librarian + adventurer

HIKES

MORE Red Rocks!


Red Rocks Trail
Trailhead: Red Rocks Trail - Lower North Lot of Red Rocks Amphitheater
Distance*: 6.0 miles (easy)


I want to start by saying that I'm so thankful for Logan. He's willing to wake up early on his days off and hike 7 miles with me and I'm so glad I have someone in my life to drag along to things like this. 

My winter wanderlust is getting the best of me, so I wanted to come back to Red Rocks and do the "dramatic 6 mile loop" their website boasted about. Since today was supposed to be in the 70s, we aimed to get there pretty early - both to beat the crowds and beat the heat. The first 0.7 miles were simply wandering downhill, it wasn't till we crossed over from Red Rocks Park and into Matthews-Winters Open Space that it felt like a "hike" persay. We came to the fork where we could either take the Morrison Slide Loop or the Red Rocks Trail and we opted for the Red Rocks Trail - simply a flat, wandering trail. 

The trails converged + made a loop, but we were still feeling pretty good so we decided to keep going and see where we ended up. Just past the loop, there was a steep downhill switchback that was covered in ice (it did snow on Monday, after all) and Logan took one step and slid backwards halfway down the hill. It took me probably 10 minutes to convince myself to go down, and only then because we had drawn quite a crowd of people trying to figure out the best way to conquer this hill. I watched 4 people go down in varying styles and decided I should squat down and slide - half on my butt, half on my feet, held up with my hands. This ended up working perfectly and I made it down in one piece, but my hands turned numb. 

There were a few more spots that were slick with ice and snow, and I spent my time crossing those cursing myself for forgetting my Yaktrax that I meant to bring with me. I think subconsciously I decided that if it were 72 degrees I wouldn't need ice traction, but I forgot that its still winter and it had snowed this week. Never again will I hike in winter without them!

We continued into Matthews-Winters till we reached the parking lot and had to turn around. It was such a beautiful day and this hike was so simple that I felt like I could go on forever. On our way back we took the Morrison Slide Trail which was completely snow covered and if there were patches without snow, they were giant puddles. I was thankful we did this one going uphill rather than down, because it would have been incredibly difficult to go down slipping and sliding in the snow the entire way. We stopped at the top and took some pictures of the incredible view (it was such a clear day today) of both the city and the amphitheater. Other than that, our only stops were the ice spectacle and when we had to move to the side to let runners pass. 

*Note on the distance: 6 miles is the length of the loop - we added 1.36 miles by going further into Matthews-Winters and doing the Village Walk trail. Our total distance for the day was 7.36.

The cutest winter cactus I ever did see!

The north sides of all the mountains were covered in snow making walking a challenge

At the top of "Mud Hill" Logan's second biggest nemesis (behind Carl Lewis but ahead of Stalin) 

I love looking back at the trail I've walked. One of the simplest but biggest joys

Half of this hike was like summer hiking. The other half was most definitely winter hiking.

Looking at the foothills this way, I can almost imagine the tectonic plates hitting each other and forming the mountains.

This adventure is on The Outbound!