CANON CITY – When it’s time for travel again, central Colorado’s Royal Gorge is a superlative place for nature-deprived outdoor-lovers to regain their adventure mojo. Here’s why.
1. It’s close to home and nature. The region’s largest adventure provider, Echo Canyon River Expeditions, is located about an hour from Colorado Springs and Pueblo, two hours from Denver and three hours from Fort Collins. “As travelers restart their relationships with their cars, I don’t think they’re going to want to travel very far,” said Andy Neinas, owner of Echo Canyon. “The spirit-lifting beauty of the Sangre de Cristo mountains will do wonders for those of us who have been cooped up for months. I see those mountains every day, and I never grow tired of them.”
2. Adventure travel may be the first segment of the travel industry to reopen. Recent stories in the Los Angeles Times, Forbes and other respected media outlets have suggested that adventure travel might be among the first segments to make a comeback as travelers regain their confidence. In the Forbes interview with travel expert Everett Potter, Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) CEO Shannon Stowell predicted that adventure travel will be the first to recover “due to the fact that the travelers are more intrepid in general and the type of travel is usually about immersion in nature, staying active and healthy and visiting remote communities.”
3. There are adventures for everyone. Echo Canyon River Expeditions offers several daily half- and full-day rafting adventures on different sections the Arkansas River including family float trips and more adventurous whitewater trips through the Bighorn Sheep Canyon and Royal Gorge Canyon. A short drive from the Echo Canyon headquarters is the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park, with popular adventures like a Via Ferrata, the Cloudscraper Zipline and the Skycoaster ride. Even a walk across the Royal Gorge Bridge – the country’s highest suspension bridge – is an adventure. Land-lovers will find dozens of mountain biking, hiking, and running trails maintained by Fremont Adventure Recreation, a non-profit organization committed to promoting a “culture of community and healthy living through human-powered outdoor recreation.”
4. There are freestanding, private accommodations. Located across the street from Echo Canyon River Expeditions are the Royal Gorge Cabins, a complex of one- and two-bedroom luxury cabins with fully equipped kitchens, living areas and private outdoors spaces, and queen and double-queen Glamping Tents with private patios and fire rings. “We think the option of freestanding accommodations will appeal to our guests more than enclosed hotels with interior entrances,” said Neinas.
5. Open-air dining. On warm summer days and nights, the glass bay doors of 8 Mile Bar and Grill open to the large patio where diners are surrounded by mountain beauty and in the evening, starry night skies. The 16-tap bar includes a variety of Colorado brews and popular favorites and the menu offers salads, burgers, sandwiches, and meals to suit every palate.
In anticipation of the day that we can all adventure once again, Neinas and the staff at Echo Canyon River Expeditions and Royal Gorge Cabins have been spending their time deep cleaning the entire operation.
“These adventures aren’t going anywhere, and we’ll be ready when you are,” said Neinas.