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Ask a Denverite what he thinks of when he hears, “Red Rocks,” and he might say, “concerts.” But, I think “guests.” Over the years, I’ve taken out-of-town guests to Red Rocks Amphitheatre many times — far more times than I’ve gone there to see concerts.

I take house guests to Red Rocks for several reasons: The first is their look of surprise and delight when they first see the amphitheatre. It’s an impressive site — all that stepped seating between those mammoth rocks.

But the fun starts even before you get to the amphitheatre. Red Rocks, once intended as a driving park, offers a number of fine views from the convenience of your car. But, if you’d rather stretch your legs, there are several hiking paths to explore. On a sunny day, the rocks are gloriously red against a sky that’s gloriously blue. But, on hazy days, the long southern valley view is both mournful and timeless.

Dinosaur Ridge lies just east of Red Rocks’ north entrance. Formerly the road over Dinosaur Ridge was opened to the public. Today if you wish to ride over the ridge, you’ll need to catch a bus at the Visitor’s Center on its eastern side. While that may be the side to visit if you want to view dinosaur tracks, you can view and touch the dinosaur bone embedded in rocks on the side closest to Red Rocks. In addition to the parking on the east side of Dinosaur Ridge, limited parking is also available on the side which faces Red Rocks.

Dakota Ridge trail on top of Dinosaur Ridge offers views of steeply angled rocks and weather stunted trees. If you follow the trail to where I-70 passes through the Dakota Hogback, you can view rock strata born in a number of geological ages.

One final reason to visit Red Rocks is its convenience. Four highways in its near vicinity lead up into the mountains. And even more roads arrive near Red Rocks from nearby metropolitan areas, including Denver, Inverness and Boulder. See redrocksonline.com for detailed information.

Red Rocks Amphitheatre