Red Rocks Amphitheatre is known internationally for its natural acoustics and one-of-a-kind ambiance. The venue regularly draws an absolutely stellar lineup of international musicians. Of course, that’s only part of the park.
It’s a world-class concert amphitheater located in the foothills of Morrison near Denver. Big-name artists have been headlining during the warmer seasons for years, going all the way back to The Beatles, Grateful Dead, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. The park also hosts other events, like their popular summer movies series and yoga.
Long before General Long discovered Red Rocks in 1820, it was a common gathering spot for the Ute tribe. It became Garden of the Angels in 1870, a tourist attraction. Later the landmark became known as the Garden of the Titans from 1906 to 1927.
Denver purchased the park in 1928 and officially named it Park of the Red Rocks. The concert venue was designed by Burnham Hoyt and created by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The construction process included the removal of over 50,000 cubic feet of dirt and rock, mostly moved by shovel, pick, and wheelbarrow.
Sandstone from Lyons was brought in for the seating to match the red hues of the surrounding rocks, and after 5 years of hard work on the project, it was finally completed in 1941. Its popularity naturally grew in the coming decades and in 1973 it was deemed a Denver Landmark, followed by its appointment as a National Historic Landmark in 2015.
Concert Venue, Biking and Hiking Trails
On non-concert days the park is full of locals exercising and tourists soaking in the sights. Weekend mornings are especially popular for those looking to sweat it out on the steps of the amphitheatre.
The 868-acre park sits at 6,450 feet above sea level and is named after the staggering red sandstone monoliths that jet out of the ground. The most popular rocks are Creation Rock to the north, Ship Rock to the south, and Stage Rock to the east.
Park Facilities include:
- Visitor Center – Red Rocks Hall of Fame exhibits and small merchandise counter.
- Ship Rock Grille – Reserve a pre-concert dinner or enjoy lunch daily.
- Trading Post – Red Rocks souvenirs and Colorado Music Hall of Fame.
- Multi-Use Trails
- Parking Areas
- On-site waste management and recycling sorting
Visitor Center and Trading Post
The Visitor Center offers a glimpse into the history of Red Rocks Park, which has been a popular outdoor concert venue for decades. Explore interactive exhibits, make your way through the beautiful Red Rocks Hall of Fame displays, and learn about the geology and natural beauty of the area. The center is open every day of the week and admission is free, making it an accessible and educational experience for visitors of all ages.
The Trading Post, originally known as the Indian Concession House, offers a wide range of souvenirs including t-shirts, posters, and other memorabilia. It houses the Colorado Music Hall of Fame as well, established to celebrate our state’s rich musical contributions.
Biking/Hiking – The property is considered a Denver Moutain Park so there are plenty of recreational trails to explore.
- The 1.4-mile Trading Post trail leads you through the Fountain and Lyons formations before ending up at the trading post.
- The Red Rocks trail begins at the lower north lot and can be connected with the Matthews-Winters trail, creating a six-mile loop. It is the only trail that bicycles are permitted on.
- The Funicular trial is more of a short connector walk to the Trading Post trail, but it interestingly follows the old route of a passenger railway that used to provide access to the summit of Mt. Morrison.
- Mt. Vernon Creek trail is a nice 1 mile wander along the creek, with nice views of the amphitheatre as well.
Camping – There’s no campground within the park itself, but there are a few spots to camp near Morrison and Red Rocks.
Exercising – Red Rocks has become an iconic place to get your sweat on, especially because of its massive size and high elevation. Individuals and small groups are permitted to work out in the amphitheatre, provided they follow all posted rules and do not disturb other guests.
Horseback Riding – Permitted on the Red Rocks trail.
Picnicking – Common on the steps of the amphitheatre. Bring a blanket and all your favorite snacks to enjoy a sunny Colorado day. Be sure to check if there is an event, as access is limited after a specific time so they are able to set up for the night’s affairs.
Rock Climbing – Not allowed anywhere inside of the park and violators are subject to arrest.
- Self-guided tours are always available for guests, from one hour after sunrise to one hour before sunset as long as there is no event scheduled. Explore the Visitor Center and Trading Post, grab a bite to eat, and maybe take a short hike to fully experience the beautiful amphitheatre.
- Private group walking tours for 15-50 people are offered in the mornings with preapproval. These tours require a small fee per person, and in the off-season, you are even able to go backstage. As of 2023, the program is still on pause due to COVID, but hopefully, they’ll start accepting reservations soon.
Read about the best hotels near Morrison and Red Rocks.
In addition to traditional concert concessions like hot dogs, pretzels, and burgers, you’ll also find an array of vendors and two sit-down venues at Red Rocks. Specialty vendors serve the likes of BBQ, unique sausages, coffee, funnel cakes, and tacos on event days.
Ship Rock Grille – Surrounded by massive boulders and gorgeous scenery, the cafe offers a delectable menu making it an ideal place for a pre-show dinner on concert nights or lunch after you’ve toured the property. Reservations are recommended, especially for large parties and concert evenings, and guests should enter the amphitheatre via the Top Circle entrance.
Row 71 Whisky Bar – Located on the Top Plaza with sweeping views of the surrounding area, check out the Row 71 Bar presented by TINCUP. It’s a nice place to grab a drink and enjoy the calm before the storm of a concert.
Jun-Aug – Yoga on the Rocks – Start your weekend off right with an early morning yoga session at Red Rocks. Hosts change monthly, but all offer top-tier yoga instruction in a gorgeous setting.
Jun-Aug – Film on the Rocks – Watch all of your favorite classics under the stars on the big screen. Each event features live entertainment before the film and there are plenty of concessions to snack on.
Sep-Oct – Snowshape Winter Fitness – Join Fitness in the City for this 4-week series aimed to get you ready for the snow sports season. The early morning sessions focus on strength, stability, power, and endurance to ensure you’re in top shape to shred.
Address: 18300 West Alameda Parkway, Morrison, CO 80465
Season: Year-round | Daily 5 am – 11 pm
Fees: None (except concerts)
Pets: Yes, permitted on a leash except at concerts
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