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Colorado is a beautiful state with many wonderful parks, preserves, and forests. What makes these areas even better is when they’re cheap or free to get in to. To my great satisfaction, I discovered two such places while traveling through Colorado. One is located in Colorado Springs, the other is just outside of Denver.

Garden of the Gods is located on the west side of Colorado Springs just off of I-24 and is a big park that is completely free and open to the public 365 days a year. It’s made up of giant red-colored rock formations which are visible from just about anywhere inside the park. Garden of the Gods is a family-friendly place to visit with trails for people of all ages and varying physical abilities.

There’s an easy, paved trail with very little elevation change which spirals through the center of the formations. But, for the more advanced hikers there are a few more challenging trails. If you’re in to mountain biking, bring your bike and you can hit the trails, too. Although it may be tempting, climbing any of the rocks is prohibited. If you’re a technical climber you must register at the Visitor Center, be in a group of two or more, and bring all the proper equipment.

Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater is located 15 miles west of Denver off of I-70. Other than being closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas, the park is open year-round and it won’t cost you a dime to get into. The most noteworthy aspect of Red Rocks is that it features┬áthe only naturally-occurring, acoustically perfect amphitheater in the world. It hosts everything from concerts to high school graduations.

If you want to get active try hiking the 1.4 mile Trading Post Trail through the red rocks. You’ll encounter rocky terrain, and valleys and meadows full of beautiful flowers. You can also check out the 6 mile Red Rocks Trail which is a multi-use trail shared by hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders. Either way you’ll be experiencing amazing scenery and enjoying the beautiful outdoors.

Garden of the Gods and Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater are two exciting places to visit for both local and tourists. One of the many good things about being an outdoor enthusiast is you usually don’t have to spend a lot of money to do the things you enjoy. Find out if there are any free parks in your local area and go out and enjoy them.

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