Hike Dakota Ridge via Red Rocks Trail near Denver, CO - Backpacker

Denver, CO: Dakota Ridge via Red Rocks Trail

Hike rolling grassland punctuated by towering redrock formations to a ridge overlooking the Front Range on this 6-mile loop just minutes from the city.

Swap city skylines for redrock vistas in 20 minutes on this 6-mile loop just south of Golden. From the trailhead in Matthews/Winters Park, hike southwest on Village Walk Trail past a shaded picnic area. Cross a wooden bridge, then bear right at the trail fork, heading south through rolling grassland.

After a mile, the trail narrows to rocky singletrack and descends switchbacks to a dry creekbed. Less than a mile later, you’ll encounter dramatic views of massive red sandstone slabs rising up from ground. Near the halfway point, the route crosses CR 93 and begins a switchback ascent of the Hogback.

At the top of the ridge, follow the crest north, passing bird’s-eye views of Red Rocks Amphitheater and the surrounding mountains. Descend the ridge on singletrack at mile 5.3, and carefully cross CO 26 to return to the parking lot.

-Mapped by Kim Phillips and Jennie Perletz


Download a park map at the Matthews/Winters Park website.
Order USGS topo quads at store.usgs.gov.

CONDITIONS: Check weather at Morrison, CO (80465) Weather

INFO: For more information, go to the Matthews/Winters Park website.

CONTACT: Open Space, 700 Jefferson County Parkway, Golden, CO 80401; (303) 271-5925



1416 Platte St.
Denver, CO
(303) 756-310


Red Rocks Grill
415 Bear Creek Ave.
Morrison, CO 80465
(303) 697-9290 ‎

Beso De Arte
102 Market St.
Morrison, CO 80465
(303) 697-3377 ‎

Mill Street Deli
401 Bear Creek Ave.
Morrison, CO 80465
(303) 697-1700

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 9.7
  • Miles from city center: 14



Location: 39.694306, -105.204763

Head southwest on Village Walk Trail toward the shaded picnic area.


Location: 39.693496, -105.205564

Cross a wooden bridge, then bear R @ Y. Ahead, the well-maintained dirt path rolls across the grassland; watch for grazing deer.


Location: 39.691011, -105.208474

Side trip: Turn right to visit old gravesites.


Location: 39.690233, -105.208071

Bear R @ Y onto Red Rocks Trail.


Location: 39.683942, -105.211561

Trail narrows to rocky singletrack; switchback down to dry creekbed.


Location: 39.683281, -105.211687

Bear L @ Y; stay on Red Rocks Trail.


Location: 39.677891, -105.2062

Photo op: Slanted red sandstone slabs dramatically rise up from the ground.


Location: 39.675972, -105.207194

From the base of this 40-foot redrock monolith, you'll see layers of the Front Range unfold. Next, continue on trail as it descends between stacked rock formations.


Location: 39.67593, -105.207653

Turn L @ Y.


Location: 39.672582, -105.201758

Cross W. Alameda Parkway to parking lot, then turn right to reconnect with Red Rocks Trail.


Location: 39.669584, -105.199982

Go L @ Y and cross dirt road; follow trail through pine-dotted meadows.


Location: 39.670282, -105.196066

Cross Red Rocks Park Road and turn L, heading northeast along the shoulder. In .1 mile, turn R onto CR 93.


Location: 39.670973, -105.193944

Cross CR 93 at the hiker sign. Pick up Dakota Ridge Trail on the other side, and begin switchback ascent of the Hogback.


Location: 39.675575, -105.192332

Bear R @ the roadside overlook and walk north along the road. You'll pick up the trail 500 feet down the road.


Location: 39.677278, -105.1919

Cross the road and ascend ridgeline on rocky, root-laced singletrack.


Location: 39.678445, -105.193636

Views of ridgeline stretch to the southeast; Red Rocks Amphitheater is to the southwest.


Location: 39.690427, -105.198218

Continue straight @ intersection with Zorro Trail.


Location: 39.694425, -105.20018

Descend ridgeline on singletrack.


Location: 39.696454, -105.2036

Carefully cross CO 26 and return to the parking lot.

Red Rock Slabs

Location: 39.677896, -105.206108

First views of giant rock slabs rising from the ground.

Bridge Crossing

Location: 39.693962, -105.205246

Views from the Village Walk Trail

Location: 39.692988, -105.207632

Spur Trail

Location: 39.691013, -105.208442


Location: 39.690896, -105.208895

Slanted Rock Slabs

Location: 39.675982, -105.20716

Redrock Monolith

Location: 39.675115, -105.206556

Redrock views from the Hogback

Location: 39.676357, -105.192825

The Hogback

Location: 39.677479, -105.193108

Zorro Trail Junction

Location: 39.690431, -105.198188

Clouds rising over Dinosaur Park

Location: 39.697838, -105.202774