Red Rocks Tailgating Guide
How to Tailgate Like a Pro at Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Tailgate at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre Like a Pro!
Red Rocks Amphitheatre is undeniably one of the most iconic music venues in the world. Nestled amongst the rocks of its namesake in the foothills of Colorado, just outside of Morrison, Red Rocks is a destination for music lovers from around the world.
This bucket-list concert venue is more than your typical stadium or amphitheatre. Red Rocks is so unique, that it has its own rules, its own norms, its own weather (seriously) and its own tips and tricks. A trip to Red Rocks Amphitheatre for a concert or show can be a life-changing event – for better or worse, depending on how you prepare!
Which is why we have put together these RED ROCKS GUIDES – so you can attend Red Rocks like a pro and focus on having fun.
Red Rocks Tailgating Guide
Tailgating at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre is incredible. There are few other venues in the world with better settings for a parking lot party. Views of the iconic stadium, the distant mountains and the Denver skyline will make your IG feed look like a professional photography page.
But before you jump right into your first Red Rocks Tailgate, there are a few things you should know to make your experience safe and fun.
In this Red Rocks Tailgating Guide, we will teach you all the tips and tricks you need to party like a pro:
Parking: Red Rocks has many different lots to choose from – we’ll walk you through the differences.
Timing: When do you start your Red Rocks Tailgate party?
Packing: What should you bring? What can’t you bring?
Exploring: It’s not just a music venue, it’s a Park!
Rules: As a city park and Historic Landmark, there are some regulations you’ll want to know to stay out of trouble!
And more Red Rocks tips and tricks!
PLUS: some of our favorite essential (and luxury) items to bring to Red Rocks!
Red Rocks Amphitheatre Parking INFORMATION
We have put together a complete RED ROCKS PARKING GUIDE for you to dive in a little deeper.
Here are the basics about parking at Red Rocks Amphitheatre:
Parking at Red Rocks is always FREE!
Red Rocks Parking Lot Times: Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre parking lots open 2 hours prior to door times. (check your ticket info for door times – they’re different for each show)
Leaving your car at Red Rocks: You can leave your car at Red Rocks until 10 AM the next day. Don’t drink and drive! Explore other Red Rocks Transportation options.
The Red Rocks Parking Lots
There are several different parking lots to choose from at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Many regulars have their favorites, and some swear by theirs, but they all have pros and cons.
When arriving at Red Rocks, it is helpful to know where you are going if you want to aim for a particular lot.
UPPER NORTH LOT
The Red Rocks Upper North Parking Lot is the most coveted spot to park at Red Rocks. It offers the two easiest options to enter the Amphitheatre. Plan to get to Red Rocks early if you want to park in Upper North.
LOWER NORTH LOT
The Red Rocks Lower North Parking Lot is where you’ll be directed if you aim for Upper North and it is full. It is much larger than Upper North, and you can get to Upper North and the Lower South lots from here.
LOWER SOUTH LOTS
The Lower South Lots are the true lot scene at Red Rocks. If there’s a party, it will be here. Lower South 1 is generally for cars while the party busses and vans are in Lower South 2. They are very close to one another, and both have the biggest hike into the Amphitheatre.
UPPER SOUTH LOT
Sort of a mystery at Red Rocks is the Upper South Lot, although with the recently renovated walkway, this might see more action! You’ll access this from Entrance 4, and have to drive through the town of Morrison when you exit.
Read the RED ROCKS PARKING GUIDE for more detail about each Lot, including how to get to each lot, how to enter the Amphitheatre, and the pros and cons of each.
Red Rocks Tailgating: When should I get there?
Red Rocks parking lots open on show days 2 hours before the doors open. (This varies – check your ticket info or call 720-865-2494 for exact times)
NOTE: On non-show days, the lots are open from 1-hour before sunrise to 1-hour after sunset. On show days, the lot still opens 1-hour before sunrise, but closes at 2 PM before reopening for the show)
So, how long do you need to tailgate at Red Rocks Amphitheatre?
Well, that’s entirely up to you.
