Cañon City is an epic whitewater town known for Arkansas River rafting and the Royal Gorge. The Arkansas River cuts through the famous gorge just west of downtown.
The town of around 16,400 people in 2010, resides at 5,332 feet in elevation in Fremont County. Cañon City was settled in 1860 and incorporated twelve years later on April 3rd, 1872.
Arkansas River – World class whitewater rafting exist minutes from town and there are a number of outfits to choose from. Arkansas River Rafting is available from June thru September, weather and water levels pending. Fishing on the river is also top notch. The headwaters of the river begin around Leadville, flowing south to Buena Vista, then Salida, and east to Cañon City and onto Pueblo and the Great Plains.
Royal Gorge – The world’s highest suspension bridge hovers 1,053 feet over the Royal Gorge. There are a number of rides and attractions at the park in addition to the bridge including a cliff walk, aerial tram, incline railway, and Royal Rush Skycoaster.
Read about the best things to do in Cañon City.
- Arkansas Headwaters State Park has several campgrounds between Salida and Cañon City. Take Highway 50 west of town. Signs mark the sections for the state park.
- Royal Gorge Bridge & Park has public land open for camping. Camping is permitted in established campgrounds only. Sites include a table and fire pit, and there are bathrooms and bear-proof trash bins around.
- Read about the camping near Cañon City and the Royal Gorge.
- Take Highway 50 west of town and fish along the Arkansas River.
- Walk along the Arkansas River right in the town of Cañon City.
- Head southwest to the San Isabel National Forest for a number of awesome hiking trails, like Tanner Trail pictured above.
Hotels and lodging:
- Read about the best hotels in Cañon City.
- Read about the cabin rentals and glamping near Cañon City.
Being a tourist town there’s plenty to choose from for food. Stop by Royal Gorge Brewing in downtown for awesome food and atmosphere.
- Read about the wineries and cideries near Cañon City.
May – Cañon City Music & Blossom Festival – Weekend music festival kicking off the start of summer in Cañon City held at the beginning of May.
May – Royal Gorge Rodeo – Part of the above Music & Blossom Festival in early May, the Royal Gorge Rodeo is Colorado’s oldest continually running rodeo, held over two days.
Jul – Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival – Couple days of land and water competitions around the Arkansas River. Enter the games or just watch the fun from the Royal Gorge in late July.
Activities near Cañon City
- Badger Creek Ranch (48mi)
- Arkansas River
- Garden Park Fossil Area (6mi)
- Guffey Gorge (40mi)
- Indian Springs Trace Fossil Natural Area (10mi)
- Pike National Forest
- San Isabel National Forest
- Skagway Power Plant (39mi)
State Wildlife Areas:
- Hogback Open Space Recreation Area (5mi)
- John Griffin Regional Park (2mi)
- Red Canyon Park (11mi)
- Temple Canyon Park (6mi)
- Coaldale (38mi)
- Colorado Springs (46mi)
- Cotopaxi (33mi)
- Cripple Creek (49mi)
- Guffey (32mi)
- Hartsel (57mi)
- Hillside (37mi)
- Howard (46mi)
- Pueblo (40mi)
- Poncha Springs (62mi)
- Salida (58mi)
- Silver Cliff (mi)
- Texas Creek (26mi)
- Walsenburg (87mi)
- Wellsville (52mi)
- Westcliffe (48mi)