What to do and see in the Red Rock Canyon in Colorado Springs

The Red Rock Canyon Open Space is a city park in Colorado Springs, Colorado that covers an area of 1,474 acres and is a famous location for hikers and trekkers. The natural setting offers spectacular scenery that often has joggers stop from their running routine to take selfies or capture breathtaking photographs. If you are new in town, you should not miss this interesting tourist attraction.

Why visit Red Rock Canyon

The Red Rock Canyon Open Space is situated near the Manitou Springs, just west of Colorado Springs. You can easily access it via route 24, and you will encounter various street signs pointing towards it along the way.

The canyon is famous for its sandstone ridges that are the result of erosion, and which took their present forms over 240 million years. Visitors that are passionate about geology will be delighted to explore and observe a wide variety of sand and rock formations as well as sedimentary structures.

Even if you don’t have a clue about geology or rocks in general, you can still have a fantastic trip at the Red Rock Canyon. The varied terrain coupled with sparse vegetation creates surreal landscapes that will leave you in awe. Visitors can also observe here a broad selection of plant species, animals and insects, some of which are unique and a sole product of the particular environmental conditions in the canyon.

History of the Red Rock Canyon

The area surrounding the Red Rock Canyon used to be a living habitat for Native American tribes, and especially for the Ute people, who thrived here for generations. From a strategic point of view, this location was perfect to notice invaders or strangers from afar long before they would reach the tribe’s settlement.

The canyon contains proof of human presence that dates back to 1500 years ago. In the 19th century, the area was an active home for the mining industry, which saw the excavation of gypsum and stone. Most of the materials obtained from the canyon served for the construction of numerous buildings and roads in Colorado Springs.

The Red Rock Canyon used to be a private property up to 2003 when the Colorado Springs authorities purchased the area that is now open to the public, and which bears the full name of Red Rock Canyon Open Space.

Things to do in the canyon

If you are staying for a short time in Colorado Springs, you must make a visit to the Red Rock Canyon Open Space. It will take you just a few hours to admire the view, and maybe enjoy a quick meal in the picnic pavilion.

If you are planning for a longer stay in Colorado Springs, then the Red Rock Canyon Open Space is the ideal place to go for running or exercising. The area has several hiking trails, bicycle roads, and jogging routes. You may even go rock climbing on one of the ancient sandstone formations if you apply for a permit beforehand.