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The Tunnel Drive Trail is an easy hike that provides an incredible effort-to-view ratio.
This 4-mile round-trip jaunt follows a well-graded gravel trail the entire way.
While you'll initially have to scale a short, steep climb to reach the old railroad grade, once on the railroad grade, it's a flat, beautiful hike back into the Royal Gorge. As you ramble along the abandoned railroad grade, you'll get to enjoy gorgeous views of the mouth of the famous Royal Gorge.
The further you hike, the taller the rock walls get, and you'll stare in wonder up at the towering rock cliffs all around you. As you look down below you, you'll spot the modern railroad tracks running through the Royal Gorge, which are currently used by a popular sightseeing tourist train.
On many days, you'll be able to spot the tourist train as it makes its short trek up and down the gorge. Two highlights along this hike are the railroad tunnels you get to walk through.
The first is quite short, but the second is fairly long and quite dark in the middle! You'll always be able to see the light at the far end, but the long, dark tunnel is quite exciting. You'll also get to hike across a couple of old railroad bridges before reaching the end of the trail at the closed gate.
Unfortunately, the gate and private property beyond block hikers from continuing past the two-mile mark.
Turn around at the gate and retrace your steps the way you came. **Note:** The narrow Royal Cascade singletrack trail does connect to the end of the Tunnel Drive trail, but this is a very strenuous hike that climbs steeply to the top of the mountain ridge out of sight above.
Only attempt this trail if you're fully prepared for an epic hike.