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Red Rocks is the world-renowned Amphitheater formed by natural cliffs near Denver.
Huge fins of red sandstone protrude near the base of Mount Morrison.
Their shape and size just happens to be perfect for acoustics, so the amphitheater was built.
What many visitors don’t realize, however, is the ecological and geological significance of the area, which is visible on an even greater scale than the cultural significance of the theater.
Here in the Front Range foothills, golden grasses of the Great Plains blend with evergreen pines of the Rocky Mountains, and the accent of red cliffs really makes the color show.
The rocks contain fossils of life older than the dinosaurs, and today a great diversity of plants and animals thrive here. Red Rocks Park is more than just the amphitheater, as well.
There’s a network of trails that explore the landscape.
Trading Post Trail is one of them, and it’s an excellent sample of the area’s nature and geology.
You can learn about the site’s history and perhaps spot some of its natural residents like deer and prairie dogs.
As the name suggests, the trail begins at the Trading Post, where you can shop for souvenirs as well as visit the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.
The location offers a healthy mix of indoor and outdoor, plus cultural and natural experiences.
It’s a perfect choice of activity if you are visiting Red Rocks but not seeing a show, or want to explore before a show starts. If you want to add a sit-down lunch to your itinerary for the day, go no further than the Ship Rock Grille, located next to the amphitheater.
You can hike right to it from Trading Post Trail by taking the walkway from Upper South Lot.
The restaurant is situated spectacularly between the prows of the amphitheater’s twin cliffs, and at the base of Mount Morrison.
On the outdoor patio, you can enjoy the view, the mountain air, and a broad selection of Southwest-inspired American fare. Sources: https://www.redrocksonline.com/about/history-geology https://www.redrocksonline.com/the-park/hiking-biking https://www.redrocksonline.com/plan-your-visit/dining https://www.denvergov.org/content/dam/denvergov/Portals/747/documents/ParkArt/RedRocks_ParkMap.pdf