The Royal Cascade trail will be closed from June 1, 2022 until August 1, 2022 for the bighorn sheep lambing season.
Cañon City's newest trail - Royal Cascade - offers hikers, trail runners, and mountain bikers incredible views of the Royal Gorge and Arkansas River. But if you're looking to enjoy the trail, you'll need to plan your excursion before June 1st, when the trail will be subject to a seasonal closure for two months. In cooperation with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Royal Cascade will be completely closed to all users in June and July, to reopen on August 1st. This closure will NOT affect Tunnel Drive or the Royal Gorge Park Trails.
In March of 2022, Canon City's Royal Cascade trail opened to the public. Planned for over 25 years and eventually brought to fruition through the combined efforts of the City of Cañon City, Terra Firma Trails, and Fremont Adventure Recreation, Royal Cascade is truly an epic route from Tunnel Drive (at about 5,530 feet elevation) to the base of Fremont Peak (about 7,150 feet of elevation). The rugged, steep, incredibly scenic trail was immediately adopted by hikers, runners, and adventurous mountain bikers as a unique location for a challenging excursion. The trail is about 3.6 miles long and climbs / descends an impressive 1,800 feet. Royal Cascade is unlike any trail in the Royal Gorge Park trails system, and not simply because of its difficult nature. It's also the first trail in Fremont County to have an established seasonal closure - limiting the time throughout the summer and fall that the trail will be open. Royal Cascade runs through bighorn sheep habitat. The seasonal summer closure is to allow sheep, especially those with lambs, to enjoy the area free from disturbances. When sheep are threatened or scared, they run. When they run, they expend calories. If sheep expend calories running from trail users, they have fewer calories with which to feed their lambs. Especially in a year that has proved to be more dry than usual, the amount of forage for wild animals is scarce.
Seasonal trail closures exist across Colorado - all with goals specific to that area's needs in terms of wildlife management and trail conditions. As recreation users increase, open spaces shrink due to development, fences cut off wildlife corridors, and roads continue to infringe on habitat, land managers are challenged with defending wildlife populations.
In August, the trail will be open all hours. In September and October, the trail is open only from 9:00 am -5:00 pm. This is to allow hunting of bighorn sheep for those who "pull a tag" (aka, are allowed through a lottery system to hunt for a sheep) to hunt safely. Hunters and anglers pay a fee for this use and contribute to funds used for conservation of public lands. Please respect ALL CLOSURES.
For more information on the closure, please visit http://www.joinfar.org/royalgorgeregion or contact Ashlee at coordinator@joinFAR.org.
~Ashlee Sack, Coordinator
Fremont Adventure Recreation