Location: 3550 W. High St. Colorado Springs, CO 80904. Additional parking – 598 S 31st St, Colorado Springs, CO 80904
Hours: 6:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Amenities: Whether you want to go for a leisurely stroll or an epic bike ride, Red Rock Canyon has the perfect trails for your outing, as well as many specialized areas including a dog-park, bike park and picnic areas. Hiking, biking, climbing and horseback riding are just a few of the ways to enjoy Red Rock Canyon. There are about 10 miles of trails within the park, plus connections to other long distance trails, such as Intermann and Section 16! This is a beautiful area and the sheer number of different trail combinations and varying difficulty will ensure you will not get bored of coming back here.
The park consists of a series of parallel ridges and eroded canyons, a continuation of the same sandstone rock formations that make up Garden of the Gods. Rather than being pristine conservation land, the park contains a number of reclaimed former industrial sites, including quarries, gravel pits, a gold refining mill, and an old landfill.
NOTE: Technical climbers are required to register at the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center.
History: Activity on Red Rock Canyon dates back to 7000 B.C., during the Archaic Stage. Due to its close proximity to Fountain Creek and its abundant wildlife, this was an ideal location for settlement.
During the late 1800s, the property provided many building supplies for Old Colorado City and the surrounding communities. Material taken from the quarries included Gypsum, building sand and sandstone blocks. The Kenmuir Quarry, mined during this time, was open seven days a week due to demand. Declining demand for stone and increased demand for concrete and steel forced the quarry to close in the early part of the 20th Century.
Opening in 1886, the Colorado-Philadelphia Company Mill used the land to refine the ore shipped by train from the gold mines in Cripple Creek. It was the largest mill of its kind in the United States until the new Golden Cycle Mill was built in the early part of the 1900s.
John George Bock purchased the property in the 1920s-1930s and later willed it to his two sons. John S. Bock, the eldest son, continued to live there until his death in 2002. The family had grand plans for the property including a resort community with a convention center, high-rise towers, commercial centers and a golf course. In the end, they were only able to build a few residences and outbuildings, two dozen mobile home sites, a 53-acre landfill, and two gravel quarries. In 2003, the City of Colorado Springs purchased the Red Rock Canyon property through the TOPS program to be used as public open space.