Red Rocks Trail Hike – Denver

Denver, CO

During their recent stay in the Denver area our friends, Hans and Lisa, did a great loop hike that began/ended in Red Rocks Park.  The park is the home of the famous amphitheater nestled within the red rocks.  While world-class musicians perform under the stars in the evenings, during the day miles of trails are open to hikers and mountain bikers.

Early one morning we met Steve and MonaLiza in one of the large parking areas and set out to do a seven mile loop beginning on the Red Rocks Trail.  Our plan was to follow the trail Hans and Lisa described using Red Rocks Trail, Dakota Ridge, Village Walk, Morrison Slide, then back to Red Rocks Trail.

The trail begins through a flat grassland area

The high point (literally the highest point) of the hike was the Dakota Ridge, also known as the Dakota Hogsback.  This ridge of Dakota Sandstone creates a natural barrier between the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and the plains to the east.

The trail crosses the highway (CO-93) where you begin to climb up the Hogsback

Beautiful view on the ridge

Look at the photo above.  See the red rock formation above the ladies?  That is the location of the Red Rock Amphitheater.  A zoom shot below shows the seating area.

As we hiked along the Hogsback, we stopped for a snack and a group photo.

Looking down over the edge, Hawkeye Steve spotted a pair of antlers and two eyes peering back at him.

The little guy below had found himself a nice quiet spot in the shade for the day!

Looking back behind us you can see the road (CO-93) with the Hogsback on the left and Red Rocks Amphitheater on the right.

As we hiked the Hogsback the girls suddenly began to kiss a pine tree!  OK, they were just enjoying the butterscotch (or vanilla to some) smell of a Ponderosa Pine (bet you never saw Hoss doing this on the ranch!)

This trail is also a very popular route for mountain bikers.  Log ramps are built into steep areas of the trail to help them riding in either direction.

At the north end of the Hogsback, the Dakota Ridge Trail descends down to a point where you have to cross the highway (CO-93) again.  You then enter Matthew/Winters Park for the return hike.

At Matthews/Winters we picked up the Village Walk Trail as it wandered across a grassy area.

After a bit we came to the junction of Red Rocks Trail and Morrison Slide Trail.  The Morrison Slide Trail is a bit longer and gains some elevation compared to the Red Rocks Trail.  Since there were thunderstorms all around us, we opted for the shorter route and took The Red Rocks Trail back to the parking area.

A bit of wildlife along the Red Rock Trail

Thunderstorms all around us on the return trail

We returned to the parking area just in time to avoid some rain.  We planned to go up the hill and visit the amphitheater but the thunder chased us away.  We’ll save that visit for another day.

OK, we did have a little excitement on the trail.  Pam has frequently fallen while hiking, hence the moniker “nimble hiker.”  She was excited (and completely un-sympathetic) when John finally took a tumble on the Red Rock Trail.  He thought she might have pushed him, but she was behind Steve so apparently gravity is the culprit.

An example of using your head!

Other than a skinned knee, a cut on the hand, and dirt on his shirt and hat, he survived with no lingering physical injuries other than a bruised ego!

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32 Responses to Red Rocks Trail Hike – Denver

  1. Debbie says:

    What a good time you are having. Thanks for sharing. We are headed that way next week to see 3 Dog Night in concert at Hudson Gardens and camp at Chatfield. The concerts there are always a good time

  2. explorvistas says:

    I visited Red Rocks Amplitheater as a 6 year old boy in 1964. I remember the great acoustics!


  3. Mary says:

    Wow, such a pretty area. I have always wanted to go to a concert at Red rocks. What a great area.

  4. We went back this morning just to check out the amphitheater! Our hike is again one for the books, great hike with great friends and great timing to dodge a thunderstorm.
    Now I know why Pam had a quick draw of the cam when John took tumble 🙂

    • placestheygo says:

      Yes, Monaliza, I have never gotten any sympathy for my falls. I just want to repay the favor:) It was a great day with good friends:) So glad we did make it out before the rain.

  5. We did one hike near Red Rocks when we stayed in Golden…but it was really hot and the dogs were having a hard time so we had to turn around. Such a pretty and interesting area. We did walk around the amphitheater a bit – I really want to see a show there some day!

  6. That shot of the deer peeking up from the rocks is adorable!

    John, John, John…so sorry you took a tumble! At least it was mild enough you didn’t have to use your Spot!

