Red Rocks rocks

The word “design”, when heard or seen by itself, can constitute a broad range of definitions in the English language. A building is constructed in a designated area, structurally designed to work with the laws of physics, and decorated by interior designers to give the inside aesthetically pleasing features. Not to mention the graphic designers who work in these buildings, developing visual methods to sell products designed to meet our every need. But what happens when natural design and human design collaborate?

Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater answers this exact question. With concert season just around the corner, this venue is one of the premier concert locations in Colorado, let alone the world. History revealed its design when architect Burnham Hoyt laid out plans for the venue in 1936, with construction spanning over 12 years. The developers aimed to keep the natural beauty of the land, merging it with human intentions to host breathtaking musical performances.

However, while most people hear Red Rocks and think spectacular live music with an altitude, accompanied by crimson landscapes and parking lot pre-parties, there is a more peaceful, natural side of Red Rocks that Denver residents seem to forget. Besides the amphitheater, Red Rocks contains over four miles of Hiking, Biking, and Horseback Riding trails that lead to some of the most unique sandstone formations accessible in Colorado. The 1.4 mile Trading Post Trail loops around the southern rock formations to deliver a refreshing view of the surrounding scenery. Tinged with an earthy-red color and protruding from the ground like an ancient ruin, Park Cave Rock is a hundred feet off the main trail and allows people to actually climb their way through massive cave-like structures without having to exert much effort. Dog-walkers, hikers, bikers and explorers will find themselves wandering for hours among these solemn natural designs.

For those delighted with the fact that spring is arriving full throttle, you’ll be able to see the aging in progress as little green blades of grass overtake the taller, decaying yellow that blankets the geology. Wildflowers will soon paint patterns on the hillsides as the Indian Paintbrush, the Blue Columbine, Yucca, and Bull Thistles begin to blossom in the sunshine. Looming monoliths tower over the flora and fauna higher than the formations of Niagra Falls, and the history of the land dates back as far as the dinosaurs. You’ll find trees from sumac to ponderosa, and small wildlife such as foxes and rattlesnakes  inhabit the ecosystem.

Finally, those who wish to stay in shape will discover the amphitheater also acts as an outdoor fitness center, challenging the will of runners from all around the metro area. Start at the bottom and sprint to the top, if you can make it up the hundreds of stairs, or take a long, enduring run down each of 69 rows of seating to try to conquer the ascension. You’ll be sucking air in the altitude, but don’t forget to stop and take in the panoramic view of Denver once you come out on top, gasping for breath at 6,400 feet.

A map of Red Rocks and its trails can be seen here.