience on this trail or have other trails you love to hike. Leave a Comment Below or send me an Email.
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Arkansas River Canyon Rim Trail
Lake or Stream Views8.0/10
Well Maintained Trails8.0/10
- Views of the Royal Gorge Bridge
- Easy Trail to Hike
- Incredible Canyon Views
- Trail Easy to Access
- Grand Views of the Rocky Mountains
- Climate is More Dry
- Cost to Access the Bridge