Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Royal Gorge and Colorado Springs

On our last day in Pueblo West we went to a scenic tourist attraction just outside of Canon CO. They Royal Gorge is a deep canyon carved out by the Arkansas River. Just before the 1929 stock market crash, a suspension bridge over the gorge was started. Unlike many projects, it was not postponed and was completed within the year.

Royal Gorge had been a tourist destination long before that and has continued to be to this day. 

It is a City park with free entry, but there is a $22 per Senior charge to ride the Gondola and walk across the bridge.

Note: I often mention the cost of things for other RVers, and for my own memories.

For additional charges, a person could also ride a Zip Line over the Gorge, or ride the Skycoaster.

The Skycoaster involves being strapped into a harness with one or two other people, pulled backward toward the top of another high tower, and then dropped so that you swing back and forth over the edge of the gorge. 

Neither of us had the desire to do either of these things, but it was fun to watch.

On Thursday we headed north to Colorado Springs. 

Image from Web
Since we arrived and got settled by early afternoon, we had time to go and explore the small town of Manatou Springs.

The historic storefronts are now mostly gift shops and eateries catering to tourists. We did not walk around town because the parking was so limited, and this type of shopping doesn't interest us.

Instead we went to the Miramont Castle, which isn't really a castle at all. It is a 14,000 square Foot National Historic Landmark that was built in 1895 as a private residence, for a very rich priest and his mother.  It seems he never really took to the concpt of the vows of poverty followed by his order!

Over the years it has seen several other uses including apartments for returning soldiers after WWII,  and now belongs to the Manitou Historic Society which has restored it and uses it as a museum.

I thought the $8 each admission was quite reasonable, and enjoyed the many collections on display.

We stayed at Goldfields RV Park, which although small, with relatively tight spaces, was conveniently located near our two main destinations, Pikes Peak and the Garden of the Gods.

We decided to go up Pikes Peak first, but as we headed out, we noticed the sky was a bit overcast. We thought the weather looked bad on the mountain, so we turned around and went to the Garden. 

Sure enough, although there was no rain at the lower levels in the morning, the clouds were heavy on the mountain tops.  Later that afternoon, after we had returned to the Alfa, there was a brief but very heavy rain.

The Garden of the Gods is not really a "garden." The story goes that one of the early land speculators commented that it would be a good place for a Beer Garden. Another then said it would be a good place for a gathering of the Gods. Since then it has been known as the Garden of the Gods.

By now, my readers know we love to see and photograph interesting rocks.

The formations in the Garden of the Gods are large sandstone masses that have been thrust up to be perpendicular to their original  horizontal orientation. 

It's hard to imagine these huge formations were once far underground, or that at one time the land, which has now eroded away, was high enough to cover them.

The Hall of Time illustrated the passage of time and the changes to the land over the eons.

This was one of our favorites

We got a little lost as we walked among the huge sandstone rocks, and ended up walking down one of the roads toward the shuttle stop, rather than staying on the labyrinth of paved pathways. We probably walked more than two miles, but the day was cool and sunny, and the scenery was fantastic. 

The following morning the air was crisp and clear. From our spot in the park the sky was a clear bight blue.  So after a leisurely breakfast, we set out to drive up Pikes Peak. 

When we paid the modest toll at the park entrance, we were told we would not be able to go all the way to the top, because about two feet of snow had fallen the night before.

The two lane road up was winding but smoothly paved. There was no snow or ice on the pavement.

We stopped at many of the scenic pullouts. 

As we went higher there were patches of snow among the rocks.

We were able to drive to about 12,800 ft., and stop at the "16 mile" lot where there was parking for the summit shuttles. Several were parked, waiting for word that the road was open above.

It was quite cold (about 28 F), with a brisk wind. We got out of the Jeep to take a few pictures, crunching across the ice-covered muddy lot.

We decided not to climb the rocks like some of the others, preferring the sheltering warmth of the Jeep.

We stayed there for about a half hour, but the attendants did not think the road to the summit would be opened for the shuttles anytime soon. We may come back this way again someday and be able to go to the top, but for now we are satisfied by what we saw.

The drive back down was equally exciting. I have to admit that I was glad we were on the inside lane for most of the way.

I really like Colorado Springs, and wouldn't mind returning. We were able to take care of several "city" errands, including an appointment at an Apple store for a minor, free repair, a stop at a Costco, a stop at a Trader Joe's, and dinner at a Schlotzsky's sandwich shop.  I think a "Colorado Fall Tour", when the aspens are turning color, may be in our future plans. 

Next stop: Loveland, Estes Park, and the Rocky Mountain National Park. 


  1. Great pictures. The aspens in the fall are beautiful. We were there in late September, 2010.

  2. Love your pictures and all the wonderful scenery. Continued safe travels.

  3. We lived wandering through Garden of the Gods. Got lost a couple of times. And we got to the top. It was windy and cold and Jim was having a little trouble breathing so we didn't stay too long.

  4. Loved your photos today...thank you for sharing! the temps sound wonderful after a record high of 98 today in Bradenton, FL. Sigh....

    1. [From Craig] How about "compared to" instead of "after"?

  5. Good shots of a beautiful area.

  6. Love the scenery that you were able to see. Hopefully you will have better luck getting to the top in the fall.
    Be Safe and Enjoy your exploration.

    It's about time.


Leave a comment, or send an email.