    • placestheygo says:

      I’m so glad Steve was looking way over the edge because that was the most adorable face looking up at us:)

      You know exactly how much sympathy I get when I fall, Lisa!! Finally, the tides reverse:)

  7. Janna says:

    So green there too! Loved the shot of the buck looking at you! So sorry John took a tumble and glad you didn’t laugh too hard! 😉

    • placestheygo says:

      I was too busy getting the camera out, Janna, to laugh:) I did get a shot off but he was getting up and Steve blocked too much of it…darn! It was a one in a million photo! That buck was so sweet with that innocent face peering up at us:)

  8. Gay says:

    What a gorgeous hike…the green sure pops in your pictures! Love the deer peeking out from the rocks at all of you! Hiking with friends is always fun…..

    Sorry John had a fall…way glad nothing was broken ( except his ego!).

    • placestheygo says:

      It is definitely green here, Gay, with all the rain and new growth. It’s been fun having friends along for our hikes lately:) John’s ego will heal just fine:)

  9. Sherry says:

    What fun to meet up with Steve and Mona Lisa for this really great hike. Sorry John about the fall. Glad you were only a bit bruised and banged. Take heart though, the name Nimble Hiker is already taken. Any trail where I can smell the Ponderosa is a great one. Love your pictures and that cute little face looking up at you.

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Sherry! We really enjoyed hiking with our friends. You don’t have to worry about John ever taking my special name. Doesn’t have the correct ring for a macho hiker:) Yes, that face peering up at us was so adorable.

  10. pmbweaver says:

    What a gorgeous spot for the Red Rock Amphitheater. Do you know what types of programs they do?
    HAHAHA…love the ladies romancing the pine tree. Looks pretty kinky.
    Oh dear…I don’t like the looks of that sky at all! RUN!!!
    John doesn’t have any real physical injuries but did you check his mental injuries? Hope they are worse than normal.
    I love the green, green, green look of that hike.

  11. Laurel says:

    That looks like such a great hike — and the company couldn’t be any better! I didn’t know your little tumbles earned you the “Nimble Hiker” title, Pam. Hmmm….maybe John could be “Nimble Hiker II” ?? :)))

    • placestheygo says:

      You won’t ever catch John being labeled any type “Nimble Hiker!” I’ve waited a long time for this opportunity to return the sympathy I always get:) Oh, yes, I have taken several rather ungraceful, full body falls! My knees look worse than most kids’ knees! It’s a good day when I hike without some blood being drawn somewhere:) We did have some great company for hiking. It was so nice that we could all be in the same area at the same time.

  12. LuAnn says:

    We saw Norah Jones several years ago at the Red Rock Amphitheater…wonderful! Those hikes you are doing look fabulous. Glad to see that John is using his head and that he thankfully did not hurt himself worse when he fell.

    • placestheygo says:

      It would be great to see a concert there but, boy, tickets are quite steep! And with all the evening rain we have been having, it could be very unpleasant. We did three very nice hikes. It’s been awhile since we’ve hiked on mostly level trails:) John bounced right back, well, except for his ego:)

      • LuAnn says:

        We went to a concert there many years ago, before Norah Jones was so well known. Really glad to hear that John was not hurt badly.

  13. That looks like a wonderful hike. Funny how we women don’t have much sympathy for the guys sometimes! Glad John was not hurt.

    • placestheygo says:

      It was truly pay back, Gayle! Since I am always the one falling and get little to no sympathy, I figured I’d turn the table:) All is well, except that bruised ego.

  14. debbiemc14 says:

    What a pretty hike. The deer is absolutely adorable peeking up! Falls seem to be inevitable on the trail. The red rocks are different than I picture them. We’ll be spending 4+ months in CO next summer.

    • placestheygo says:

      Yes, the deer peeking up at us was the highlight of the hike. The red rocks in this area seem to be more uplifted slabs rather than huge walls and formations like Utah or Sedona. There is definitely enough to keep you busy for months in Colorado. We were originally summering in Colorado until we decided to head east to visit family for two months.

  15. Nancy says:

    Glad everyone is okay!! First off your pictures are fabulous but that deer playing peek a boo with you is toooo cute!
    My son traveled to the red rock amphitheater this past year to see 9 inch nails!! It was on his bucket list!!

    • placestheygo says:

      The buck peeking out was such a great find. So glad Steve decided to look way over the edge:)

      I did check on attending a concert but there wasn’t anyone coming that I could justify the ticket prices. And with thunderstorms or rain every evening I can’t imagine how it would be sitting in the rain:) Glad your son was able to check that off his Bucket List!

  16. Pingback: Exploring the iconic Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater – Morrison, CO | The Lowe's RV adventures

  17. rommel says:

    Them tree huggers got nothing on those two tree kissers. 😀

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