Top Ten Prisons to Visit

Supermax, Florence, Colorado
Supermax, Florence, Colorado
With the toughest security of all U.S. prisons, Florence, Colorado's Supermax houses only the worst of the worst (Corey Wood)

9. The Alcatraz of the Rockies
The United States Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence, Colorado, is ranked as the highest level of security a prison can have; this Supermax is the bee's knees of prisoner playgrounds. Some of the more recognizable former residents include the "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski, Timothy McVeigh, and Zacarias Moussaoui , a September 11 conspirator.

More than 20 percent of the prisoners housed here have killed a fellow prisoner at some point during their stay with the federal government. For this and other reasons, many are kept alone at virtually all times of the day. The few who have been allowed access inside these highly guarded walls have come out describing the silence radiating throughout the cells as deafening.

Though the actual city of Florence has fewer than 3,000 people living within it, it is surrounded by natural beauty. And though it is nearly impossible to get inside the walls of the Supermax, the surrounding rivers, mountains, trails, and rolling plains are open to visitors. Just a few miles away is the Royal Gorge—best explored on the Royal Gorge Route Railroad. The train travels 24 miles through some of the most spectacular Colorado scenery. And if being that close to the world's most hardcore criminals isn't enough, delve into the many adrenaline rushes offered in the wilds of the Rocky Mountains—raft the Arkansas River, scale the rocks in the breathtaking Garden of the Gods park, or strap into the Royal Rush SkyCoaster, a ride that swings you over the Royal Gorge at 50 m.p.h, all the while being just 1,200 feet above the Arkansas River.


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