Easy trails, gorgeous views – Red Rock Canyon has it all. With sweeping views of Garden of the Gods, snow covered mountains and lush wilderness, Red Rock Canyon is a feat for the eyes. Located just outside of Colorado Springs, Colorado, locals and tourists alike can hike, bike and ride horses, surrounded by the pristine, natural beauty of this park.
Formed of sandstone and gypsum, the park originally was home to native tribes, such as the Utes, who were able to live in a safe, secure environment. Thanks to the high vantage point of the area, the tribes were able to see the valley below, yet were surrounded by steep rocks which served as buttresses. In addition to the security provided by the mountains, Fountain Creek provided an easily accessible source of water for both the people of the tribe and the abundant wildlife who shared the area.
As expansion of the country grew, and more settlers headed west, Red Rock Canyon became crucial for American expansionism. While railroads were beginning to cover more of the United States, more materials had to be found and refined to build towns for the railroad workers. With close proximity to the Colorado Midland Railroad and what is now Old Colorado City, sandstone and gypsum were mined from the area during the 1800‘s to be used to build the city for the booming railroad and mining town. Miners looking for gold came to the area during the Colorado Gold Rush and explored around the park. Unfortunately, none of the exploratory tunnels that were made in the park had any traces of gold. Apart from sandstone and gypsum, the park itself contains no economically-viable metals or minerals, although during the 1950‘s there was an unsuccessful search for uranium in the park.
In 2003, the City of Colorado Springs purchased the area and turned it into a public space. Blast sites are still visible as visitors meander through the 16 miles of easy trails at the park. With space for both bikers, hikers and horseback riders, visitors have a chance to explore the beauty of Red Rock Canyon in a variety of ways. Visitors needn’t stay on the horizontal to enjoy the park as there are 85 different routes that have been marked for climbers of all levels.
While my visit was during the winter – January, of all months, many of the trails had been cleared of ice and snow so people could enjoy the park in relative safety. This location affords even the cheapest of cameras, such as my old 8 mega-pixel point and shoot Olympus, the ability to shoot gorgeous photos.
If you’d like to “get back to nature” without the hassle of camping, come visit Red Rock Canyon ini Colorado Springs, CO to experience all the beauty of nature with the combined convenience of a park-like atmosphere.
Check out more of my photos of Red Rock Canyon.