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Tunnel Drive Trail is a short but absolutely gorgeous little trail. Beginning on the west end of Cañon City, just a little ways from downtown, the trail provides a vantage point to the rugged beauty of the Arkansas River and the Royal Gorge. Frequent benches allow visitors to rest or simply pause and take in the river valley's breathtaking views.
The trail dead-ends two miles in, making it a four-mile walk, run or ride out and back. A short section of the trail is paved beginning from the trailhead, but the majority of the trail is crushed stone. There is also an incline at the start of the trail, though the remainder of the trail levels out. Dogs are welcome but must remain on a leash. Be sure to carry water and sun-protection in the hotter months. Wear light layers as it can also get windy at this elevation.
The corridor was originally built for a railroad, but the project was abandoned early on and tracks were never laid. The three granite-blasted tunnels are located near the start of the trail. The first two are short, rocky arches while the third is longer. On the other side of the tunnels, the rock continues to wind along the rock face, with the rushing river below and jagged peaks before you. Railroad tracks lie parallel to the river, and you might spot the Royal Gorge Route heritage train snaking its way into the gorge.
You can find the trailhead on the western limits of Cañon City. From US 50, take Tunnel Drive Road 0.6 miles west to the trailhead. There are 10 spots, including accessible parking, as well as a portable toilet.
We were in the area to visit the Royal Gorge Bridge and this trail was a pleasant surprise! We decided to take a short stroll along the Tunnel Drive Trail and were wowed by the three impressive tunnels blasted through the rock. The overlooks of the Arkansas River and the active train tracks below were also spectacular.
Beautiful scenery and easy hike! Moderate, 25-TD incline to begin, then very flat.
After only one 25-yard moderate incline, enjoy a relatively flat, crushed-granite trail along the Arkansas River. The Royal Gorge Route train tracks run along the Arkansas River below the trail. Very scenic. Very quiet. Family friendly. Two miles in/Two miles out. Three cool tunnels, also! Might see white-water rafters or the Royal Gorge train which runs 3x/day through the gorge. Highly recommend!
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