If you are looking for an easy day trip from Colorado Springs, look no further than Canon City. My family and I recently spent a few hours walking the Arkansas Riverwalk Trail. The fall colors are stunning right now, and the temperature is perfect for a long walk.
As you drive into Canon City on US-50, you will see signs directing you to the river trail, or you can find directions here. We parked at the Raynolds Trail Head where there was plenty of free parking. My family, along with our leashed dog, started walking west into John Griffin Park. We followed the trail along the Arkansas River, enjoying the peaceful sounds of the water and beautiful scenery. The trail was not crowded, but we saw a few families, dog walkers, and bike riders.
In John Griffin Park, there is a fitness course with numerous exercise stations such as pull-ups, leg lifts, sit-ups, and parallel bars. There are informational placards along the trail describing the aquatic life and plants found in this area. One placard describes the improvements made in 2008 to diversify the fish habitat and better support trout in this part of the river. Businesses and community members worked together in this great conservation effort.
You will find plenty of benches, picnic tables, and trash cans in the park. We also saw two rope swings that can drop you into the river if you so desire. We did not test them out, so I can't speak to how much weight they can bear, nor if they are safe. If you decide to try them, let everyone know your experience in the comment section below.
We continued through John Griffin Park, past a rail yard, and crossed a bridge to Centennial Park (221 Griffin Avenue, Canon City). This fabulous green space has a seasonal splash pad, playground, open area for playing ball or frisbee, and a duck pond. If you want to float or swim in the river, you can easily access the water at this spot. Life jackets are required.
The duck pond was full of waterfowl including swans, ducks, and geese. If you are interested in feeding the domestic ducks and geese, a posted sign recommends grains, grapes (cut in half), chopped vegetables, duck pellets, corn, and/or birdseed.
The park prohibits feeding the wild geese as they can become aggressive towards people and the domestic geese. Additionally, feeding the wild geese leads to overcrowding in the park and makes them dependent on humans for food. If you are unsure how to distinguish the domestic and wild geese, there are pictures near the pond to guide you.
The walk from Raynolds Ave trailhead to Centennial Park was about 4.5 miles round trip. It was a leisurely walk on level, hard-parked terrain and it is great for runners, bikers, walkers, or strollers.
Big Burger World
After our walk, we visited a local favorite for lunch, Big Burger World (1205 S. Ninth Street, Canon City). The parking lot was packed with a long line of customers waiting to order, but we were not deterred because we knew it must be good.
After placing our order, we sat at the outside picnic tables and enjoyed the beautiful weather. There is no indoor seating, so during inclement weather, you will need to wait in your car. Our food was ready in about twenty minutes, and it was worth the wait for these massive and delicious burgers. These are the biggest burgers I have ever seen!
Each burger comes standard with lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, ketchup, and mustard. There are several specialty burgers with additional toppings such as bacon, mushrooms, and guacamole. The burger is a meal in itself (actually, probably two meals!), but you can make it a combo with fries and a drink for an extra $4.50.
Canon City is a short drive from Colorado Springs but feels a world apart. This peaceful town along the Arkansas River has beautiful walking trails and hearty meals. It is worth the trip!
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