Here are a few considerations:
👉 Do you have seats or is it General Admission? If you have seats, there’s no need to rush into the Amphitheatre. If it’s GA, you will likely start heading in earlier to get a spot.
👉 The weather. Is it a nice day to hang out? (More on this later!)
👉 Pace yourself. Tailgating often means drinking. You’ll definitely want to be careful with how many hours you spend throwing them down at 6450 feet. Trust us.
👉 Do you want time to explore the park? (More on this later!)
Ultimately, how much time you spend tailgating at Red Rocks is a personal choice, with a few things to consider.
With a good crew and the right supplies and amenities, the time can go by quickly, and a few hours is perfect to enjoy hanging out in a beautiful setting surrounded by like-minded folks doing the same!
With that in mind, we typically try to park 2 hours before the show – that allows an hour and a half or so to hang out, and 30 minutes to walk into the show (it can definitely take that long!) But everyone is different!
Red Rocks Tailgating: What to pack for a Red ROcks Tailgate
Having the essentials can make or break your Red Rocks Tailgate. Of course, depending on the show, you could possibly roll in with nothing but the super heady shirt on your back, and find what you want on the lot, but isn’t it better to be prepared? Don’t be a wook!
Red Rocks Tailgate Packing List
Here’s our essential Red Rocks Tailgate packing list. Scroll down to see our further list of recommended items, and read our Red Rocks Packing Guide for the full list of what to bring and what not to bring!
- Cooler with Ice – the sun can be intense – a good cooler can make a big difference!
- Beverages. Bring your favorite beer, wine and cocktails – just remember NO GLASS!
- Can Coozies. Keep those drinks cool! We’re partial to these coozies.
- Chairs – foldable camp chairs like these.
- Table – folding camp table (or whatever fits in your vehicle!)
- Trash AND recycling bags. Pack it out!!
- Water. Water. More Water. Bring plenty to drink in the lot – and drink it! You can bring an empty refillable plastic water bottle into Red Rocks. We typically start our walk into the Amphitheater with a full one, and finish it by the time we reach the gate, to ensure we are properly hydrated before the show! (We like this narrow-mouth Nalgene – less spillage while dancing!)
- Shade. Like we said, the sun can be intense if you’re not in tents! (HaHa – get it?!)
- Tunes. A portable Bluetooth speaker like this is key. And just a tip, you’re allowed to listen to music other than the band you are there to see!
- Food. It’s a long night. The best way to ensure that you don’t forget to eat is to have a good meal in the lot. Bring prepared food, grab a sub or sandwich, put out a spread, whatever. Just eat!
- Grill. See above! Propane grills are permitted.
- Games. It’s a tailgate! Bring some games to play. Here’s a list of our favorite festival games and toys.
- Sunscreen, hat, glasses. Again, the sun…
- Rain Gear. But don’t let that sun fool you – there’s always a chance of rain at Red Rocks!
- Layers. Temps can change quickly. Bring layers.
Red Rocks Tailgating: Explore Red Rocks Park!
There’s a reason it’s called Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre.
Red Rocks is a beautiful destination year-round, regardless of the Red Rocks concert calendar.
In fact, many people (this author included) often visit the park when there isn’t any music, to enjoy the beauty and hike around. (FUN TIP: If you do visit the park on a non-music day, you can still enter the Amphitheatre, climb the steps, and gain an entirely different perspective on the place.)
We highly recommend that you plan a visit to the park that doesn’t involve music so that you can experience this wonder. BUT, we understand that may not be possible. You may be traveling to Colorado for a short visit, and this may be your only chance to get to Red Rocks.
Still, if you plan your visit accordingly, you can explore a bit of nature while tailgating at Red Rocks.
There are many trails at Red Rocks Park. But, if you are there for a concert, and maybe have a spare hour, we definitely recommend the Trading Post Trail.
