The Estes Park Aerial Tramway was designed and built by Robert Heron. Mr. Heron became involved with tramway during World War Two. The 10th Mountain Division contracted the engineering company Mr. Heron worked for to design a portable tramway for use in Italy and Germany. The task was assigned to Mr. Heron. A book entitled “The Tramway Builders”, by Philip A. Lunday and Charles M. Hampton gives the history about these tramways and the men who built them.
After the war Mr. Heron traveled to Europe to study the tramways and became more fascinated with their design and capabilities. Because of the steep terrain, many trams in Europe do not require any towers to support the wire ropes. The entire length is a free span between the bottom and the top stations. The Estes Park Aerial Tramway utilizes this design. A free span is fairly uncommon in the United States and this type of design affords a very smooth ride.
Mr. Heron also became one of the pioneering chair lift builders for the United States ski industry and built the first double chair lift in this country.
The Estes Park Aerial Tramway opened to the public in July, 1955. Since then it has safely carried more than 3 million people to the summit of Prospect Mountain. The tramway is still owned and operated by the Heron family.