Exploring Colorado’s Red Rocks and Lookout Mountain

Aside from a long weekend in Rocky Mountain National Park a couple years ago, I haven’t spent an appreciable amount of time in Colorado. So when our friends told us they were attending a week-long work conference in Denver, we immediately made plans to head down the weekend ahead of time to catch up!

Denver is a 90-minute drive from Cheyenne (looking forward to the express lanes opening and cutting that down!) and we set out on a beautiful Saturday morning, making a 100% worthwhile stop for lunch at Totally 80s Pizza in Fort Collins before checking in at our hotel in downtown Denver.

Our friends arrived around dinner time and we spent a wonderful evening checking out a few spots around Larimer Square (champagne flights, anyone?) and making plans for our Sunday outing. Although they don’t typically prioritize hiking when they travel, our friends told us ahead of time they were up for it so I scouted a few reasonable trails within driving distance of Denver.

One that caught my eye was the 1.4-mile Trading Post loop trail at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre. Situated at 6,450 feet in between the plains and Rocky Mountains, this area was easy to access, had ample parking, and ended up being a perfect spot to walk off our brunch!

There were quite a few people on the trail as we made our way clockwise around the loop.

Our friend Judson was really hoping to see a snake, but unfortunately for him our wildlife encounters were limited to birds, chipmunks, and mule deer.

I was thrilled to see the mule deer relatively nearby – there were a few fawns in the group and their gigantic ears were adorable!

It was supposed to be a cloudy day but the sun was bright, we were plenty warm in spite of the 60 degree highs, and we were all sweating and ready for a rest when we completed our loop and climbed to the top of the amphitheater.

The views of the surrounding area, including Denver off in the distance!, were stunning, but we were even more enraptured by the people who were using the amphitheater seating area for their workouts.

One guy in particular was hard to miss – he had on a minimal pair of animal-print boxers, a neon green swim cap, and tennis shoes, and he would run down the amphitheater seating BACKWARD. Everyone was cringing and hoping he wouldn’t fall – he was successful in his various extreme workouts while we were there, and it was apparent this wasn’t his first rodeo!

It was early afternoon when we wrapped up our time at the amphitheater and Colorado Music Hall of Fame, and we were ready to grab lunch. We decided to check out Woody’s Wood Fired Pizza in Golden, Colorado and made our way there via Lookout Mountain.

After winding our way up to the park, we walked a short trail over to the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave. There were several people paragliding over Golden – they would soar up, down, and around and were mesmerizing to watch.

The Rocky Mountains were in full view and I was excited to see several peaks covered in snow. Our last visit was in September so I haven’t seen them in winter following the heavy snows. It’s something I’m looking forward to this year now that we’re only an hour away!

It was a beautiful and fun weekend away with our friends, and I was so happy we got to enjoy some time outdoors together.

It certainly won’t be our last trip hiking along the Rockies!

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