Round-Trip Length: 1.4 miles – (loop)
Elevation: 6,280 feet
Skill Level: Easy
Trailhead Location: The Trading Post Trail. Take C-470 to Morrison Exit. West into Morrison and follow signs to Trading Posting and Red Rocks Welcome Center. Park at Trading Post.
I decided to take a quick afternoon hike late this afternoon in Red Rocks Park, only a 20 minute drive from my house. It was really more like a walk than a hike as the trail is only a 1.4-mile loop. Late afternoon is a good time to go here as the sun is starting to get low in the sky and it really brings out the red hues in the sandstone rock formations.
When many people think of Red Rocks, they think of the amphitheatre which is a fantastic summer concert venue. However, the park also has some great hiking trails to enjoy the scenery and amazing rock formations.
Red Rocks Park is located in Jefferson County but is owned and maintained by the city of Denver as part of the Denver Mountain Parks system. Its earliest known name was the Garden of the Angels, reputedly given to it on July 4, 1870, by Martin Van Buren Luther, a pioneer Colorado judge. It was renamed Garden of the Titans in 1906 by famed editor John Brisben Walker when he purchased the area. It was formally given the name Red Rocks Park when Denver acquired it in 1928.
I parked at the Trading Post and Visitor Center and headed down the trail. The sun was hiding behind a big cloud so I didn’t know if I was going to get any good pictures but it did look like the sun wouldn’t be covered for long.
A short distance down the trail I came across this cactus plant.
On this first part of the trail you’re actually walking right on a big sandstone rock with a drop off to the right.
Here is the big cloud that was temporarily covering the sun. It actually did provide a cool silhouette of the rock formation just below the cloud.
As I came down into the valley, the sun was starting to peek out from the cloud and cast some light onto the rock formations.
A few minutes later the sun came out in full completely shining on these big sandstone formations highlighting the beautiful red color and the deep blue sky.
I continued up around the loop and captured some more of the rock formations.
Right near the car I looked back to the west as the sun was sneaking behind a cloud again and caught this image of a lone tree on the ridge.
After I got back to the car I decided to drive up the short distance to the top of the amphitheater to see if I could get any good pictures looking down into it but the sun had already set behind the ridge and the amphitheatre was already in shadows. I’ll have to catch that next time.