Trading Post Trail & Geologic Overlook Trails
Red Rocks Park
Date Hiked: October 4, 2012
- Distance: 4 mi (RT)
- Elevation Gain: 700ft
- Elevation Min/Max: 5,924 to 6,676ft
- Managing Agency: Denver Mountain Parks
- Fee: None
Trading Post & Geologic Overlook Trail Map (Google Maps)
Directions: From Denver, head West on I-70 to the Morrison/Park and Ride Exit. Head south on 93 past Matthews Winters Park and turn right into Entrance #2 of Red Rocks. Make a right on Trading Post Road and park at the Trading Post.
Many, many people hike the Trading Post Loop at Red Rocks Park but very few explore the park's other trail, the Geologic Overlook Trail. This hike combines the two and makes for a complete loop through all the park's highlights. You can hike this double loop in any direction but either way it forms a figure-eight through the park.
For this description, start off by heading south along the western leg of the Trading Post Trail. Follow the trail along the majestic rock formations south past the rock cliffs where you'll turn the corner and start heading north along the eastern leg on the other side of the cliffs. This part of the trail really gets you up close to the stunning and iconic red rocks. Climb back up to the trading post parking lot and look for the sign for the Will Call Trail on the northern end of the parking lot. The Will Call trail will take you across the rolling hills east of the amphitheater, look back to the west for head on views of famous music venue. Follow this trail until it intersects with the road.
Follow the paved road for just a few minutes and turn left onto Red Rocks Trail Road when you see the box office. Follow Red Rocks Road for about 200 yards and look for the Red Rocks Trail on your left. Head west back up towards the venue (don't head east towards the hogback!). This trail will take you to the Lower North Parking Lot. Cross the parking lot and pick up the trail again still heading uphill. Cross W. Alameda Parkway and again pick up the same trail, this time it will take you all the way up to the Geologic Overlook Parking Area.
There is a short paved trail to the east that leads up to a Geologic Marker and some interpretive signs, but the trail you're looking for is at the West end of the parking area. The Geologic Overlook Trail explores another spectacular set of red rock formations. Follow the trail up until you are looking down at the amphitheater. Continue on the trail down, steeply, to the road and the Upper North Parking Lot. At the southeast corner of the lot is the paved walkway that leads into the amphitheater near the stage.
You have many options at this point, explore the amphitheater as much as you want to, it is spectacular even when there is no show happening. If you really want a great workout, try running up and down the seats or the stairways. Either way you go, exit the amphitheater down the long ramp back to the Trading Post Parking Lot and your car. Congratulations, you've just seen 90% of Red Rocks Park.