Canon City, Colorado: Attractions for All Ages


Known for its wealth of scenic byways perfect for road trips, hiking trails showcasing colorful fall foliage, and family-friendly attractions like the Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience, this south-central Colorado destination has something for everyone.


  • Canon City, located in Colorado's Fremont County, is a popular base for outdoor activities with biking trails, whitewater rafting, and iconic drives through the Rockies.
  • The area has a fascinating Old West history and unique attractions like the Royal Gorge Bridge and a prehistoric museum.
  • Each season offers different events and sights, from winter sports to summer water activities and vibrant fall colors.
  • Accommodations range from luxury hotels and cozy cabins to RV parks catering to all travelers.

Scenic Byways and Epic Drives

As the gateway to the Rockies, Canon City is surrounded by stunning Rocky Mountain scenery. Several scenic and historic byways wind through the area, offering breathtaking views along every turn.

The Gold Belt Tour, a 125-mile route, passes old mining towns and peaceful mountain lakes. Drive along the Collegiate Peaks for views of Colorado’s highest mountains and stop to hike through wildflower-filled meadows. The Silver Thread Scenic Byway climbs over 11,300 feet on the Continental Divide, while the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway delivers panoramic views of the state’s highest peaks.

Adventurous travelers can challenge themselves on the Alpine Loop’s narrow, cliff-hugging shelf roads. Other iconic drives include Independence Pass, known as the “Top of the Colorado Rockies,” and the San Juan Skyway, rated one of the country’s most beautiful drives.

Outdoor Adventure Awaits

From hiking and biking to rafting and rock climbing, Canon City is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. The area contains over 40 hiking trails ranging from easy nature walks to strenuous mountain climbs. Popular routes include the Seven Falls Trail, which leads to a thundering 181-foot waterfall, and the Skyline Drive Trail along the Royal Gorge rim.

Expert mountain bikers can test their skills on the Temple Canyon Park Trails with technical downhill runs and jump lines. Beginners can enjoy mellower rides through Garden Park or the Oil Well Flats. For whitewater excitement, raft the turbulent waters of the Royal Gorge or Arkansas River. Experienced climbers will enjoy scaling the sheer granite walls and spires outside town.

With mild weather year-round, Canon City offers outdoor adventure in every season. Hike or bike the Colorado Trail in summer and try snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or ice climbing once winter snow blankets the mountains.

Family Fun and Local Culture

Beyond the wealth of outdoor activities, Canon City caters to families and culture enthusiasts. Kids can dig for fossils at the Dinosaur Depot Museum, view dinosaur skeletons, and explore hands-on geology exhibits. Ride a historic train along the Royal Gorge Railroad for unbeatable views of the famous gorge and Arkansas River. Learn about regional history and culture at the Museum of Colorado Prisons, Temple Canyon Park, and other sites.

Experience an authentic taste of the Old West and get to know the locals at festivals and special events. Grab a craft beer at town fairs, meander Main Street, and enjoy summer concerts at Veterans Park. The yearly Territory Days celebration includes a parade, rodeo, chuckwagon dinners, and reenactments of historic shootouts. For fall fun, hop aboard the Pumpkin Patch Train or wander through corn mazes and you-pick pumpkin patches just outside town.

Relax at one of the area’s wineries, breweries, or farm-to-table restaurants as the sun sets. Sample wines made from cold-hardy grapes at the Winery at Holy Cross Abbey. Sip craft beers from local producers like Talbott’s. Visit popular downtown eateries like The Place and Tacos Cantina for fresh, seasonal cuisine.

Where to Stay in Canon City

Accommodation options range from luxury retreats and historic hotels to budget-friendly motels and campgrounds. Families can select from family suites at chains like Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn Express or opt for more space and amenities at vacation rental cabins.

Book a room at the Mount View Motel in a converted 1930s-era tourist court for a touch of history. Or spend the night in a restored Victorian mansion at the Royal Gorge Mansion B&B. RV travelers will find year-round campgrounds like Mountain View RV Resort and Royal Gorge Cabins and Campground.

No matter your budget or interests, Canon City offers accommodations for every type of visitor.

Planning Your Visit

A trip to Canon City can be easily combined with other top Colorado destinations like Colorado Springs, Denver, and the mountain towns. The small regional airport offers direct flights on United Airlines, or visitors can fly into Denver International Airport and make the two-hour drive.

Once in town, a car is the most convenient way to explore the surrounding roads and trails. However, the local bus system and Royal Gorge Route Railroad also provide transit options for car-free travel.

Ideal times to visit are September and October to enjoy warm sunny days, fall festivals, and spectacular foliage. Late spring is less crowded than summer and offers wildflowers, whitewater rafting, and pleasant temperatures. Whenever you choose to visit, you’ll find genuine Western hospitality and endless opportunities for adventure.


What are the top things to do in Canon City?

The top attractions include driving scenic byways like Skyline Drive, hiking in Royal Gorge Park, rafting the Arkansas River, learning about dinosaurs and fossils at the Dinosaur Depot, riding the Royal Gorge Route Railroad, touring wineries and breweries, and exploring historic downtown.

What is there to do with kids?

Excellent family-friendly activities include the Dinosaur Depot, Royal Gorge Route Railroad rides, Royal Gorge zipline tours, whitewater rafting, fall pumpkin patch trains, fishing, and hiking easy trails.

When do the Aspen trees change color?

Peak fall foliage with golden Aspen groves usually occurs mid-September through early October. Visit during the Fall Festival or ride the Pumpkin Patch Train for the full fall experience.

What type of clothes should I pack?

Pack layers, including light jackets and long pants, even in summer. Temperatures vary widely between daytime highs around 80 Fahrenheit and nighttime lows around 40 Fahrenheit. Be prepared with hats, gloves, and winter gear for outdoor activities from November to March.

Where should I stay?

Accommodation options include downtown hotels like the Mount View Hotel, lodges and cabins in Royal Gorge Park, vacation rentals and RV parks in Canon City, or chain hotels like Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn Express.


About the author

Shannon Persad

As a seasoned journalist and Colorado native, I bring a deep-rooted connection and comprehensive understanding of Colorado to my work at My appreciation for the state’s rich history, vibrant culture, and pressing environmental issues drives my commitment to exploring its evolving landscape—from the bustling urban centers to the tranquil mountain towns.