Travel like a local - Cañon City Region

The Insider Info

It’s easy to find the big attractions and popular activities, but what about those off-the-beaten-path things to do and places to visit?

Cañon City is located just an hour from Colorado Springs, where the Arkansas River emerges from the mouth of the mighty Royal Gorge. It’s a small-ish town big on outdoor activities and things to do. You’ve probably already found the popular attractions of the area, but perhaps you’d like to check out the off-the-beaten-path options. You know, where we as locals take our family and friends when they visit! 

Below you’ll find some of our favorite activities that are low in cost or even free but are always big on fun, adventure, or views!

View from the Canyon Rim Trail

Hike or Bike the Canyon Rim Trail

Located about five minutes from Echo Canyon, The Canyon Rim Trail is part of a greater network of trails known as the Royal Gorge Park trail system designed by Fremont Adventure Recreation. The system of trails includes over 20 miles of trail designed for either hiking or mountain biking. Motorized traffic and horse traffic is not allowed on these trails. Most of us access the trail at the Canyon Rim Trailhead.

Please recreate responsibly on our local trails – never ride or hike on muddy trails, and leave it as clean (or cleaner) than you found it! If you have the chance to enjoy these trails please consider a small donation to Fremont Adventure Recreation whose efforts make our trails truly world class.

Skyline Drive

Skyline Drive is a scenic one-way drive accessed 3 miles west of Cañon City off of Highway 50. This drive is definitely not for the faint of heart! The narrow, razor ridge offers a bird’s eye view of the town of Cañon City, the Arkansas River Valley, and surrounding mountains.

On the way up the drive you’ll see dinosaur footprints encased in rock – visible right from your vehicle! The drive takes you back into Cañon City. Follow the signs to return to our historic downtown Main Street and Highway 50.

Main Street Cañon City - First Fridays

Visit historic Main in Cañon City and enjoy the variety of local dining, boutiques, art galleries, and gift shop. Our Main Street is listed on the National Historic Register due to its abundance of turn-of-the-century architecture. 

On the first Friday of each month be sure to check out the First Friday activities – in the summer you’ll find live music on the lawn between our historic library and arts center, food trucks and food vendors serve up delicious eats, and stores and galleries remain open late. Main street is located one block north of Highway 50 towards the west end of town.

Centennial Park Splash Pad

Centennial Park is one of Cañon City’s oldest park located along the Arkansas River just off of 3rd Street. You’ll find a refreshing splash pad for kids – open daily during summer months – along with modern playground equipment, picnic tables and shade structures, a duck pond and fountain, a baseball field, and lots of grassy space so kids can run some vacation energy out! 

If the river is lower and you decide to splash in the river PLEASE BE SAFE and use the complimentary personal flotation devices (PFDs a.k.a. life jackets) located near the playground equipment. Be advised the river may look gentle but strong, deep currents exist! Keep yourself and your little ones safe!

Winery at the Holy Cross Abbey

The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey

Located in Cañon City, and on the grounds of the historic Holy Cross Abbey, The Winery at Holy Cross offers affordable tastings of their award winning wines. Their staff can help you find the perfect bottle of wine to pair with your next meal, or browse their gift shop! The tasting room is open daily and is set among grape vines with mountain views. Reservations are recommended to ensure immediate seating for a tasting.

View of the Gold Mine Rock Shop

Gold Mine Rock Shop

Located just a stones throw away from Echo Canyon (we couldn’t help ourselves!), the Gold Mine Rock is a must-stop for the rock hound in your family. Check out the larger rocks outside on historic oar carts, or find smaller rocks, gems, and fossils inside their showroom. Kids love their  gold and gem stone panning station. The Rock Shop is open daily in the summer and is located at the turn-off from Highway 50 to the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park. 

Bishop Castle

Located just over an hour from Echo Canyon, in the heart of the San Isabel National Forest, Bishop Castle is an impressive – and bizarre – 160-feet tall castle constructed over the last 60 years by Jim Bishop. Always open and always free, the 3-story monument includes soaring towers, a grand ballroom with stained glass, and a fire-breathing dragon sculpture! This is one of those local attractions you won’t find in the tourist magazines, and the scenic drive to the Castle is absolutely gorgeous! Bishop Castle can be found here. Park along the highway at the pull-off, and explore this iconic local attraction.