“There is no better place to see the stars”, says the slogan of the official website of the Red Rocks Amphiteatre and for once the motto does not seem exaggerated.
We are in Colorado, in Morrison, near Denver, where the park Red Rocks, known for its typical reddish rocks (we have already reported it in our article on what to see in Denver) ... well, there in the middle of a beautiful natural esplanade, above a protruding rocky conformation, there is an amphitheater, with its typical inclined structure steps to facilitate listening and viewing of the magnificent landscape.
Are you wondering what an amphitheater is doing in this place? Let's find out and explore all that Red Rocks Park has to offer!
- Red Rocks Amphitheater
- Story of the Red Rocks Amphitheater
- Like seeing a concert at the Red Rocks Amphitheater
- How to visit the amphitheater
- Red Rocks Park: other things to do
- Historical Trading Post e Hall of Fame
- Timetables, tickets and how to get there
- Where to eat
- What to see in the surroundings
Red Rocks Amphitheater
Story of the Red Rocks Amphitheater
In the early 900s the entrepreneur and publisher John Brisben Walker had a vision: of the artists who performed on a stage immersed in a wonderful acoustic environment like that of Red Rocks Park. His dream soon came true, as concerts were held on a temporary stage from 1906 to 1910.
After the acquisition of the park by the city of Denver (1928), the project became even more ambitious and the construction of a stable amphitheater it was entrusted to the architect Burnham Hoyt, who began the works in 1936 and finished them in 1941.
Like seeing a concert at the Red Rocks Amphitheater
Numerous internationally renowned artists have come and gone in this splendid red sandstone paradise: from Igor Stravinsky's Spring Festival to rock history icons such as Jethro Tull, Grateful Dead, Phish, Beatles (during their famous British Invasion of America tour) , U2, Sting and many more.
In short, if you want to enjoy a concert in a dreamlike natural setting this is the right place. By clicking on the button below you can access the scheduled events and buy tickets:
Buy tickets for a concert at the Amphitheater
How to visit the amphitheater
The amphitheater is to be considered an attraction in itself, even without seeing a concert, and it is certainly to be included in a travel itinerary that contemplates the main things to see in Colorado. Visiting it is very simple. Just reach one of the 2 adjacent car parks (the Top Circle Lot or l 'Upper North Lot), from which you can access not only the amphitheater but also the Visitor Center and the Ship Rock Grille, restaurant with panoramic views.
Il Visitor Center, in addition to being the information point for tourists, it also includes the Red Rocks Hall of Fame, where the most important artists who have performed in this splendid amphitheater are celebrated, a truly impressive collection of bands and musicians. In the visitor center you will also find some interesting works of art, which are part of the artistic heritage of Denver, all inspired by the Red Rocks park.
Once you reach the amphitheater you will notice Americans doing gymnastics or running along the grand staircase. Take your souvenir photos of the splendid panorama and, if you want, imitate the locals by taking part in some sporting activities. On certain days of the week, group yoga classes are also held here and, during the summer, film screenings.
Red Rocks Park: other things to do
But the amphitheater is not the only interesting thing here ... as already mentioned, this famous location for concerts is located inside a natural park, the Red Rocks Park, so named for the typical reddish color of its rocky monoliths.
- Red Rocks Trading Post Trail (2,4 km a / r, 109 meters in altitude): a simple circular path that starts from the parking lot of theHistorical Trading Post (of which we speak a little below), southeast of the amphitheater, and which revolves around a series of classic rock conformations of this park, with their shape carved by the wind.
- Geological Overlook Trail (1,8 km a / r, 98 meters in altitude): in a completely different position from the previous route, this path is located north of the amphitheater and to attack it you will have to reach the small parking lot at the end of Plains View Road. It offers beautiful views from the top of the park; keep in mind that, to return to the starting point, you will have to travel a stretch of paved road traveled by cars.
- Red Rocks and Morrison Slide Trails (4,8 km a / r, 207 meters of elevation gain): further north of the previous route, this trail joins the intersection of Red Rock Trail Road and Alameda Parkway (coordinates in the map below). Here you will find a small parking lot that you can use to leave your car. There are 2 entrances to the Red Rock Trail, one directly from the parking lot, the other on the road opposite (Alameda Parkway), the latter is the one you need to take. The path connects with the Morrison Slide Trail and allows you to enjoy truly suggestive views from above.
