Cañon City has a very special trail that’s ideal for families, wildlife viewing, and taking in the gorgeous Royal Gorge scenery. Located one mile from downtown, Tunnel Drive is a flat, two-mile stroll along an old railroad bed that offers a bird’s-eye view of the Arkansas River and spectacular views of the surrounding canyon.
Just downstream from the Royal Gorge, this crushed gravel trail travels through three granite-blasted tunnels and is perfect for walkers, runners, and bikers. The rock surrounding the trail is 1.7 billion years old, contains ribbons of pink and white granite, and was once 11 miles beneath the earth, which accounts for its smooth surface.
At Tunnel Drive, you get a taste of the Royal Gorge without the crowds. With mile-markers every quarter of a mile, frequent benches, and zero incline, it’s ideal for people of all abilities and tastes. To get to Tunnel Road, turn south off Highway 50 onto Tunnel Road by the power plant on the western edge of Cañon City. Go straight on that road for about a half-mile until you see a yellow gate, which is the beginning of the trail.
Start: Begin your walk at the trailhead, located off of Tunnel Drive in Cañon City.
Distance: 1.92 miles to the end. Note that there is no trail access at the terminus of the trail, so all trips must be out-and-back.
Elevation gain: 120 ft.
Fitness effort: Mild
Terrain: Dirt road
Trail users: Hikers, bikers. This is a great trail for strollers, but use caution when biking with young riders. There is a steep drop-off on one side of the trail.
Dog-friendly: Yes. Keep your dog on a leash, bring waste bags, and clean up after your pet.
Notes: This trail is accessible for most of the year but can be hot in the summer months. Be sure to bring water. Because of the possibility of rock falls, avoid this area after a freeze-thaw cycle of weather (when it has been very cold and then quite warm), or after heavy rains.