Royal Gorge Bridge and Park opens Saturday

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RoyalGorgeThe Royal Gorge Bridge & Park in Cañon City will re-open to the public for Labor Day Weekend. After a 14-month closure to rebuild the 360-acre park due to a wildfire, a “soft opening” is targeted for Saturday.

Mike Bandera, vice-president and general manager, said the key word is “targeted” as the park will be working “right to the wire” to have it opened on a daily basis. Check the website www.royalgorgebridge.com for updates.

The Royal Gorge Bridge received minimal damage in the the Royal Gorge Fire, which began June 11, 2013. But after the fire jumped the gorge, 48 out of 52 structures were destroyed on both sides. Rebuilding is being completed in phases, Bandera said.

Beginning Saturday,  guests will again be able to walk and drive across the bridge according to Bandera, to enjoy the excitement of standing 956 feet above the Arkansas River. The Royal Rush Skycoaster, an internationally recognized thrill ride sitting on the edge of the Royal Gorge, will also be open for Labor Day weekend.

The new visitors center will also open during the first phase of reconstruction. The new complex features admissions, shopping, and Café 1230, named for the height of the deck above the river.

The second phase will include a new, 2,400-foot aerial gondola system by POMA, to be installed for a possible November opening. Building alongside the gondolas will be a new Zip Rider with two racing zip lines that will also travel 2,400 feet nearly a quarter mile above the Arkansas River. The Plaza Theater will also be added during this time.

The park is on track to have a grand opening celebration, spring of 2015 when more buildings and attractions are available.

Bridge-only tickets will be sold during the first phase and the bridge is open on a daily basis from dawn to dusk (generally at 8 a.m.), the visitors center opens at 9:30 a.m. and attractions open at 10:30 a.m. Check the website for seasonal hour changes or call 888-333-5597.