By Jen Mulson
Updated: May 11, 2018 at 5:21 pm • Published: May 11, 2018
You'll always remember your first concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison.
Surrounded by towering sandstone structures as a crescent moon rises above the stage, the natural concert venue is a favorite of not only music lovers, but also musicians. Some of the biggest names in the industry have played here: The Beatles, Grateful Dead, U2, R.E.M., Rush, Pearl Jam and Jimi Hendrix.
Music first came to the space in the early 1900s, when John Brisben Walker envisioned performances on a stage amid the rocks. He produced a number of concerts between 1906 and 1910 on a temporary platform, including Pietro Satriano's venue-christening concert in 1906. Rolling Stone magazine deemed Red Rocks America's best amphitheater. Indeed, it's the world's only naturally occurring, acoustically perfect amphitheater. The venue was dedicated in 1941, and its first Easter Sunrise Service took place in 1947. World-famous performers have taken over the stage since.
Red Rocks Park, about 16 miles west of Denver and 6,450 feet above sea level, contains more than 700 acres of flora, fauna and those acclaimed rocks: Creation Rock and Ship Rock. The giant structures are part of the geological Fountain Formation. Red Rocks was registered as a national historic landmark in 2015.
There's more to do here than take in a show. The park, owned by the city of Denver, is open to visitors one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset. Folks can hike the Trading Post Trail or hike, bike or horseback ride Red Rocks Trail, run the stone steps of the amphitheater or attend Yoga on the Rocks come summer.
Leave yourself some time before a concert to discover the park's fossil fragments from a 40-foot sea serpent, marine reptile and flying reptiles. And don't forget the dinosaur tracks in the park surrounding the theater.
Music connoisseurs also will want to visit the free Colorado Music Hall of Fame at the Trading Post at Red Rocks. The nonprofit organization offers exhibits to honor individuals who have contributed to music in Colorado, preserves and protects historical artifacts and educates the public about music in the state, Red Rocks Amphitheatre and Visitor Center, 18300 W. Alameda Parkway, Morrison, 720-865-2494, redrocksonline.com.