Ready to escape Denver, explore nearby mountain towns and take in a Red Rocks concert? A short drive to Morrison and Evergreen offers opportunities to hike, enjoy dramatic mountain scenery, and walk main streets where Denverites escape to and smart Coloradans live.
Start in Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre, where you can hike or watch a concert from a venue carved between massive stands of red sandstone rocks. (From the benches, you have a great view of Denver beyond the stage.) Hiking trails weave through the park (bring water). Then head into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame to sample music and see images of artists who’ve played here.
In normal traffic, the drive should take less than a half-hour.
For lunch head into Morrison to the Morrison Inn for Mexican fare. But do obey speed limits, as the town reportedly made a million dollars one year from traffic tickets. Wander the main street and into some antique and mom-and-pop shops before returning to I-70. Head west towards Evergreen but watch for the Buffalo Outlook sign; take Exit 254 to enjoy a bison herd and mountain views.
Take the well-marked Evergreen exit a few miles down the highway and into town. Denverites visit Evergreen on nice weekends to walk around the lake and explore shops on the town’s main street. Just before the center of town, a right hand turn by the lake takes you to the golf course and its restaurant. Keys on the Green is equally good for a casual lunch or dinner. To learn how folks lived in the frontier days, visit the Hiwan Homestead Museum.
Turn off Waze and take the scenic route back to Denver: from Evergreen, take Route 74 to Morrison. At the first traffic light in Morrison turn right on the town’s main street (Route 8) and go approximately 2 1/2 miles. The Fort is a replica of Bent’s Fort, a rendezvous of Kit Carson, and a great place to try buffalo prime rib. Reservations suggested; portions are huge and pricey.)
After dinner drive 300 yards to Hwy 285 north for a few minutes, then exit onto C-470 north to I-70. After 5 1/2 miles, take the I-70 East exit and stay in the right lane to make an immediate right turn onto 6th Avenue. From The Fort, in normal traffic, it’s about 30 minutes to the center of Denver.