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20 Best & Fun Things To Do In Canon city (Colorado)

The Cañon City Area is steeped with geological significance.

From scenic drives and hikes to mining camps and resorts, so much of Cañon City has been shaped by the mountains that fill its horizon.

Home of the world-famous Royal Gorge Bridge & Park. The area offers a variety of outdoor activities for the entire family year-round.

Hunting, fishing (and the best fly-fishing in the nation), boating, rafting. Bicycling, golfing, hiking, swimming, camping, horseback riding, ATV trips, and mountain climbing are all available in this city.

Cañon City is the seat of Fremont County and it’s a popular destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts of all types.

Here you can take a ride along the rim of the Royal Gorge with Colorado Jeep Tours. They also can take you along the Gold Belt Tour through the late 1800s mining districts of Cripple Creek and Victor.

All of their tours are breathtakingly scenic and accommodate most ages and abilities.

The City also offers shopping in its Historic Downtown, award-winning wine tasting at the Winery at Holy Cross Abbey.

There’s plenty of fun, excitement, beauty, and spirit in the Canon City area.

Things To Do In Cañon City

1. Whitewater Rafting Adventure

Whitewater Rafting Adventure

Photo: Whitewater Rafting Adventure

Pack your bags, prepare yourself for the Whitewater rafting adventure.

Grip your paddle as though your life depended on it and dig into the whitewater as your guide rolls out instructions from behind.

You get to feel the spray of the river as your raft navigates the rapids and your adrenaline spirals to exciting levels.
River rafting has become a ‘must-do’ activity for anyone visiting Cañon City.

Not only is it electrifying, it’s an excellent way to experience the insane scenery of Colorado’s most famous landmark.
For a big adventure, go early in the season, when snow runoff is at its peak.

Late May to early July offers Class IV and V rapids that will serve up big waves around every curve. With regulations on the number of outfitters allowed to run trips down the Arkansas River, you’re ensured a crowd-free day.

For families, a rafting trip through the Royal Gorge means leaving the screens behind and sharing an ultimate day of fun.

Splash each other, swim in mellow pools, and take in the laughter that comes naturally with a day on the river.

This is one awesome water rafting experience you’ll absolutely love.

The guides are great folks and are concerned about everyone’s safety, which is very comforting.

All outfitters offer family-focused trips, with Bighorn Sheep Canyon being one of the most popular. This stretch of river is action-packed, scenic, and great for all ages and abilities.

Address: 49311 W U.S. 50 B, Cañon City, CO 81212, United States

2. Skyline Drive

Things to do in Canon city

Facebook / Skyline Drive

Built by inmate labor in 1905, Skyline Drive was noticed by early settlers of Cañon City in 1860.

Stretching two and one-half miles above the distinctive Dakota Sandstone hogbacks, this is now a one-way road.

Dinosaur tracks were discovered here in 2001, while many layers of the earth’s geological history can also be seen.

There’s also the Skyline Drive entrance Arch, which was originally a Kiwanis Club venture.

Cañon City Chamber of Commerce continued building Skyline Drive’s entrance arch in 1931. Requests were sent to all 48 state governors to send a 4” x 6” x 5” thick unpolished stone from their state.

Inmate labor used these stones to complete the “Gateway of the States” and today, it is a beautiful sight to behold.

It is a one lane road from the west to east. The view is awesome, but the drive is terrific and daring, it is simply not for the fainthearted.

Address: Skyline Dr, Cañon City, CO 81212, USA

3. Grape creek

Things to do in canon city

Photo: Drew Smith

Named for the grapevines growing throughout the Cañon, Grape Creek Road follows the Ute trails.

Grape Creek is a tributary of the Arkansas River that flows through Custer and Fremont counties in South-Central Colorado.

The creek drains Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Centeruch of the Wet Mountain Valley, located between the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the Wet Mountains in Custer County.

In 1807, Zebulon Pike followed this route, going through the Wet Mountain Valley and over Medano Pass to the Rio Grande River, which he thought was the Red River. In the 1880s, the 36-mile Denver & Rio Grande Railroad Grape Creek Line went through the towns of Dora City, Titusville, and Blackburn (now long gone) to Silver Cliff.

