Scene

From the Ashes

The Royal Gorge Bridge & Park plans to reopen this month after last year's devastating fires. 

August 2014

—Photo courtesy of Eve Nagode

On June 11, 2013, a wildfire tore through the rugged sagebrush-and-pine landscape in central Colorado near Cañon City, leapt across the Arkansas River, and consumed the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park. The flames destroyed 48 of the park’s 52 structures, including the visitor center and aerial tram. Miraculously, the iconic 1,053-foot-high suspension bridge across the Royal Gorge—a historic landmark built in 1929—suffered only minor cosmetic damage. In the months following the fire, the bridge’s inexplicable survival became a rallying point for the park’s rebuilding efforts. After 14 months of work by more than 100 employees, contractors, engineers, and volunteers, the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park is scheduled to reopen this month. Visitors, however, will see more than just the pre-fire structures reincarnate: New features include a 5,000-seat amphitheater overlooking the gorge, a gourmet restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows that frame stunning views of the canyon, and (eventually) a zip-line that will run across the deep, rocky chasm. royalgorgebridge.com