The Red Rocks Canyon Open Space is a city park much like the well-known Garden of the Gods. From Colorado Avenue or from West Highway 24, turn south on 35th street. This area is a continuation of the Garden of the Gods sandstone formations, a lesser known park and a great place for a quick hike.
There are two off-leash dog parks and hiking trails for all skill levels. You will probably witness rock climbers practicing their art. When you enter the parking area, the first thing you will notice is a nice cross-section of our sedimentary geological history. Along the eastern edge of the park you will find much more elaborate exposed strata of our geological history. This park connects with the Intemann Trail and can take you from the Gold Camp Road to Manitou Springs. The south-east section was an old city dump that is reverting back into a meadow. Inconceivable now, this valley was efficiently filled in between two sandstone ridges and closed in the 1970’s. Vertical standpipes and measuring wells remind us of what is below.
The City of Colorado Springs has a great map at: https://coloradosprings.gov/sites/default/files/parks_recreation_and_cultural_services/parks/red_rock_canyon_open_space_map.pdf
Red Rocks Open Space is rich with places to explore and you will find remnants and surprises if you keep your eyes open. There is so much history and so many secret little places.
Called the Local’s Garden of the Gods, there was a push to call it Garden of the Goddesses, but unfortunately, this didn’t fly. The Contemplative Trail is my favorite, but if you roam the property, you will discover.
When the city was finally able to purchase this land, I was able to explore it before any demolition and improvements were made. Here are some of the things that can still be found, intact or remnants. We all know about the old city dump, but how about these?
A quarry worker’s carved name. Explore: On your left as you approach the big quarry from the east.
- The “Workers of the world unite” large carving. Explore: In the pit to the left of the son’s stairs.
- The high ledge home location of the original owner’s son at the top of the stairs.
- A cave with 1960’s-1970’s graffiti. (Since cleaned up, love slogans, crazy daisies, peace sign and all.)
- A cold war era bomb shelter. The retaining wall south-east of the home that was turned into a picnic shelter.
- An entire trailer park was where the upper parking and picnic area is. The big flat area.
- A swimming pool next to the owner’s house. This is the concrete retaining wall and raised area next to the lake.
- Much of this is gone, but it is fun to explore their original locations and clues. Remnants for all of these items can still be seen.
- The railroad bed that runs uphill to load the stone.
- The biggest of all of course is the quarry work. There are signs of it everywhere if you explore!