With their 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air gassed up, kids bouncing around in the back seat, a family embarks on a cross-country road trip. While in Colorado, they explore Denver’s Front Range. Follow along through postcards from the era as they visit Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, Buffalo Bill’s Grave, and “The Tepees” of Golden.
Here is where we stayed on our trip, the Park-O-Tel Cottages situated along West Colfax in a park-like setting with leafy trees and tended grounds. Our cottage, with the Rockies in full view, had a private bathroom, modern furnishings, and cooking accommodations. We were glad to call it home while we explored Denver’s Front Range.
Red Rocks Park
Greetings from the breathtaking Park of the Red Rocks, at the edge of the foothills in Denver’s Mountain Parks system. The red sandstone rock outcropping on the postcard, named Sinking Titanic and Iceberg, is but one of many picturesque formations located in the park, built in 1928. Still standing is the CCC camp responsible for building out the roads. Speaking of roads…
We passed through this magnificent tunnel on the road to Creation Rock and the upper entrance of the Red Rocks open air theatre. “Hold on tight” is what we told each other as we drove ‘round the curves, understanding why the park was first known as “Garden of the Angels.”
Red Rocks Amphitheatre
This is the Red Rocks Amphitheatre as seen from the top, looking down at the serried rows of seats and the stage. In the background loom the Hogback and Green Mountain. Two enormous slabs of red sandstone surround the theatre, which are named Ship Rock and Creation Rock. Fascinating shadows they will cast as the sun moves around.
Buffalo Bill's Grave
Our next stop was at Buffalo Bill’s grave on the utmost point of Lookout Mountain. Overlooking the plains where he fought the Indians and killed the buffalo, “Buffalo Bill” Cody’s eternal watch goes on undisturbed by the throngs of summer or solitude of winter.
After a full day of sightseeing, we enjoyed a lively evening and delicious trout dinner at “The Tepees” in Golden. Built in 1946, they are now the largest and most photographed tepees in the world. After choosing an authentic Indian basket from the gift shop as a souvenir, we drove back to the city, staying mindful of the deer along Highway 40.
See The Sights Today
The Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre draws crowds year-round with its spectacular rock formations, scenic web of nature trails, and iconic concert venue. Among tourists interested in the Wild West, the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave remains a popular attraction. The “Tepees” no longer exist.
Red Rocks Park (Formations)
The towering rock formations at Red Rocks Park are more accessible than ever, thanks to an easily navigable system of paved roads and nature trails. Popular among tourists and locals alike is the Trading Post trail, about a mile in length, which winds through stunning formations, valleys, and a natural meadow. Many of the named formations have signage, the ground at their feet tamped down by decades’ worth of hikers posing for a photo opportunity. Visit the park: Red Rocks Park
Red Rocks Park (Tunnel)
Driving through the Red Rocks tunnel offers motorists a novel experience, while cyclists enjoy the challenge of the stout climb leading up to the tunnel and beyond. Visit the park: Red Rocks Park
Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Every year an impressive variety of big-name musicians carve out time in their tour schedules for a stop at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Also hosted at the venue are the beloved Film on the Rocks, and Yoga on the Rocks, which, like the concerts, require tickets. Athletic-minded visitors who prefer a more impromptu experience can drop in for a weekend bootcamp or stair-running challenge. Visit the amphitheatre: Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave
An easy drive up Lookout Mountain Road leads visitors to the historic Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave, where the view of Denver’s Front Range is sweeping. Featured in the museum, near the gravesite, are a variety of historic relics and cultural displays that commemorate Buffalo Bill, and celebrate his unique place in the Wild West. Visit the landmark: Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave