Location: Morrison, CO
Distance from Denver: 23mi (~30min) ♡ ♡ ♡
Hike: ~3.5mi RT ♡ ♡ ♡
Difficulty: Medium to Difficult, depending on how you complete the loop (more below) ♡ ♡
Parking Situation: Very small lot right near the trailhead, although you can certainly park in one of the larger Red Rocks lots and walk over (factor this into the hike distance). There is limited street parking ♡
Parking Fee: N/A
What an eventful weekend we had, you guys!!! I don’t know about you, but our neighborhood was PELTED with tons of rain and hail - luckily no snow down where we were. One upside with the crazy weather is that B & I finally have some time to sit down and finish up some of the hikes we did earlier in the season (read, literally only like two weeks ago). PS, summer: WE ARE READY FOR YOU!
This was such a great Sunday morning hike! We were excited to get out and hiking as B had just finished his *big exam* and the weather gods were shining rays of sunshine down on us. We wanted to be somewhere close to town, but still feel a million miles away, and Red Rocks fit the bill just perfectly. We had previously explored the nearby Trading Post Loop in this area, and had seen mention of this trail on the maps so that pretty much decided how we got to this hike!
GPS Coordinates: these coordinates, courtesy AllTrails, brought us straight to the trailhead: 39.672611, -105.201645
Dog Friendly Trail + Mountain Bike Friendly: This trail is dog friendly + we saw quite a few mountain bikers on this trail.
Parking: Try to get to the trailhead as early as you can! The closest parking lot is small, and it fills up pretty quickly. We got there around 9am and snagged the last parking spot by the trail head. There is very limited street parking (brush up on your paralleling skills).
Facilities: None that we saw by this trailhead. There are bathrooms near the Red Rocks Amphitheater that is a short drive from the trail head.
What to Bring: plenty of water, sunscreen, and a hat (most of the trail is exposed).
The trail starts out at a steady incline. We didn’t feel our legs burning, but around the 0.5 mile mark, our lungs certainly took notice of the elevation gain. According to Brandon’s iPhone app, we ended up climbing 29 flights of stairs on this ~3.5 mile loop! The trail to get up to the actual Morrison slide is gorgeous, and had winding views of the Red Rocks and city below. Wildflowers are in gorgeous bloom, so take time to smell the wonderful flowers!
Once you reach the trail sign that is pictured above/the fork in the trail, you have two ways to complete this loop. If you want a challenge, hang left and climb up the Morrison Slide. It’s pretty much STEEP switchbacks that get you to near the top of Mt. Morrison. At the top, you can either make it an out and back trail or loop and descend via the Red Rocks Trail. We chose to make this an easier hiking day, and turned right when we saw that sign/the fork in the trail. This means that we ascended the Red Rocks trail, and descended via the Morrison Slide. DEFINITELY the easier of the two options. It is a much more gradual uphill and easier on both the legs and lungs.
What we loved about this trail was the many ledges just off the main trail that you could peer over for spectacular views of the surrounding area. Just watch for signs as some areas are a no-go (for re-vegetation purposes), but some are actual little trails off the main Red Rocks trail to spectacular viewpoints. We also saw hawks circling the area, so be sure to look up as well as around you!
One note of caution: we heard that there were rattlesnakes on the trail. While we were lucky not to see any, a girl hiking behind us was pretty freaked out as she said she saw a huge one on the trail. Just be very aware and stay safe friends!!