Grape Creek southwest of Canon City, Colorado, is one of many residents’ favorite backcountry creeks. It offers over 30 miles to explore in a rugged canyon where the wild brownies and bows are plentiful.

And happily, with only a few public access points the entire length, boot marks are scarce.

Most anglers fish the stretch upstream of Cañon City.

The creek disappears downstream a few hundred yards into the cottonwood-studded canyon.

And most of the hikers venturing into the rocky, spectacular canyon have, as their goal, the magnificent natural amphitheater on a side canyon off the creek that gives the park its name.

Address: Grape Creek Dr, Cañon City, CO 81212, USA

4. Red Canyon Park

Things to do in Canon City

Photo: Red Canyon Park

A few miles past the Garden Park School is the 600-acre Red Canyon Park.

It is one of the several parks acquired for the area from the Federal Government by Congressman and former Cañon City Daily Record Editor, Guy U. Hardy.

Comprised of dramatic red sandstone formations, sheer cliffs, and Pinyon, Sage, Junipers and Spruce, Pike passed through this area in 1806 expedition.

This place is a really nice hiking trail from visitor center with great views.

Great doesn’t cut it, it’s absolutely gorgeous. If you’re lucky enough, you may get to see some deer.

It’s an easy hike around and sometimes they hold concerts at the Red Rocks Amphitheater, with live performances from artists like Luke Combs.

Although it is way out there, a distance from town, and it can actually feel isolated.

The roads and occasional rock formations are all red, red, red and will get your shoes red too.

That’s essentially why it has the name Red Canyon Park.

It’s definitely worth a stop. It’s definitely going to be worth your time.

Address: Co Rd F24, Cañon City, CO 81212, United States

5. Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center

Things to do in Canon City

Photo: Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center

The Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center offers exhibits and research materials that portray and reflect the history of the region and its people.

The museum is located in the 1928 former municipal building.

It was initially designed to include exhibits of artifacts related to community leader, businessman, and amateur paleontologist and archaeologist William Dallas DeWeese.

The Western artist Robert Wesley Amick, a native of Cañon City, painted the mural for the buffalo diorama.

The History Center’s Reading Room is ready to help you discover interesting histories about this place.

The Fossils of Fremont County exhibit features local dinosaur and prehistoric marine fossil discoveries dating to 450 million years ago and casts of dinosaur skulls.

Also located on the site are an 1860 log cabin and 1881 stone house built by Anson Rudd, one of the first settlers, and a founding father of Cañon City.

Wonderful volunteers make the trip and experience at this place even better.

And you’ll leave with a great deal of information about the history of the area.

A visit to The Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center is well worth the time.

Address: 612 Royal Gorge Blvd, Cañon City, CO 81212, United States

Planning a road trip outside of Cañon City? Be sure to check out things to do in Breckenridgethings to do in Pueblo! and things to do in Thornton!

6. Winery at Holy Cross Abbey

Things to do in Canon City

Photo: Winery at Holy Cross Abbey

Since July 2002, The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey has been attracting visitors from all over the world.

Located on the pastoral and serene grounds of The Holy Cross Abbey and nestled against the spectacular backdrop of the Wet Mountains, the winery is a shining example of what draws visitors to Cañon City and Fremont County.

The winery’s tasting room is open daily and was voted “Best Front Range Tasting Room” by Colorado Vine.

There is ample parking and the beautiful tree-shaded park has picnic tables where you can enjoy your lunch and a bottle of wine.

Also, the gracious staff guides you through a tasting of multi-award-winning wines.

It’s absolutely a very nice atmosphere for outdoor wine tasting.

They charge a tasting fee of $8 to try 12 wines, and the Wines are also sold by the glass.

In addition, the gift shop is filled with items from all over the world as well as many items that are distinctively Colorado.

You can also shop for gifts at the winery, since they now ship to most states. And your gifts would be taken care of from start to finish.

