Music venues don’t get much better than Colorado’s Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre. Musical giants from The Beatles to U2 have played here over the years, and Rolling Stone magazine calls it “America’s best amphitheatre”.
While the impeccable acoustics have contributed to Red Rocks’ stellar reputation, its natural surroundings are just as impressive.
The amphitheatre is surrounded by soaring terracotta sandstone monoliths that have graced this earth for some 160 million years.
I was lucky enough to visit the venue twice on a recent trip to Denver while attending US trade show IPW.
The travel show culminated at Red Rocks with a live performance from Colorado band One Republic – and it was nothing short of spectacular.
We arrived just before sunset, to watch the sky turn shades of pink and purple as the sun slipped behind one of the ochre rocks.
I wasn’t particularly a fan of the band before they graced the stage but their performance was so seamless and involving – and the acoustics of the venue so crisp and engulfing – that it was impossible not to cheer and dance along with the rest of the crowd.
From Denver, Red Rocks is 15 miles from the city centre and there’s parking on-site for clients who have hired a car.
For those who haven’t, the Red Rocks Shuttle can collect them from downtown Denver and Capitol Hill, starting the experience with food and drink at partnered local restaurants and dropping them back into town again (see Visit Denver’s webpage on Red Rocks for more info).
Clients don’t need to have concert tickets to visit Red Rocks, though. The venue is also a free park that’s open to visitors from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset.
Just walking around and admiring the prehistoric rock formations is special enough, but if they want to find out more about Red Rocks’ history, clients can spend an hour or two at the Visitor Center.
Here, clients will find educational displays and a Performers’ Hall of Fame, where they can look for their favourite band and count how many times they’ve played the iconic venue.
Active clients can also opt to hike the park’s Trading Post Trail and the Red Rocks Trail, or make like the locals and run or power walk up the amphitheatre’s stone steps (do warn clients that Red Rocks is at an altitude of 1,951 metres, so active options are aimed at fit individuals.)
For a laid-back, muscle-stretching option, there’s also Yoga on the Rocks, which I try on my first visit to Red Rocks (redrocksonline.com/yotr).
As we work out on the Red Rocks steps, we’re serenaded by the sounds of Elephant Revival, a local bluegrass band who are sound-checking before their evening performance.
It’s by far the most scenic, serene and memorable venue in which I’ve ever practised my downward dog.