Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre is a popular destination for concerts, festivals, and other events.
Red Rocks is owned by the City and County of Denver, Colorado. The Park is managed by Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre; more commonly known as Red Rocks Amphitheater or just Red Rocks.
Coordinates: 39°55’40″N 105°46’30″W The closest highway intersection to the park is Exit 250 off of Interstate 70 westbound (west of Denver) or Exit 248A eastbound (east of Denver). It sits approximately 10 miles west-northwest from downtown Denver, though at an altitude nearly 2,000 feet higher it can feel about 20 degrees cooler than in downtown Denver on hot summer days when there’s no cloud cover.
The amphitheater stands between two massive orange-sandstone rocks, the North and South Table Mountains.
These rocks are named for their flat tops, which resemble tabletops. When the weather is right, it creates a climatic concert experience. With over 9,000 seats in its amphitheater and concourses that reach 45 feet high to accommodate sightlines, Red Rocks Amphitheatre offers an unforgettable setting for events of all kinds – from music performances to movie shoots to corporate functions and private parties.
The history of Red Rocks Park dates back more than 130 years to 1892 when Denver residents approved a bond issue that raised $290,000 (equivalent to nearly $7 million today) for the construction of Table Mountain Amphitheater in the mountains near Golden Gate Canyon west of Denver. The City hired landscape architect Frederick Olmsted Sr., whose son, Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. later designed New York City’s Central Park, to design a park that would preserve the natural beauty of the area for future generations. Together with Denver Mountain Parks architect W. H. Creator, they came up with the concept that became Red Rocks Park and Table Mountain Amphitheater.
As part of Olmsted’s original vision, Red Rocks itself was officially set aside as a “public pleasuring-ground” in 1892 by the City Council “for all time.” In 1931, following years of maintenance neglect and several devastating floods, Mayor Benjamin Foulkes signed an Executive Order transferring ownership of Denver Mountain Parks from the Board of Park Commissioners to the Department of Public Works. The order included provisions stipulating that the park would be maintained, operated, and supervised by the Department of Public Works “for all time.”
During the Great Depression, crews from the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) rebuilt Red Rocks Amphitheater in 1934 for $60,000. They cut back on building materials due to budget constraints. But they creatively used native stone in many places including arches and amphitheater steps at a time when few other parks were being built around the country with stone retaining walls or brick walkways. Denver Mountain Parks was also one of only four park areas where CCC workers constructed more than 100 rustic-style shelters as part of its shelterbelt program during this period.