- The Trading Post Trail is 1.4 miles in length, making its way through spectacular rock formations, valleys and a natural meadow. Some of the terrain is rough, so hiking boots/shoes are recommended. (This is most easily accessed from the Lower South Lot)
- The Geologic Overlook Trail is a short, moderate trail located in the Northwest corner of the park. Take Plains View Road to the Geologic Marker & Picnic Shelter for a short hike leading to beautiful views. (This is accessed from the Upper North Lot)
Wherever you hike around Red Rocks, wear comfortable, sturdy shoes, bring plenty of water, obey all signs and rules (stay on the trail!) and watch out for rattlesnakes!
Red Rocks Tailgating: Know the Rules of Red Rocks
The worst thing that can happen at a Red Rocks concert is getting arrested before the show even starts, and missing the entire evening, on top of being faced with steep fines and other repercussions. Not cool.
Know the rules of Red Rocks – that’s all we can say.
We have an entire guide dedicated to what you can and cannot bring into Red Rocks, but the parking lot rules are a bit different.
The Parking Lot Rules of Red Rocks:
- Alcohol – The possession and consumption of fermented malt beverages or malt liquor (beer) and vinous liquor (wine or champagne) is permitted in the park. Beer kegs, hard liquor, vending, glass and large quantities of alcohol are still prohibited and State Laws still apply. Violators are subject to ejection and possible citation. This means you CAN drink in Red Rocks, but NO GLASS!
- Marijuana – Openly consuming Marijuana is ILLEGAL in Colorado! Yes, everyone does it, and Yes, you can still be arrested for it. Just watch yourself.
- Public Urination – DO NOT PEE IN PUBLIC! This is legit. We’ve seen friends get hit with hefty tickets for public urination at Red Rocks.
- Trespassing – So, this is directly related to DO NOT PEE IN PUBLIC! Believe it or not, most public urination tickets are actually given for trespassing. Observe fence lines, and DO NOT go outside of marked territories. As a protected park, Red Rocks take this VERY seriously! No rock climbing or off-trail use, violators are subject to arrest and prosecution.
- Space -Tailgating must be confined to the rear of your vehicle and not interfere with the parking of other vehicles.
- You may not block off other parking areas or spots.
- Grills – Due to the risk of fire, open-flame fires and charcoal grills are prohibited. Small gas-controlled grills are allowed unless there are temporary fire bans in effect.
- Loudspeakers, tents and canopies are not permitted. This one is tricky. We definitely bring speakers, as does just about everyone. And we have definitely put up shade tents. Just be prepared to nicely take it down if asked. (See Rule #9)
- Just don’t be a dick.
Red Rocks Tailgating: Essential Items for a Red Rocks Tailgate, (and a few wish-list picks!)
Tailgate like a pro at Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre is an amazing place. Not only is it home to one of the greatest live music venues in the world, but it is also a wonder of nature, filled with beauty and inspiring awe in all who visit. That’s why we make these Red Rocks Guides – so that you can get the absolute most out of your visit to Red Rocks.
We hope that this Red Rocks Tailgate Guide will be helpful to you in planning your next visit to Red Rocks.
We’ve covered parking at Red Rocks, and the differences of each lot, as well as how to reach them. We discussed the timing of a Red Rocks tailgate, and hopefully given you some insight into when to arrive at Red Rocks for a tailgate party. Hopefully, you’ve gained some info from this guide about how to go about exploring Red Rocks during your visit. And we sure hope you’ve paid attention to the rules and regulations of Red Rocks to keep yourself out of trouble! And, we’ve shared our packing list for Red Rocks and some of the essential items to bring to a Red Rocks tailgate.
So, you should have all the info you need.
Now go tailgate at Red Rocks like a pro!
Red Rocks Amphitheater Guides
We've put together these Red Rocks Amphitheater Guides so you can go to Red Rocks like a pro! Everything you need to know, from parking and transportation to lodging, ticketing, eating, and drinking at Red Rocks, and more.
See you on the Rocks!
Red Rocks Lodging Guide
Coming from out of town? There are plenty of lodging options around Red Rocks Amphitheater, if you know where to look!
Tips for a Red Rocks Concert
An overview of everything you need to do Red Rocks Amphitheater like a pro, your first time and every time!
Red Rocks 2023 Concert Calendar
The complete list of every concert (announced so far) at Red Rocks Amphitheater in 2023.
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