Hiking Trails in Colorado | Arkansas River Canyon Rim Trail

Trail Information

Trail Name: Arkansas River Canhon Rim TrailArkansas River Canyon 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

Mosquitoes: 0

Trail Research

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.

Hiking Trails in Colorado | Arkansas River Canyon Rim Trail

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.

Drive to the Royal Gorge

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.

Drive to the Royal Gorge

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.Royal Gorge Trailhead

It didn’t take long to get some great views of the canyon and we also found some interesting cacti along the trail.Arkansas River Canyon Rim Trail

Arkansas River Canyon Rim Trail

Arkansas River Canyon Rim 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.

ICETrekkers Diamond Grip Traction Cleats (1 Pair), Medium (Men's 6.5-9/Women's 7.5-10), Black
  • 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.

Arkansas River Canyon Rim Trail

We went off trail a little to get to a higher vantage point and were rewarded with some great views of the area.

Arkansas River Canyon Rim Trail

Arkansas River Canyon Rim Trail

We were also able to see some incredible views of Pike Peak looking at it from the south side.

Pikes Peak from the South

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.

Arkansas River Canyon Rim Trail Panomarma

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.

Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge

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.

Royal Gorge Ride Across the Rim

The suspension bridge is one you need to experience and there is a restaurant and gift shop there as well.

Royal Gorge Restaurant

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.

Royal Gorge Bridge

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.

Drive through Cripple Creek Colorado

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.

Drive through Cripple Creek Colorado

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.

Cripple Creek Colorado

We ended up driving on a gorgeous highway 67 heading north from Cripple Creek, along the west side of the Pikes Peak National Park.

Drive through Cripple Creek Colorado

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.

Trail Recommendations

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.

Return to Home Page

Arkansas River Canyon Rim Trail


Scenic Drive




Mountain Views


Lake or Stream Views


Well Maintained Trails



  • 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

8 thoughts on “Hiking Trails in Colorado | Arkansas River Canyon Rim Trail”

  1. Thank you for your post. It is a timely article for me. I am going to have a meeting in Colorado and plan to have some days of vacation after the meeting.

    Here comes your article. Hiking in Colorado can be a nice choice for me. After see all the beautiful pictures, I am definitely going to do this at my meeting is at Denver. Your hiking suggestions are relevant and easy for me to access. 

    It is kind of you to spend your precious time, summarizing the information, and sharing them with us, which save me a lot of time to do the research.

    • I’m glad to help and I love going out to see these trails and then telling others about them.

      Take a look at the dynamic map on my home page and you will see a lot of incredible trails in the Denver area but there are thousands of them so don’t hesitate to ask me about my favorites or what ones have the best views.


  2. This would be my second time of hearing about the Arkansas river canyon rim trail. I’m particularly fascinated by the idea of the presence of wildlife in this trail. You mentioned that it is only 1hr and 30mins from Castle Rock which seems relatively far, but then you highlighted that it is not far enough to require an overnight stay. Frankly, that got me thinking. Have you ever had to camp overnight on any of your expeditions?

    • Hey Rhain, I have camped out on many outdoor adventures, but I enjoy staying in a condo or cabin more, but that get’s a little more expensive.

      You can tell from the map on the home page that I have a lot more trails to cover in Colorado and many of these will require an overnight stay. I’m actually planning on several overnight stays in each area so I can visit more trails.


  3. Many thanks to you for sharing such a beautiful article with us. All the other members of my family are very travel loving people .We had been planning a walk like this for a long time, but we had no idea where a trail like this was. Through your article we learned about this in more detail and where we could see some great views. 

    I will go here and watch the scene and enjoy the views of the Rocky Mountains. We liked all the amenities here and decided that we would go there soon. Thank you again for helping us with such detailed information, and I have added your site to my favorites.

    • I’m glad you liked the trail review. You know it’s always much better in person, even though I think the pictures give you a great feel for what it will really be like.

      Let me know how you liked it after you come and visit.


  4. Hi, Rick,

    Wow! Your pictures look spectacular. I imagine the actual views are even better.

    I’m not a fan of hiking, but I’ve done it every now and then. We’ve got some beautiful trails in Texas. I might explore one of them later on this year.

    I’ve never been to Denver, but it’s always good to know what places there are and what activities there are to do. I’ll keep it in mind for future reference.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • I’m glad you like the trail review.

      I’m surprised you haven’t been to Denver. It seems like every 3rd car (or truck) has a Texas license plate. 

      I love Texans, as I am a Sooner Alumni!. Actually, I do like Texas. I just have to act like I hate Texas every October.

      Thanks for stopping by and make sure you get up here and cool down, especially in the summer.



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