The wintry lion still roars in much of Colorado in late March when most students are traveling for spring break. But in the Royal Gorge Region, we have almost always welcomed the lamb, and with it, warm temperatures, bright sunshine, and dry trails.

In fact, while other parts of the state are in the deep freeze of winter, Cañon City and its surrounding areas are often enjoying 40, 50, and even 60-degree days. At an elevation of 5,332 feet above sea level, Cañon City is slightly higher than the Mile High City of Denver. But tucked into the folds and bluffs of the Arkansas River Valley, the town enjoys a much milder climate than Denver. In fact, Cañon City boasts the nickname of “The Climate Capital of Colorado.”

When compared to other outdoor recreational destinations in Colorado, the Royal Gorge Region stays warmer and dryer, particularly late winter & early spring, making it an ideal place to hike, bike, climb, and enjoy awesome scenery.

Tired of the cold? Head to the Royal Gorge Region and take advantage of:

Rock Climbing:

A short drive north of Cañon City on County Road 9 will lead you to some of the best, most challenging rock climbing in Colorado. Head to the popular Shelf Road Climbing Area where you’ll find hundreds of bolted routes. Spring and autumn are the best seasons to climb, but even in the heat of summer, there are routes that offer shade. A sport climber’s paradise, Shelf Road is a great location off the beaten path but close enough to town to enjoy a great meal and a cold drink at the end of the day…and a soft pillow too!

OHVing:

There’s so much open space in the Royal Gorge Region, it’s no surprise ATV and OHV riders love cruising through the landscape.

Two of the most popular ATV and OHV areas are Seep Springs and Texas Creek. Both are BLM-managed, have ATV trails, and are close to Cañon City. These areas are often rideable in the winter and almost always rideable in the spring.

Mountain Biking:

The Royal Gorge region has added up to 45 miles of new singletrack in the last three years alone. These add to the already popular Oil Well Flats and Hogbacks Trail Systems. The Royal Gorge Region’s most sought-after areas to ride include Section 13, Oil Well Flats, Hogbacks Open Space, South Cañon Trail System, and the Royal Gorge Rim Trail System. Please check trail conditions before riding (www.joinfar.org/trails) and observe all recommended closures.

Hiking and Dinosaurs:

The Royal Gorge is filled with geological and paleontological wonder. In fact, some of the Royal Gorge Region’s most visited hiking areas are also sites of Colorado’s most famous dinosaur discoveries. Explore Garden Park and enjoy interpretive signage telling the area’s history of paleontological discoveries. Afterward, head to the Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience for fascinating science-focused interactive displays, full-scale dinosaur fossil casts, hands-on exhibits with real dinosaur fossils, skinned animatronic dinosaurs, guided tours, and—for added family fun, value, and lasting memories—a multi-story ropes course.