Royal Gorge, Colorado

Steven Dutch, Professor Emeritus, Natural and Applied Sciences, Universityof Wisconsin - Green Bay

Driving to the bridge is puzzling because the road seems to be a minor back road that doesn't go anywhere. Getting to the bridge, you discover the road really is a minor back road that doesn't go anywhere, except to the bridge. The bridge was built specifically as a tourist attraction.
Mountain scenery west of the bridge.
View looking northeast. This is obviously a case of rejuvenation, where a flat landscape is uplifted and the river begins cutting a deep gorge.
View of the bridge, looking north. The bridge is built just where the gorge begins to widen and has the greatest depth-to-width ratio. The inner gorge is narrower than it is deep but at bridge level the depth and width of the gorge are about equal.
The gorge is cut into Proterozoic metamorphic rocks. In addition to the bridge, a cable car crosses the gorge.
You can drive across the bridge but foot traffic generally outnumbers vehicle traffic.
Duh. (Unlike many stupid regulatory signs, this one is deliberately meant to be a joke.)
Above: views of the cable anchors.

Left: Close-up of the suspension cables. All suspension bridges are built this way, one cable strand at a time, but most are wrapped so the strands aren't visible.

The roadway is planking, and my wife's favorite kind of bridge ;) one with openings between the planks. This view looks straight down to the Arkansas River through a gap in the planks.
The gorge actually has gentle enough gradients and curves to make a good railway route and a railway up the gorge predates the bridge.

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Created 15 January 2005, Last Update 06 June 2020