I received a phone call from a good friend I met at Michigan State, and I immediately heard a not of urgency in her voice. She explained to me that there was an extra spot in the car that she was riding to Colorado in, and she highly advised me to join. “Not only are we going to see a show at Red Rocks Amphitheater, but we will have three days to hike the trails of Red Rocks!”
I didn’t have to think twice. My immediate answer was, “Absolutely, Mo. Count me in.”
Three days later, we began our journey. When driving into the beautiful town of Golden, Colorado, we finally realized how nestled in the mountains we really were. Heading past the town and up higher in elevation to 6,200ft, we began to see the natural color of red that we all recognized so clearly. From a distance, Red Rocks looks like a fiery sunset over the horizon, but upon arrival the mirage takes form and the height of the rocks appears.
We parked our car, and with no hesitation we geared up and headed out on the trail. We decided to jump on the Trading Post Trail, mostly because we wanted to check out the rock formations, but we also wanted to see the amphitheater in which we were going to see a show the following night. We began our 1.4-mile hike up into the first rocks of the trail, the Picnic formations.
Mind you, 1.4 miles in the mountains is far more difficult than 1.4 miles on flat land. Although I’m uncertain why they named these the Picnic rocks, I did begin to realize how amazing the geology around us was. The beautiful red rocks towered over us, making us feel so infinitely small… but in the friendliest of ways. These rocks, although gigantic, seem very gentle and harmless.
Around the bend a ways we arrived at Park Cave Rock, which had a very peculiar shape–almost as if it had a crown on top of it. We stood beside it and took it in as best we could.
While I was standing there mindlessly staring into the lines of the rocks, I noticed Mo had slipped away and found something that made her jaw literally drop. I ran around the rest of the rock to see what she was experiencing, and it was one of the most incredible views of my life. We were able to see, in the very near distance, the so-called “skyline” of Red Rocks: Frog Rock, Nine Parks Rock, Park Cave, and the top of the iconic Ship Wreck Rock, which helps make up the amphitheater. A chill ran up my spine and I, at that exact moment, became so separated from the everyday stress of life and completely inundated with nature.
As we got closer to the two iconic rocks, Creation and Ship Wreck, an overwhelming excitement grew over all of us. I had been listening to Dave Matthews live at Red Rocks since I can remember, and always dreamt to make it out there. As we passed Frog Rock, and the small crevices of Magog and Sphinx, we entered a beautiful valley that looked healthy and flourishing. At the top and in between Creation and Ship Wreck Rocks, you can see the entirety of Golden to your right, and all of Denver straight ahead of you. Realizing you’re so high above the already “mile high” city is a really amazing feeling. The air was so clean and the sky was so blue.
We finished off our journey leisurely as we wandered our way back to the car, feeling incredibly accomplished and satisfied. Red Rocks is a park I would advise everyone, to experience. It’s an incredibly life-changing location!