Even after twelves years of living in beautiful Colorado, I still love visiting the Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre. When my younger brother Mark came to visit me from San Francisco last week, we made sure to spend one of our afternoons climbing the stairs of the amphitheatre and hiking the trails that journey among the sandstone red rocks.
All throughout the dry landscape these rocks protrude from the earth. Pine trees grow in the what appears as the craziest of places, extending out atop the large rocks themselves. Where their roots take ground and how they get nutrition and water is beyond me for they appear to be growing out of solid stone. Yet there they are…resilient and growing tall, almost as if to say to us “ah ha! Nature will never cease to surprise you and thus is life…“.
Being at Red Rocks is for me a magical experience because while I know I am in Colorado and can see majestic views of the front range mountains, the park itself is composed of earth and terrain that is of desert style. There are cactus growing everywhere, blossoming with desert flowers when the seasons allow, and the trails are of sandy dirt. Scraggly shrubs grow close together to from an impenetrable barrier to wandering off the trail. In other areas, there are tempting openings and vast expanses of space that tease one to scramble up upon the large formidable red rocks jutting from the earth. I say tempting because the park has signs throughout warning of the expensive fines one must pay if they are caught climbing the rocks formations. I believe there is also the risk of going to prison. That is enough incentive for me to remain on the trail and enjoy scaling the rock forms with my eyes.
Mark and I picnicked at the top of the amphitheatre after walking one of the long stairways of red rock that exist on either side of the rows of wood and stone seating. The day was beautiful and there were so many people visiting the park. Couples were taking pictures together with the view of the Denver skyline in the background and others were doing their rigorous workouts walking, running and even lunging up and down the hundreds of steps that are carved into the stone. It became apparent to me watching those working out, that doing one’s exercises at Red Rocks is always going to result in a rigorous workout.
Once we munched, we took off on one of the main trails that loops throughout the park. Up and down the rolling ground and around and in between the gorgeous, towering red rocks, the trail led us through a splendid desert scene. It reminded me of my past visits to Moab, Utah, although not quite as desert-y and bare of foliage. The sky was that clear, vibrant blue I have come to love in Colorado. With the dry air it seems to sparkle with sharp brightness and the cleanest blue I have yet to see anywhere.
I’ve been to several music concerts and events at Red Rocks. One of my favorites is the series of “Film on the Rocks” which is when they show a feature film one night a week on a big screen over the stage. People come with friends and family, bringing their picnics and enjoying beers and wines that are sold by vendors throughout the amphitheatre as well. Usually there is an opening band from the local area and then just after dusk, the movie kicks-off. It’s always a great time to watch a movie in such a fantastic environment and with the company of thousands of people around you. What a sense of fun community when your gasps of shock and roars of laughter are thousands of people louder.
Whether you’re visiting Colorado or are a local to the Denver/front-range area, make sure to spend time enjoying the amazing beauty and fun of Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre. It will draw you in and have you returning for another magical time.
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