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Canon City

Posted in: Canon City
Jul 23, 2013 - 11:50:10 AM


Canon City in the early days.
Cañon City was laid out on January 17, 1858 during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush, but then the land was left idle.  A new company "jumped the claim' to the town's site in late 1859 and it put up the first building in February 1860. This town was originally intended as a commercial center for mining in South Park and the upper Arkansas River.  In 1861, this town raised two companies of volunteers to serve with the Second Colorado Infantry during the American Civil War.  This regiment fought in skirmishes in nearby New Mexico and as far as east as the Indian Territory (Oklahoma) and Missouri before ending its organization in 1865.  In 1862, A.M. Cassaday drilled for petroleum six miles north of Cañon City, close to a known oil seep. Cassaday struck oil at the depth of 50 feet, and he completed the first commercial oil well west of the Mississippi River. He drilled five or six more wells nearby, and he refined kerosene and fuel oil from the petroleum.  Cassaday sold the products in Denver. A number of metal ore smelters were built in Cañon City following the discovery of gold at Cripple Creek in 1891.

About the City:

Cañon City is the county seat of Fremont County in southern Colorado, with a population of approximately 16,000 people within the city limits, and another 5,000 to 7,000 people within the surrounding area in Fremont County.
The City is located in a mountain bowl along the Arkansas River valley as it flows east from the Rocky Mountains and the mouth of the Royal Gorge. A combination of unique geography and an elevation of 5300 feet above sea level protects the city from harsh weather conditions, making Cañon City “the Climate Capital of Colorado.” The average daily high temperature in January is 14 degrees warmer in Cañon City than in Grand Junction even though the elevation of Cañon City is higher. Overnight low temperatures are also considerably warmer in Cañon City than in Denver. The average minimum temperature in January is 20 degrees. During July, overnight lows are 59 degrees on average. Cañon City has a semi-arid climate.

The Royal Gorge Bridge
The Royal Gorge Bridge, owned by the City, is one of the major attractions located near Cañon City. This, along with other nearby natural attractions such as the Arkansas River, the National Forest, and the beauty of the surrounding land, draws numerous tourists to the area year round with a peak during the summer season. Cañon City is one of only a few cities along the Front Range that has predominantly maintained its small town feel. Residents of this third oldest city in the State of Colorado are proud of their history, proud of their setting amongst beautiful natural features, and proud of their community. When asked what makes Cañon City a great place, more often than not, the response is “the people.”

The Mayor, Council, and staff of the City of Cañon City are proud to serve these incredible people and maintain this wonderful community. Comprised of eleven departments, one enterprise, and approximately 160 employees, this home rule municipality works hard to provide the governmental services that will keep this a wonderful place to live, work, play, and visit.

Discover Downtown Cañon City:

The historic Hotel St. Cloud in downtown Canon City.
Downtown has much to offer from great watering holes and world famous burgers at the Owl Cigar Store to some of the best pizza on the planet at Pizza Madness. Many visitors simply miss historic downtown because it's just north, one block off of highway 50 and that's a shame. Cañon City's downtown area is listed on the National Historical Register for its abundance of turn-of-the-century architecture. Submerge yourself in the ambiance of another era, even as you enjoy local dining, boutiques, music, and art galleries.

A popular eatery dates back to at least 1904.
Downtown is totally "walkable" and not to be missed. From the train station at the Santa Fe Depot (west end of town), just cross highway 50 driving north, park, and wander. The architecture is really classic and not many Colorado downtowns have this historic flavor.

If you're looking for high end, delicious french cuisine, try Le Petite Chablis located at 512 Royal Gorge Blvd. A great website for more information on downtown is:

Outdoor Activities in the Royal Gorge Region:

The Arkansas River
The Royal Gorge region offers so many options for outdoor enthusiasts with a difference in that this part of Colorado is uncrowded. Some of the best rock climbing in the state is located just north of town up shelf road for
starters. And it gets better for cyclists as you can ride for miles either on dirt roads or paved to Cripple Creek and enjoy amazing scenery along the way. The Arkansas River offers outstanding rafting and kayaking opportunities either on your own or with an outfitter. Same goes for fishing. If you enjoy running, try tunnel drive or the Arkansas River Walk where you'll have miles and miles of trails off the beaten path.

The Royal Gorge region offers up what Colorado used to be years ago with fewer crowds, no attitude, and friendly locals ready to help. It really is like taking a well deserved step back in time.

The view from skyline drive located west of Canon City.
If you're into kayaking, ask about the local "play wave" located in town that's amazing during spring run-off. Red Canyon Park, located just north of town is like the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs without all the people and Shelf Road is a pretty spectacular place. A great, challenging mountain bike ride is to head south on 1st street toward Temple Canyon Road, circle around toward Parkdale and bike back to Cañon City on Hwy 50. You can also check with the Royal Gorge Bridge to see if you can cycle across the bridge from the south side and cut off some miles. Phantom Canyon Rd. and Skyline Drive are other great places to mountain bike.

Royal Gorge Bridge and Park:

The sign greeting visitors to the Royal Gorge Bridge prior to the 2013 fire.
This bridge held the record for the highest bridge in the world from 1929 until 2001, when it was surpassed by the Liuquanghe Bridge in China and the views are impressive. It remains among the ten highest bridges in the world and is the highest in the United States.

The Royal Gorge Bridge is owned by the City of Cañon City and run by a concessionaire out of Dallas, Texas. The Bridge bills itself as a "theme park" and features an incline railway, aerial tram, petting zoo, and is promoted heavily by the Cañon City Chamber of Commerce.

Royal Gorge Bridge and Park
Currently Closed due to recent fire and scheduled to re-open weekends in March 2014. Call or visit their website for updates. | 888-333-5597 | 719-275-7507
4218 County Road 3A | PO Box 549, Cañon City, CO 81212

The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey:

Holy Cross Winery logo
Colorado wines are now being compared to the best California wines! This winery is rockin all year round as it has gained a stellar reputation for producing quality wines.

The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey provides a tasting room and adjoining gift shop. In addition to tasting wine, you'll find a variety of gifts that you just won't find anywhere else. They obviously take pride in what they do and really make sure you feel comfortable tasting wine. If you have the time, call about their VIP winery tour. This is a "must do" and if you've got kids, they can play outside on their beautiful grounds. 

The Holy Cross Abbey grounds.

Winery at Holy Cross Abbey| 719.276.5191| 877.422.9463
3011 East Highway 50, Cañon City, CO 81212



Wild West Properties LLC
201 Main Street - P.O. Box 1519
Westcliffe, CO 81252

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719-783-2110 fax

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