The Red Rocks park is located in the mountain range of Front Range, an area inhabited by rattlesnakes. Although it is not that frequent to meet them, it is good to be careful when walking on the paths.
Historical Trading Post e Hall of Fame
This listed building was built by architect WR Rosche in 1931 in the Pueblo Revival style to celebrate the native peoples. Here you can buy a souvenir to remember your trip but not only; the building has housed the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, an interesting free museum that traces the musical history of the state.
Timetables, tickets and how to get there
For those who simply want to visit it, The Red Rocks Amphitheater it is open every day of the year from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset (and so is Red Rocks park) however, when concerts are held, the amphitheater is closed early (usually after lunch but it can be even earlier). My advice is to always check on the official website if there are any events scheduled on the day of your visit.
Il Visitor Center it is always open except for Thanksgiving and Christmas, at the following times:
- from April to October: from 7 to 19
- from November to March: from 8 to 16
Il Trading Post follows the same opening days as the Visitor Center but with different hours: from 10 to 16
Entry is free, both for the amphitheater and for all the other attractions.
Reaching the site is pretty straightforward, it's about 5 minutes from Morrison Town, 15 minutes from Golden and just over 20 minutes from Denver. There are many parking lots in the area to reach the various areas and the entrances of the paths, but if you simply want to visit the amphitheater, the reference rest area is theUpper North Lot. Here is a map with indicated the places of interest, the attacks of the paths and useful parking spaces:
A good map to get an idea of the park can be found here.
10 minutes away from the amphitheater is the official hotel of the Red Rocks Park, theOrigin Red Rocks, an upscale lodging run by the Wyndham chain. However, there are plenty of accommodation options in the surrounding area. Here are some useful links to evaluate based on your itinerary
- List of accommodation near Red Rocks sorted by distance from the point of interest -> see all accommodations
- List of accommodations in Golden, the nearest major town -> see all accommodations
- List of accommodations in Denver -> see all accommodations
If you are looking for a hotel in the area I recommend that you take a look at This Page.
Where to eat
Lo Ship Rock Grille it is the only restaurant inside the park and its main strength is the panoramic terrace, where you can dine blissfully while enjoying a splendid view of the park. About 10 minutes from the amphitheater is located The Fort Restaurant (19192 CO-8, Morrison), located in a historic adobe structure built in 1963 on the model of Bent's Old Fort. The house specialty is bison meat, the wine list is remarkable but pay attention to the prices, it is not a cheap restaurant.
For a quick, cheap but also characteristic lunch you can fall back on Willy’s Wings (109 Bear Creek Ln, Morrison); the house specialties here are obviously the chicken wings, to be served with chips and various croquettes.
What to see in the surroundings
In the immediate surroundings of the park there are a number of attractions that you can include in your itinerary:
- Dinosaur Ridge Discovery Center (5 minutes): if you are looking for dinosaur bones and fossils here you will be satisfied. The site, site of the discovery of the Stegosaurus, boasts more than 15 geological sites with the possibility of observing over 200 dinosaur tracks.
- Morrison Historic Town (5 minutes): You can move to the small town of Morrison, with its main street with restaurants and shops, or admire the fossils and dinosaur bones of its natural history museum, or visit the Morrison Heritage Museum to learn the history and culture of the town.
- Bandimere Speedway (8 minutes): If you are a racing enthusiast and want to enjoy a live one, head to this circuit to watch a National Hot Rod Association race.
- Golden (15 minutes): as you will understand from the characteristic main street (and its recognizable sign), this town owes its birth to the discovery of gold and the myth of the west and the frontier permeates it almost everywhere. Golden sits at the foot of Lookout Mountain, which, in addition to offering beautiful hiking trails, is home to the Buffalo Bill Museum & Grave, dedicated to the legendary figure who, among other things, founded the town of Cody in Wyoming. Another popular activity in the city is visiting the Coors Brewery, where you can take a craft beer tasting tour of the Rocky Mountains, brewed here since 1873.
All these attractions are part of the Lariat Loop Scenic & Historic Byway, a 64 km scenic road that winds through the hills between Golden, Morrison and Evergreen.
Do you want to get an idea of what awaits you at the Red Rocks Amphitheater? Here is a video: