Travel Photo Thursday: Rockin’ at “Red Rocks”

Travel Photo Thursday: Rockin’ at “Red Rocks”

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The Great Depression presented President Franklin D. Roosevelt with a monumental problem: How to get Americans back to work and the country’s economy kick-started back to life.

One approach he took was to have the Civilian Conservation Corps build monumental amphitheaters for the performing arts.

For over 40 years, I’ve hiked around and watched plays in one such place: The Mountain Theater atop Mount Tamalpais, in my backyard, just north of San Francisco.

In all that time, I assumed that this outdoor venue carved out of the mountain side near my home was the only CCC project of its kind. But I was wrong.

There’s an even bigger, bolder one, where rock stars rock their brains out playing: Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater.

It took a dozen years to complete Red Rocks. The amphitheater was dedicated on June 15, 1941. This model in the park’s visitor center shows what it looks like today.

You can hike in the park, shop in the faux “trading post,” or attend a concert under the stars.

During my recent trip to Colorado I arrived at mid-day and had lunch in the Ship Rock Grille.

Then I visited the visitor center/s museum, filled with exhibits about the many musicians who have performed at Red Rocks over the years.

But what I came to see was the amphitheater itself. Seating 9,450 people in 70 rows, it’s almost three times the size of Mt. Tam’s Mountain Theater.

Red Rocks Panorama DSC01654

It’s a long walk all the way down to the stage, and since the amphitheater sits at an elevation of 6,450’, it’s an even longer walk back uphill, huffing and puffing, for those like me who live at sea level.

Since I was there in mid-afternoon, I couldn’t join a cast of thousand rockin’ the night away amid the red, red rocks. And I’d just missed four days of Grateful Dead concerts there.

But even if music’s top “movers and shakers” aren’t present to entertain you, paying a visit to Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater is a moving experience.

(Like the Garden of The Gods in Colorado Springs, Red Rocks is neither a federal nor state park. It’s run by and is located about 15 miles west of the City of Denver.)

(Click on an image to enlarge to full-size. Visit Budget Travelers Sandbox for more of this week’s Travel Photo Thursday shots.)

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