Denver, CO: Matthews/Winters Park Connector Trail

Red Rocks isn't just a great place for a concert, this 4.5-mile out-and-back starts among red-tinted outcroppings and heads north to Mathews/Winters Park for a fun and easy-access day hike.
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Red Rocks isn't just a great place for a concert, this 4.5-mile out-and-back starts among red-tinted outcroppings and heads north to Mathews/Winters Park for a fun and easy-access day hike.

The area surrounding the infamous Red Rocks Amphitheater is criss-crossed with trails, including this connector to Jefferson County's Matthews/Winters Park. Starting just north of the parking lot on the corner of Alameda Parkway and Red Rocks Trail Road, this 2.8-mile one-way snakes past a couple of impressive red outcroppings and begins a moderate ascent. The trail gets rockier as it climbs and crests a hill toward expansive views of the Dinosaur Ridge and Denver. From the hike’s high point near mile 0.6, you’ll head downhill through large brush and small trees, traversing a hillside and dipping into a creek-carved ravine. Continue downhill further through grassy fields toward a Y-junction where the multi-use trail splits into hike- or bike-only options near the Matthews/Winters Park trailhead.
Though this mapped route is an out-and-back, this route is also the first half of a loop that continues toward a southbound trail on Hogback Ridge. Consider crossing Highway 26 and returning via that trail.
-Mapped by Justin Lesniak

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 7.3

Waypoints

RMW001

Location: 39.6727098, -105.2017629

Heads north on the smooth trail after crossing the road from the dirt parking area on the east side of Alameda Parkway. You'll pass below a sloping monolith and head towards another up ahead.

RMW002

Location: 39.6749208, -105.2045658

The trail becomes increasingly rocky after passing through large outcroppings and beginning a moderate ascent. You'll climb nearly 300 feet over the next 0.25 miles.

RMW003

Location: 39.6758415, -105.2077067

Bear right at the T-junction near this route's high point. It's a gentle descent from here.

RMW004

Location: 39.6828994, -105.2082941

The wide, easy-to-follow path gets less rocky as it descends and snakes through bushes and shoulder-height shrubs. Up ahead, you'll catch glimpses of the trail on the far hillside before dipping toward a creek.

RMW005

Location: 39.6832999, -105.2118239

Near mile 3.2 the trail rises gently and crosses a small stream in the crook of a ravine. After the crossing, continue traversing the hillside heading down.

RMW006

Location: 39.6859948, -105.2096125

Fields of high grasses and wild flowers line the trail descending into Matthews/Winters Park. This mapped route is an out-and-back, but look right and you'll see the Dinosaur Ridge trail that heads south on the opposite side of CO-26.

RMW007

Location: 39.6902455, -105.2081171

Stay to the left at this sign where the trail splits. The right-leading trail is for bikes which also frequent this multi-use trail.

RMW008

Location: 39.6935726, -105.205569

This-out-and-back ends at the Matthews/Winters Park trailhead. Rest in the shaded picnic area before turning back for the gentle climb toward Red Rocks. There is a loop option for this hike as well, that crosses the road and continues south atop the Dinosaur Ridge to the east.

Start

Location: 39.673261, -105.202235

The trail (mostly loose dirt and small rocks) snakes through brush and large red, rock formations.

Sign

Location: 39.6758436, -105.2077013

This sign marks the junction with the Morrison Slide Trail. Bear right to follow this route toward Matthews/Winters Park.

View

Location: 39.6767292, -105.206725

The trail reaches its highest point shortly after the junction. As you round the bend, you'll catch this view of Hogback Ridge and north Denver.

Trail

Location: 39.6833989, -105.2095574

A preview of the trail up ahead, on the far hillside.

Ravine

Location: 39.6845177, -105.210979

Looking back at trail through the ravine.

Village Walk

Location: 39.6902455, -105.208109

Continue on the Village Walk trail toward the toilets, picnic and parking area of the Matthews/Winters park.