Denver, CO

Man suggests Denver install steps to peak behind Red Rocks

David Heitz

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City and County of Denver

By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo.) Matthew Cobb, a Denver real estate agent, wants people to be able to scale Mount Morrison.

Mount Morrison is the summit behind Red Rocks. It towers more than 7,800 feet, making it one of the most prominent peaks along the Front Range.

Cobb shared his idea about Mount Morrison to the City Council on Monday. The City Council does not respond to remarks made during the public comment period.

Some people may be surprised to learn a funicular incline to the peak of Mount Morrison already exists at Red Rocks Park, Cobb said. A funicular is a vertical railroad.

Denver owns the land at Red Rocks Park. Cobb said Denver needs to install steps across the funicular to give pedestrians access to the peak. The only way to get to the peak now is by driving into the town of Morrison and hiking through private property, Cobb said.

Breathtaking views atop peak

Cobb described breathtaking views atop Mount Morrison, where you can see downtown Denver, the Front Range, and the Back Range.

Cobb said the incline trail would be like one in Manitou Springs, except better. The trail won't stop halfway up the mountain. "It would be awesome, it would be fun, and it would be challenging and rewarding to summit," Cobb said.

Cobb said the city could complete the project since it already owns the property, Cobb said.

'Cosmo' sale funds Red Rocks purchase

In 1905, John Brisbane Walker sold Cosmo magazine to William Randolph Hearst. He used the money to start buying up what is now Red Rocks Park.

Walker opened Garden of the Titans amusement park in 1910, but it didn't stay open long. The funicular used a railroad car to ferry visitors up the mountain. The city purchased the property in 1927 and, in 1930, installed five miles of roads in the park.

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A funicular once ferried visitors up Mount Morrison.City and County of Denver

Today Red Rocks is one of Colorado's most popular concert venues. Cobb envisions it becoming even more prized. "The incline will be a top fitness and outdoor enthusiast destination," he predicts.

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A concert at Red Rocks.Ryan Loughlin/Unsplash

Cobb notes the north parking lot at Red Rocks sits right at the base of Mount Morrison at the foot of the funicular.

A fun funicular in Manito Springs

"The Manitou Incline is a beast," the Colorado Springs Pioneer museum describes on its website.

The trail became legal for recreational use in 2013. The 2,744-step hiking trail rises nearly 2,000 vertical feet, or almost a mile, with 42 to 68 percent grades. According to the museum, "Its popularity has soared."

Like what Cobb proposes for Red Rocks, the trail was initially built as a funicular railway in 1907. After the funicular stopped hauling construction materials to a nearby hydroelectric plant, it became a tourist attraction.

Hikers illegally scaled funicular

"After the thrilling incline ride shut down for good in 1990, the staircase of railroad ties became popular (if illegal) with local hikers," the museum reports.

Cobb said that while it took many years for the funicular in Manitou Springs to become an incline trail legally, the Denver project could be completed quickly because Denver owns and regulates the property.

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I've been in the news business 35 years, spending much of my career in editing roles at local newspapers in Los Angeles, Detroit, and the Quad-Cities of Illinois and Iowa. Upon moving to Denver in 2018, I began experiencing severe mental illness due to several traumatic experiences. I became homeless on the street for about a year before spending time in the state mental hospital. I am living proof that people can rebound from mental illness with proper treatment, even after experiencing homelessness. I consider myself a lucky guy to live in a great place like Denver. I hope my writing reflects the passion I have for living here.

Denver, CO
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