The tasting room and gift shop are open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm, and on Sundays from 12:00 pm until 5:00 pm.

Address: 3011 US-50, Cañon City, CO 81212, United States

7. Tunnel Drive

Things to do in Canon City

Jeffrey Beall / Wikimedia Commons

The tunnels on Tunnel Drive were first blasted out of a rock in 1892 as part of an irrigation project.

In 1908, under Warden Cleghorn’s direction, the tunnels were enlarged for horse and buggies using 26 convicts as laborers.

The longest tunnel is 400 feet long, while the other two are 100 feet long.

Automobiles were allowed to travel through these. The tunnels were however closed in 1990 for fifteen years.

Today, it is no longer a car route. The 2-mile long Tunnel Drive Trail is now a popular hiking destination.

So if you love to hike, this place is perfect for that. It is a great hiking trail with tunnels and great views all along the trail.

The tunnels and lookouts are beautiful. You get a beautiful view of the river and you can also see trains going past.

Address: Tunnel Dr, Cañon City, CO 81212, USA

8. Biking Bliss

Things to do in Canon City

Photo: John Fisch

The Royal Gorge Region has earned the reputation of being a biking mecca because of its numerous trail systems.

From the classic Oil Well Flats to the newer Royal Gorge Trails System, there is a trail for every ability.

If road biking is your thing, Phantom Canyon Road and the Gold Belt Scenic Byway offer gorgeous views as you cover mile after mile.

Best of all, with the Royal Gorge Region’s mild year-round climate, bikers can find their bliss any month of the year.

Section 13 is a moderate singletrack trail for novice and intermediate riders through the junipers and pinons at the base of the Wet Mountains.

Oil Well Flats is a collection of moderate singletrack trails for the intermediate rider. In addition, there’s the Cañon City Hogbacks, which offers fun, roller-coaster style riding with easy-to-moderate climbs and descents.

And there’s also the South Cañon Trail System. So, be sure to add this to your itinerary if you are a bike lover.

Address: Cañon City, CO 81212, United States

9. The Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience

Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience

Photo: Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience

Just west of downtown Cañon City, you’ll find a state-of-the-art facility that features science-focused interactive displays, full-scale dinosaur fossil casts, hands-on exhibits with real dinosaur fossils, skinned animatronic dinosaur exhibits, and a three-story ropes course that’s perfect for getting the wiggles out.

While there’s so much to see and do at the Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience, here’s a little history about this place
Two paleontologists—Othniel C. Marsh and Edward D. Cope—uncovered the first of many fossilized bones in Cañon City’s Garden Park area. Othniel C. Marsh and Edward D. Cope discovered this in the 1870s, when very little was still known about dinosaurs.

The subsequent “Bone Wars,” during which scientists raced to discover new species of dinosaurs, put Garden Park, and Cañon City, on the map.

Since then, many well-known species of large dinosaurs have been discovered at this and other sites throughout Cañon City, some of which are now exhibited at such renowned institutions as the Smithsonian Institute and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

In its beautiful building, visitors can view a real Paleo lab, where unearthed fossils from Cañon City and other parts of the country are cleaned and prepared, see a dinosaur-related film in a large, state-of-the-art theater, or let the little ones loose in child-focused exhibits that included games, multi-media stations, and age appropriate content.

The play area and the different dinosaurs moving and making noises on the trail are great! Coupled with that is the indoor museum which is also great!

The park is especially super packed with amazing fun activities for kids such that they’ll want to remain here all day.

It’s a great place for a family outing.

Address: 44895 W U.S. 50, Cañon City, CO 81212, United States

10. Royal Gorge Route Railroad Cañon City

Things to do in Canon City

Photo: Royal Gorge Route Railroad Cañon City

Step aboard the Royal Gorge Route Railroad and embark upon a breathtaking journey

Today, the Royal Gorge Route Railroad’s 1950s-era air-conditioned rail cars ferry more than 100,000 passengers each year for a 24-mile round trip through the dramatic Royal Gorge over the famous Hanging Bridge and below soaring bald eagles and blue herons.

