Future Marines work out at Red Rocks to get in shape

Sure, this iconic concert venue is known for legendary concerts, perfect acoustics and soaring natural beauty. But, it's also a great place to get your heart pumping.
Jan. 28, 2020
A man works out at Red Rocks, Colorado's famous outdoor concert venue.
A performance at the legendary venue is amazing, but a workout at Red Rocks can also be just as fulfilling. Photos by Cyrus McCrimmon for UCHealth.

Need to elevate your workout routine? Want to get your heart rate up outdoors?

Why not draw inspiration from some future members of the U.S. Marine Corps and head to one of Colorado’s most iconic outdoor landmarks to work out, Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre?

Nearly every Saturday, Sgt. Ken Bremer, a Marine recruiter who works with young people from Golden to Leadville, brings future service members to Red Rocks to get them fit fast.

Marine recruits run down the bleacher seats at Red Rocks.
Marine recruits work out at Red Rocks.

Yes, this natural amphitheater is known best for its perfect acoustics, spectacular scenery and legendary concerts with bands like The Beatles, U2 and The Grateful Dead.

But the red stone steps and rows of seats carved back in the 1930s and 1940s by other young corpsmen – members of the Civilian Conservation Corps – also provide the perfect place to build strong bodies and healthy hearts.

West of Denver, Red Rocks sits in the foothills at 6,450 feet above sea level. The 738-acre park opened in 1941 and along with the amphitheater, Red Rocks boasts hiking trails and multiple monolithic rock formations.

On Saturdays, Marine recruits known as “poolees,” show up in matching T-shirts. They do pushups and relay races up and down the stairs and across the rows as trainers shout words of encouragement: “Come on! Pain is weakness leaving the body!”

A man kneels during his workout at Red Rocks.

Bremer said he loves bringing the young people to Red Rocks for intense workouts.

“We live in the beautiful state of Colorado. Why not come to one of Colorado’s great places to work out?” he said.

Bremer trains many young people who have never worked out.

“Some can’t do one push up. We build up the mental capacity to push yourself. A lot of it is mental fortitude. You’re stronger than you think you are,” he said.

Elijah Avila of Grand Junction, graduated from boot camp a year ago. He was always athletic and did martial arts and baseball in high school. He said he likes group workouts because they push him harder.

“Seeing all these other people motivates me.”

And exercising outdoors is literally a breath of fresh air any time of year in Colorado.

A woman runs at Red Rocks.
Red Rocks is a great place to work out any time of year.

“I feel free being in nature,” he said.

If you want to work out at Red Rocks, here’s what you need to know.

  • Make sure the park is open. In addition to concerts, Red Rocks hosts other special events. So, before you go, you need to check the website for updates on hours.
  • In general, Red Rocks Amphitheatre opens one hour before sunrise and closes one hour after sunset.
  • Admission to visit the park and trails at Red Rocks is free.
  • Amplified music is not allowed. Please limit music to personal headphones and respect the rights of others to peacefully enjoy Red Rocks.
  • No exercise equipment allowed that could obstruct access to the stairs and benches or harm Red Rocks.
  • No climbing on rocks. No hanging on structures. No off-trail hiking or running.
  • Exercise groups on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays may not exceed 10 members. On weekdays, the limit is 20 people, except for special events like Yoga on the Rocks.
  • Click here to learn about hiking or cycling at Red Rocks, which is one of the City of Denver’s famed Mountain Parks.
  • And, however you enjoy Red Rocks, give thanks for early leaders like John Brisben Walker, who first envisioned concerts at Red Rocks; Denver Parks Manager George Cranmer, who convinced Denver leaders to buy the land and led construction; and famed architect, Burnham Hoyt, who designed the amphitheater. Without their foresight and vision, Coloradans and musicians wouldn’t be able to enjoy this treasured landmark. Learn more about Red Rocks’ history here.

About the author

Katie Kerwin McCrimmon is a proud Coloradan. She attended Colorado College thanks to a merit scholarship from the Boettcher Foundation and worked as a park ranger in Rocky Mountain National Park during summers in college.

Katie is a dedicated storyteller who loves getting to know UCHealth patients and providers and sharing their inspiring stories.

Katie spent years working as an award-winning journalist at the Rocky Mountain News and at an online health policy news site before joining UCHealth in 2017.

Katie and her husband, Cyrus — a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer — have three adult children and love spending time in the Colorado mountains and traveling around the world.