Take a ride on Colorado’s first and finest scenic streamliner for an epic adventure along the tumbling waters of the Arkansas River deep within the granite cliffs of the Royal Gorge.

The company that now operates the railroad offers two-hour tours in which trains travel under the Royal Gorge Bridge, making for astonishing views of both naturally occurring and human-made wonders.

Classes of service hark back to a time when travel was an elegant and leisurely affair, which has earned the Royal Gorge Route Railroad its reputation as the country’s premier excursion railroad.

As a matter of fact, the Royal Gorge Route Railroad was recently named one of the Top 8 Train Rides in America by Trains magazine.

For a stirring combination of fine dining, wines, and a scenic ride, hop aboard the Colorado Wine Train for lunch or dinner where you’ll enjoy a seasonally inspired meal and a wine list featuring Colorado’s best.

Address: 330 Royal Gorge Blvd, Cañon City, CO 81212, United States

11. Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, Cañon City

Things to do in Canon City

Royal Gorge Bridge and Park

The Royal Gorge Bridge is the world’s highest suspension bridge.

There’s so much wonder to explore of the Bridge and Park.

Jaw-dropping views, extreme adrenaline rides, and fun for the whole family awaits you here.

Having welcomed over 30 million guests during its 90 years, the park has perfected the art of entertaining by providing excitement for visitors of every age.

You should start your visit at the brand-new 14,500-foot visitor center.

The visitor center is located at the north rim, and it’s the perfect place to relax and take in views of the Royal Gorge Bridge, the gorge itself, and the surrounding Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

From here, you can head into the Plaza Theater for a brief history of the bridge. Then, take a walk across the bridge to stand 956 feet above the wild Arkansas River.

You can also jump aboard an aerial gondola to glide 2,200 feet across the gorge and 1,200 feet above the river.

Also, you should choose to ride the free gondola car across the gorge and we strongly recommend that to anyone visiting.

The bridge can be a bit unnerving because you would be able to see the river below through the gaps.

You can as well walk down the hill to the giant swing ride, which you can ride for a fee or zip line back to the other side for a fee.

There’s also provision for kids entertainment at the carousel and playground.

For the biggest thrill of all, jump aboard the Royal Rush Skycoaster, named the World’s Scariest Skycoaster, this ride sweeps 50 mph through the air in a free fall over the gorge that ensures high-pitched screams and an experience to last a lifetime.

Address: 4218 Co Rd 3A, Cañon City, CO 81212

12. The Museum of Colorado Prisons

Museum of Colorado Prisons

Photo: Museum of Colorado Prisons

The Museum of Colorado Prisons is a very unique museum.

Although It’s a little creepy, but very interesting.

Also, the exhibits here are not just about this old prison but about all Colorado prisons and prison life back in the day and currently. They charge a $10 entry fee and it’s very bit worth the $10 fee.

The Museum opened to the public in 1988. It is housed within a former women’s prison facility located adjacent to the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility, which has been in continuous operation since 1871.

For lovers of macabre history and eerie tales of terror, there’s no better place to spend a few hours than the Museum of Colorado Prisons.

Artifacts on display here include 30 preserved inmate cells and original prison facilities, along with that, they also have items related to infamous Colorado criminals such as Alfred Packer and Antone Woode.

Address: 201 N 1st St, Cañon City, CO 81212, United States

13. Cañon City’s Historic Ghost Walk

Cañon City's Historic Ghost Walk

Photo: Uncover Colorado

The weather might be warm, but you’ll get the chills as you take part in Cañon City’s unique, historical ghost walk.

The Museum of Colorado Prisons is responsible for organizing the Ghost walk.

This tour takes place on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings, Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Interestingly, Cañon City’s downtown area is listed on the National Historic Register because it still has much of its original 1900s architecture.

As a matter of fact, Cañon City boasts the largest historic commercial district in Colorado.

With so many historic buildings, it’s only logical to assume there are just as many ghost stories to go with them.

You can get a healthy dose of these stories by partaking in the Museum of Colorado Prisons’ Historic Ghost Walk. Alternatively, if you’re not a fan of creepy stuffs, you can just explore the museum.

This hour-long tour will delight (or scare) you as guides dressed in period costumes recall grisly lynchings, haunted hotels, and the lives of some of the city’s founding fathers.

You’ll also enjoy first-hand accounts of ghost sightings as you wind your way through the streets and alleys of downtown Cañon City.

Notable haunted buildings include the St. Cloud Hotel, which makes the list as one of the top 10 most haunted places in Colorado.

In this historical building, rumors about ghosts playing in the hallway, pranking guests, and stacking chairs in empty rooms swirl.

In summary, it can be a lot of fun, or it could be downright scary.

Address: Cañon City, CO 81212, United States

14. The Owl Cigar Store

Owl Cigar Store

Photo: Owl Cigar Store

When you think there couldn’t be any more reasons to love Fremont County, Cañon City offers yet another one.

Unique to this Royal Gorge City is the Owl Cigar Store, which isn’t a cigar store at all, but an American diner -surprising, right? You bet.

The name, however, does reflect the diner’s origins.

The diner opened in 1903. They sold cigars, tobacco, and pipes, as well as fishing and sports equipment, ammunition, and hunting and fishing licenses.

It wasn’t until 1929 that it started selling hamburgers. And in 1933, with the end of prohibition, it started selling beer.

Though the Owl Cigar Store fully converted into the diner it is today in only the mid-1990s, it remains a touchstone in the community, with some customers claiming their grandparents frequented the store at its inception.

Today, there’s a sportsman’s calendar behind the bar from November 1951, which is pretty much when time stopped here. The walls are decorated with ancient taxidermy of huge trout, deer heads, and owls, and vintage posters and photos.

There’s also a jukebox in the front and pool tables (added in the 1940s) in the back.

The menu is basic—burgers, a variety of egg sandwiches, and malts—but the food is affordable and good, while the ambiance is a awesome as well.

Address: 626 Main St, Cañon City, CO 81212, United State

15. Royal Gorge Museum, Cañon City

Royal Gorge Museum, Cañon City

Photo: Royal Gorge Museum

The Royal Gorge Museum offers exhibits and research materials that portray and interpret the history of the region and its people.

It is located in the 1928 former municipal building.

The museum was initially designed to include exhibits of artifacts related to community leader, businessman, and amateur paleontologist and archaeologist William Dallas DeWeese.

The Western artist Robert Wesley Amick, a native of Cañon City, painted the mural for the buffalo diorama.

Be sure to see From the Reel to the Silver Screen exhibit about the history of the film industry in Fremont County.

Meanwhile, the History Center’s Reading Room is ready to help you discover family histories.

The Fossils of Fremont County exhibit features local dinosaur and prehistoric marine fossil discoveries dating to 450 million years ago.

It also displays casts of dinosaur skulls.

Also located on the site are an 1860 log cabin and 1881 stone house built by Anson Rudd, one of the first settlers, and a founding father of Cañon Cityy.

Address: 612 Royal Gorge Blvd, Cañon City, CO 81212, United States

16. Royal Gorge Archery & Range Cañon City

Royal Gorge Archery & Range

Facebook / Royal Gorge Archery & Range

Royal Gorge Archery and Range based in Cañon City, CO is your premiere archery pro shop and target range.

They carry all the latest archery equipment, including brand names like Mathews, Hoyt, Bowtech, Easton, Gold Tip and more.

You can stop by here to pick up a new bow or to shoot some arrows in their 20-yard indoor range.

They also offer archery lessons for all ages, and a repair shop to help maintain your favorite bows.
Cañon City’s archery range is open to the public during daylight hours and offers targets that range from 10 to 60 yards.

The people here are professional, knowledgeable, helpful, and attentive. My wife wanted to get into bow hunting and has zero experience.

The pricing for the equipment was extremely reasonable and the layaway option was a wonderful callback to easier shopping days.

For anyone looking to get into archery in Fremont county, this place needs to be your first stop.

Chances are it will also be your only stop you need to make.

Address: 1409 S 9th St Ste A, Cañon City, CO 81212, United States

17. John Griffin Regional Park

John Griffin Regional Park

Facebook / John Griffin Regional Park

John Griffin Park is a natural area located in the central part of Cañon City.

The Arkansas Riverwalk Trail loops through the park with the River Trail and the Bluff Trail.

Notably, the middle trail is an interior trail located in the eastern section of the park.

All three trails provide scenic pathways for walking or bicycling.

There’s also a Ropes Challenge Course located on the western end of the John Griffin Park. This ropes course is designed to test personal and group strength.

However, it is not to be used without supervision by authorized personnel.

Benches and picnic tables are also interspersed throughout the park and provide a resting point to enjoy listening to birds sing or watching the Arkansas River flow by.

Contact the Recreation District at (719) 275-1578 to reserve the ropes course for your party or group.

Address: Cañon City, CO 81212, United States

18. Arkansas Riverwalk Trail

Arkansas Riverwalk Trail

Photo: Tom Robson

The Arkansas Riverwalk contains seven-miles of trail that wind along the Arkansas River through Cañon City and beyond.

It covers many types of terrain and natural areas, including dense cottonwood forests and native wetlands.

This Arkansas Riverwalk trail also has a hard-packed, crushed gravel surface. Besides that, it follows an old railroad bed much of the way.

It is usually open to many uses, which include running, walking, biking and even horseback riding on the John Griffin Park Bluff Trail.

Your dogs are welcome too, but it’s advised that you keep them on a leash. It’s equally important to ensure they don’t mess up the whole place.

Address: Cañon City, CO 81212, USA

19. Rouse Park, Cañon City

Rouse Park

Photo: Rouse Park

This is the first park owned and operated by the Recreation and Park District in Cañon City.

Rouse park now has open fields, pickle ball courts, pavilions, baseball and softball fields, and a playground area.

Visitors love visiting this park. It’s a great place to spend time with your spouse and kids.

After playing at the park, there is so much more to do with the skate park nearby. There can sometimes be a little bit of a crowd, but it’s not much of an issue.

They have a great playground and sporting fields and also a well maintained and good parking.

Equally important are the good public restrooms they have, coupled with the concessions during some sporting events.

There’s undoubtedly something here for all ages.

Here you get to participate in recreational sports like youth soccer, baseball, and football.

We completely recommend going to this park. Especially because each year, the canon city rec district makes it more appealing in one way or another to everyone.

Address: 1600 Park Ave, Cañon City, CO 81212, United States

20. Royal Gorge Zip Line Tours, Cañon City

Royal Gorge Zip Line Tours

Photo: Groupon

Royal Gorge Zip Line Tours let participants take to the skies to explore the majesty of Colorado’s Royal Gorge.

Likewise, you get to experience the first flight line freefall belay zipline system in the world.

The company offers 20 ziplines throughout its classic and extreme zipline courses, totaling three miles of canopy-level adventure

Safety is always their number one priority and they are very professional. Equally important is how much they guarantee that you will have a great experience!

Royal Gorge Zip Line Tours is located on US Route 50 just outside of town. And it boasts nearly two dozen individual zip lines that are set at varying heights.

In general, it’s common for daring participants to reach more than 50 miles per hour on the highest and most sloped lines.

Jason Schoonover
5 months ago
Took the Extreme Zip Tour…best choice ever! It… was…AWESOME! I’m 100% sure it was because our guides were the absolute best! Eric and Luke (green helmets in pics) killed it! Safety was #1. They read our group well for ability and listening skills, fantastic conversations, awesome senses of humor! We’d visit again from Wisconsin just to go with these guys! Thank you for helping my wife and I celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary! We’ll never forget this trip!
Address: 45045 W U.S. 50, Cañon City, CO 81212, United States

Final Remarks

There you have it

The top 20 best and fun things to do in Cañon City.

Make sure to include visiting a good number of these places on your to do list

And you’ll have a great vacation in Cañon City.